'Law & Order' Star Richard Belzer Faced Tragic Losses Before Dying At 78

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Feb. 19 2023, Published 3:30 p.m. ET

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Beloved Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Richard Belzer passed away at his home in southwest France on Sunday morning, February 19, according to pal Bill Scheft.

The Emmy Award nominated writer shared with an outlet that Richard had "a lot of health issues" in his final years, and revealed his last words to him were a seemingly joking, "F*** you, mother******."

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Richard enjoyed a storied career as an actor, writer, producer and stand-up comedian. He is most remembered for his epic 326 episode stint as Detective John Munch on Law & Order: SVU, as well as his roles in Scarface, X-Files, Gunsmoke and more.

But his successful career wasn't without tragedy. In 2014, it was reported Richard was "devastated" after his "deteriorating" brother, Len, died by suicide after jumping from his 11th story apartment building at The Stanton in New York.

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"He was in a lot of pain," one of the building employees stated at the time. "He was hurting, stomach problems. He also was hurting because his wife died a couple years ago. They were beautiful people."

Terry Caza, a producer who lived at the apartment building that year, claimed the actor's brother had "never quite recovered" after his wife's passing.

Years prior, their family had been even further shrouded in tragedy after Richard and Len's father, Charles, also died by his own hand decades earlier in 1968.

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As for their mother, Frances, both brothers had previously opened up the physical abuse they endured as children.

"Our mother didn't know how to love her sons," Len explained of their lives growing up. "She always had some rationale for hitting us." Meanwhile, Richard once noted, "I had to make my mom laugh or I'd get my a** kicked."

Frances passed away in 1962, six years before their father took his own life.

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Bill spoke with The Hollywood Reporter on Richard's final words.

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