“Law & Order” star Richard Belzer’s 73-year-old brother Leonard Belzer jumped to his death on Wednesday from the window of his luxury 15-story high-rise Manhattan apartment building. The body was discovered around 6:45 a.m. in the courtyard of The Stanton. The elder Belzer brother was a one-time host of “The Comedy Hour,” a syndicated radio show and an Air Force Intelligence Service veteran.
Law enforcement reps state multiple suicide notes were found in his 11th floor apartment but stopped short of saying who they were addressed to or what was written on them. It is believed Belzer suffered from health issues along with grief stemming from the loss of his 71-year-old wife, Emily Squires, an Emmy Award winning director of “Sesame Street.” Squires died in November 2012. The couple had no children. Sadly, Leonard and Richard Belzer’s father committed suicide in 1968.
One neighbor, Terry Caza, stated Belzer had always been in a good mood and loved talking about movies until his wife passed away. “After his wife died he was never quite the same. He never quite recovered. He was still friendly after she passed, but he just seemed more subdued. He was obviously very affected by his wife’s death,” Caza said.
An employee of the building recalled Belzer having struggles with heart ailments, stomach problems and made frequent trips to the ER. The employee also believed Belzer was still hurting over his wife’s death.
Richard Belzer, who will soon turn 70, is famously known for his portrayal as the sarcastically witty Detective John Munch on the long-running police drama “Law & Order: SVU.” The actor who played the character for 21 years, previously starred on NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street,” acted in several movies and had a very successful career as a stand-up comedian. Richard Belzer, who had his share of health challenges in the past, is a cancer survivor.