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Mayor pays tribute to US actor Richard Belzer who lived in Aveyron

The actor, best known for his role as detective John Munch in the series Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, died at the weekend

Richard Belzer at a 2013 charity event in New York Pic: Ovidiu Hrubaru / Shutterstock

The mayor of a small village in southern France has paid tribute to former resident, American actor Richard Belzer following his death on Sunday (February 19).

Jean-Luc Calmelly said Mr Belzer, who was 78, was “well-known to residents” and “was always friendly and open” with people in the village.

Mr Belzer bought property in the village of Bozouls, which has around 3,000 residents, in 2013. 

He and his family received cartes de séjour in 2021 and stayed there almost permanently after that. The actor would often chat with locals despite not speaking fluent French and he and his family were said to be well-integrated.

Their house was close to the village’s 12th century Sainte Fauste Church and he often shared photos on social media of his garden, where the church was present in the background.

The actor also owned a home in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, near Nice, which he bought in the 1990s with money from a court settlement and where he died peacefully on Sunday morning after suffering ill health for several years.

He will be cremated in Nice before having his ashes brought back to Bozouls.

A varied career

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Mr Belzer started his career in stand-up comedy, and had small roles in films and TV shows such as Scarface, The Flash, and Saturday Night Live.

He was most known for his portrayal of detective John Munch across various American TV shows, such as Homicide: Life on the Street and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, appearing in over 400 episodes.

He also made guest appearances on shows such as The X-Files, Arrested Development and The Wire as the detective.

A fan of conspiracy theories, Mr Belzer also wrote five books on topics ranging from the assassination of JFK to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 

‘Chez Hogan’

He bought his home in Beaulieu-sur-Mer after being involved in an incident on talk show Hot Properties in 2015 when he asked wrestler Hulk Hogan to demonstrate one of his signature moves on him.

Hulk Hogan placed him in a front-chin lock, causing Mr Belzer to pass out and injure his head as he fell to the floor.

The actor then sued Hulk Hogan and used money from an out of court settlement to purchase the property which he jokingly dubbed ‘Chez Hogan’.

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