Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler Are Related — 'Happy Days' Star Confirms While Paying Tribute

Henry Winkler recently delivered a sweet tribute to late actor Richard Belzer, to whom the Happy Days star confirmed he is related. Over on Twitter, Winkler shared a tweet by comedian Laraine Newman, who was a founding member of The Groundlings. "I'm so sad to hear of Richard Belzer's passing," she wrote of her fellow stand-up comedy star. "I loved this guy so much."

Newman went on to say, "He was one of my first friends when I got to New York to do SNL. We used to go out to dinner every week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster. One of the funniest people ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest." In his retweet, Winkler wrote, "Rest in peace Richard," to which a follower replied, "Another comedy legend gone too soon. Wasn't he your cousin, [Henry]?" The Barry star responded, "Yes he was."

Belzer was an actor and comedian who was most well-known for playing NYPD officer John Munch on SVU. He originated the role in 1993 on Homicide: Life on the Street, which was created by Dick Wolf, and then continued on when SVU debuted in 1999. Notably, Belzer portrayed Munch in episodes of many other TV shows, making Munch the only fictional character to appear on more than 10 different television series as played by one actor.

The beloved actor died on Sunday, with a close friend of Belzer's revealing the news and sharing his incredible last words with the world. According to THR, Belzer passed away at his home in southwest France. Writer Bill Scheft, a longtime friend of Belzer, made the announcement, explaining that Belzer "had lots of health issues." Scheft also revealed that Belzer's "last words were, 'F— you, motherf—er.'"

Following his death, many of Belzer's Law and Order co-stars have taken to social media to mourn his passing. In a post on Twitter, Christopher Meloni shared a photo of himself giving Belzer a kiss on the cheek while telling his late friend, "I love you," in the post caption. Ice-T added, "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."