Howard Remembers Stern Show Regular Richard Belzer and Actress Raquel Welch

“He was a pretty amazing guy … big part of our show and a lovely guy,” he says of “S.V.U.” star

February 20, 2023

Richard Belzer, the comedian and actor known for playing Detective John Munch in several television series, has died. He was 78.

Despite his work as Munch on “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and “The Wire,” to name a few, Stern Show listeners will remember Belzer from his more than 50 appearances on the show. “He was great. He’d come on … [and] he would just rip on the news and offer conspiracy theories,” Howard remembered of “The Belz.” “He was so well-read and had definite opinions and that’s good radio … He was a pretty amazing guy.”

One of those appearances would change the comedian’s life forever when “Homicide” executive producer Barry Levinson happened to be listening to the Stern Show. “He heard the Belz, [and] he goes, ‘That’s the guy who should play Detective John Munch on TV,’” Howard recalled. “The studios all thought they should get this handsome pretty boy to play Detective John Munch but Barry Levinson’s driving around in his car listening to the Belz on our show, and sure enough … he got the job.”

But it was an off-air moment with Belzer that Howard is most fond of. The two happened to be visiting comedian Gilbert Gottfried in the hospital. To his surprise, the “Law & Order” star sat down and read the newspaper without barely saying a word to anyone, including the patient. “We all just sat there …but it was the funniest thing,” Howard remembered, adding, “When Belz was done reading the paper, he got up and left.”

Photo: Getty Images

Howard also paid tribute to Raquel Welch, the actress and renowned sex symbol who recently died at the age of 82. “One of the greatest beauties that ever graced this planet,” he said of the Golden Globe winner.

When Welch appeared on the Stern Show in 1987 to promote an album she recorded, executive producer Gary Dell’Abate had a memorable interaction with her in the K-Rock green room. “She walked in and I remember she grabbed her boobs and she started adjusting her bra … it was very sexual,” he told Howard. “The [record company] guy looked at me and he’s like, ‘Was that for us or for her?’ Because it looked like she definitely was into the fact that, you know, we were young guys and our eyes popped out of our heads.”

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