Richard Belzer left “Law & Order” and Hollywood for a quiet life in the French countryside. He lived with his wife, Harlee McBride, and their four dogs in a beautiful home surrounded by nature

Richard Belzer left “Law & Order” and Hollywood for a quiet life in the French countryside. He lived with his wife, Harlee McBride, and their four dogs in a beautiful home surrounded by nature. According to the actor, his dogs prolonged his life.

Before Richard Belzer passed away at age 78 in February 2023, he found success in the entertainment industry as a comedian and actor, most recognized for his roles in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Richard Belzer during the "V For Vendetta" New York City premiere at The Rose Theatre - Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York City, New York. | Source: Getty Images

Belzer already battled several issues leading up to his demise. According to his good friend, Bill Scheft, his last words included a lot of joking curses. Belzer passed away in his Bozouls, France, residence.

Jean-Luc Calmelly, the mayor of their small village, paid tribute to the actor, calling him famous amongst residents of the area, not only for his celebrity status but also for his friendliness and kindness towards others.

Years before his passing, Belzer bid farewell to his famous character, Detective John Munch” on “SVU.” Warren Leight, the show’s executive producer, admitted to finding difficulty in Belzer’s departure. He said:

“In the real world, which we try very hard to simulate, NYPD has mandatory retirement before your 63rd birthday, and we were trying to figure out how to deal with it. [NYPD does it] because you can’t have 65-year-old guys running after guys.”

Richard Belzer as Detective John Munch on "Law & Order" Season 10. | Source: Getty Images

Although Belzer’s character had to leave the police department, he joined the D.A.’s office as an investigator. The actor’s 21 years as Munch still had an open ending in a different field.

Similarly, “Homicide: Life in the Street” executive producer Barry Levinson also liked how Belzer portrayed the character. Notably, he was fond of the rhythm of the way Belzer spoke.

Belzer, born on August 4, 1944, in Connecticut, spent the last few years living in the beautiful countryside in France with his wife, Harlee McBride.
Munch first debuted on “Homicide: Life in the Street” in 1993. When the show was canceled, Belzer and his wife celebrated with champagne as he played the role for seven years. Little did they know that his character would live on for many more.

The famous character appeared in the original “Law & Order.” Belzer reprised his role on “Law & Order: Trial by Jury,” “Arrested Development,” “The X-Files,” “The Beat,” “The Wire,” “30 Rock,” and “Sesame Street.”

Fortunately, Belzer grew fond of his on-screen persona. “He is very close to how I used to be. It is very pleasing and luxurious to have a character just like you,” Bezler said. His last appearance on “Law & Order: SVU” was in 2016.

At the time of his passing, the official “Law & Order” Twitter page paid tribute to Richard Belzer with a post that mourned his loss and celebrated his memory. The post read:

“Anyone who had the pleasure of watching Richard Belzer portray Det. John Munch will never forget how much he inhabited that beloved character to make it his own.”

Belzer, born on August 4, 1944, in Connecticut, spent the last few years living in the beautiful countryside in France with his wife, Harlee McBride.

He and his wife relocated to France after wrestler Hulk Hogan choked Beltzer during a talk show in 1985. While the scene was only for a stunt, Beltzer passed out and ended up in stitches.
McBride is also an actress and producer, born November 20, 1948. Like her husband, she also has several on-screen credits. In the ’90s, McBride shared the screen with her husband as she appeared as Dr. Alyssa Dyer in 22 episodes of “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Richard Belzer and Harlee McBride during the 13th Annual GLAAD Media Awards at New York Marriott Marquis in New York City, New York. | Source: Getty Images

Her other on-screen appearances include “Young Lady Chatterley,” “Young Lady Chatterley II,” “Raid on Entebbe,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Most Wanted,” and “The Rockford Files.”

Beltzer tied the knot with McBride in 1985, although he had been married twice. From 1996 to 1972, Beltzer was wed to Gail Susan Ross. Following their divorce, he married Dalia Gnoch in 1976 and separated in 1978. Similarly, McBride was once married to actor Garth Benton.

Although Beltzer never had biological children, he became a father figure to McBride’s kids, Jessica Erin Benton and Shannon Bree Benton.

He and his wife relocated to France after wrestler Hulk Hogan choked Beltzer during a talk show in 1985. While the scene was only for a stunt, Beltzer passed out and ended up in stitches.

“He came very close to killing me. I was told by a sports medicine expert that if I had fallen a few inches either way, I could have been crippled for life; I could have been dead,” Belzer said. He eventually sued the WWF star and received a sum of money that went to their home in France.

Belzer and McBride’s estate was located in a small village in Bozouls with an estimated 3,000 residents as of 2013. They received a residence permit in 2021 and officially called the house their permanent home.

Despite the language barrier, Belzer tried his best to show camaraderie amongst his neighbors and would often talk to the locals. According to those who knew them, he and his wife were well-integrated into the community.

He and McBride enjoy quality time together with their four adorable dogs, which are like their children. His posts show that the couple’s fur babies are often included in their activities.

Belzer has shared snippets of his home several times, leaving fans in awe of its serene beauty.

Several trees, vines, and colorful flowers are outside Belzer’s home, including roses. His wife is particularly fond of the nature that surrounds them, as she enjoys caring for her plants. In one of his tweets, Belzer revealed that McBride gardens even during winter. His post came with a photo of his wife in action.

The couple also keeps a large pile of wood chunks for the cold days and nights. The actor previously shared a picture of their neatly stored stock, writing, “Harlee’s wood pile… I helped (A little)!”

Besides the home itself, it is the company that keeps Belzer happy. He and McBride enjoy quality time together with their four adorable dogs, which are like their children. His posts show that the couple’s fur babies are often included in their activities.

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