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Dann Florek Remembers the Late Richard Belzer: "Bless You, Belz"

The actors, who played Cragen and Munch on SVU, had a special connection in real life. 

By Jackie Manno

OG members of the Law & Order: Special Victims Unit cast are still missing the late Richard Belzer more than a year after his death. 

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In a January 2024 interview with E! News, Dann Florek (Captain Donald Cragen) opened up about what Belzer meant to him. 

"Number one, I love the Belz. He was an irascible son-of-a-b. But a very, very talented man. And that has not escaped me down this line," he said. "I always thought he was Dracula. He was never going to die. So, bless you, Belz. He was a part of so many good things but such a big part of SVU. I love that dude."

Meanwhile, Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson) talked about how the cast is keeping his memory alive

"Belzer's so deeply embedded and enmeshed in my heart. I think of him with such fondness. He has shored me up and I have so many memories of him. We talk about him all the time. It's like he's still here," she said. 

RELATED: Mariska Hargitay Reveals What She Learned From the 'Beautiful' Richard Belzer

Kelli Giddish (Amanda Rollins) also discussed the special place Belzer will always have in her heart. "I'm just beyond grateful to know him. He was really instrumental in laying the footing for me when I got on the show. I deeply feel joy and pride by being part of this legacy."

John Munch and Donald Cragen appear in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Season 7 Episode 18.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star's social media tributes to Richard Belzer

Belzer, who played Det. Munch from Seasons 1-15, died at the age of 78 on February 19, 2023. Shortly after the news of his passing broke Hargitay, Ice T (Fin Tutuola), and Chris Meloni (Elliot Stabler) took to Instagram to share heartwarming posts honoring the late actor

“Goodbye my dear, dear friend. I will miss you, your unique light, and your singular take on this strange world. I feel blessed to have known you and adored you and worked with you, side by side, for so many years. How lucky the angels are to have you. I can hear them laughing already. I love you so very much, now and forever,” Hargitay wrote.

Ice T posted a moment of himself and Belzer in character while on set. 

Mariska Hargitay and Richard Belzer on Law And Order Svu

“Highs and Lows… After one of the most amazing weeks of my life. I wake up to the news I lost my friend today. Belz is gone.. Damn it! But remember this..’When you ARE having real fun and are Truly Happy. ENJOY it to the fullest! Cause Pain is inevitably coming.’ I’ll miss you Homie 🙏” he wrote on his photo. 

RELATED: Richard Belzer's Final Scene as Munch on SVU: Watch

Photo of Ice-T and Richard Belzer in Law and Order

Meanwhile, Meloni shared a snapshot of him and Belzer posing with their arms around each other. 

“Richard 'The Belz' Belzer. A beautiful soul, a dapper dresser, with the spirit of a child. Never met anyone like him, and I never will again. Ur last words have helped make ur passing easier to take,” he captioned his post.