Richard Belzer Biography (Personal Life, Career)

Richard Jay Belzer is an American stand-up comedian, author, and actor. He is perhaps best known for his long-running role as detective John Munch.

Personal Life

The stand-up comedian, Richard Jay Belzer was born in August 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to a Jewish family. The comedian’s father, Charles Belzer was a candy and tobacco wholesaler. He committed suicide when Richard was 22. His mother, Frances died of breast cancer when the stand-up comedian was only 18.

The stand-up comedian was kicked out of every school he ever attended, due to his uncontrollable behavior. Eventually, the comedian graduated Andrew Warde High School in the neighboring town of Fairfield, Connecticut. While attending High School, the stand-up comedian worked as a paperboy and at Modern Tobacco (his parent’s business).

After high school, the stand-up comedian Richard Belzer attended Dean Junior College in Franklin, Massachusetts, for two semesters and part of a third before the school asked him to leave for leading too many student demonstrations. While in Collage, the stand-up comedian worked as a reporter for the Bridgeport Post. The comedian was kicked out from Army as well, for failure to adapt to military life. For a brief period, he taught yoga.

The stand-up comedian has been married tree times: to Gail Susan Ross (1966-1972), to Dalia Danoch (1976-1978) and to Harlee McBride (from 1985-present). The comedian survived testicular cancer in 1984 and since then has only one testicle. He currently lives in France and speaks fluent French. The comedian is a fervid supporter of the North Shore Animal League. However his poodle fox terrier, Bebe, was adopted in France when he followed Belz home one day. Bebe is the comedian's constant companion, especially at public events.


Before becoming a famous stand-up comedian, Belzer had many jobs included teacher, census-taker, jewelry salesman and dockworker. Belzer started his career as a standup comedian at the beginning of 1970 as a member of an odd New York-based comedy troupe called Channel One. While he has in NY he was also performing at Pips, The Improv, and Catch a Rising Star. The stand-up comedian participated in the Channel One comedy group that satirized television. Some of this routines and sketches became the basis for the comedy feature The Groove Tube (1970), in which the comedian played the costar of the ersatz TV show "The Dealers."

Belzer was the audience warm-up comedian for Saturday Night Live, in its premiere season and made three guest appearances on the comedy show in 1976 and 1978. In 1983, the stand-up comedian joined another comedy troupe which appeared nightly on the Thicke of the Night program.. His routines were extremely notorious and led him to his own comedy program in 1986- Lifetime Cable Service. One of his earliest comedy routines included a character "Yogi Yogi, the Yodeler", a contestant in a yodeling contest (due to the yoga lessons he had while he was a teenager).

The stand-up comedian was also a featured player on the National Lampoon Radio Hour , a half-hour comedy program aired on some 600 U.S. stations from 1973 to 1975. Several of his sketches were released on National Lampoon albums drawn from the Radio Hour, including several bits in which he portrayed a pithy call-in talk show host named "Dick Ballentine". In the late 1970s, the stand-up comedian co hosted Brink and Belzer on WNBC radio in (New York City) and the afternoon program the Air America Radio. He has also been a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show.

In addition to his stand up comedy and radio career, Richard Belzer became an occasional film actor in early ‘80s. The stand-up comedian is well known for his roles in Fame (1982), Night Shift, Scarface, A Very Brady Sequel (his role was as an LAPD detective).

In the 1990s, the stand-up comedian appeared frequently on television. He was seen often on The Flash television show, in several episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, where he played Inspector William Henders. The comedian followed that success with roles on the Baltimore-based Homicide.

The stand-up comedian is well known for his role as police detective John Munch in episodes of seven other series and in a sketch on one talk show: Law and Order, The X-Files, The Beat, Law and Order: Trial by Jury, Arrested Development, The Wire, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, 30 Rock. John Munch is the only fictional character, played by a single actor, to appear on ten different television shows. These shows were on five different networks: NBC, Fox, UPN, HBO and ABC. The stand-up comedian also appeared in several of Comedy Central's televised broadcasts of Friars Club roasts. Belzer voiced the character of Loogie for most of the episode of South Park called "The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000".

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