Happy birthday to Richard Belzer! The actor we know best as John Munch, one of the quippiest cops on TV, turns 75 on August 4.
Belzer played the dry-witted detective for 23 years -- and not just on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," but on "The X-Files," "The Wire," and even "30 Rock." He left "SVU" in 2016 and we still miss him.
Here's some of our favorite quotes from the ever-cynical, conspiracy-loving, anti-authoritarian Munch: Not that we could ever do him justice with such a short list.
1. Before he became an "SVU" regular, Munch was a Baltimore homicide detective on "Homicide: Life on the Street." He could always be counted on to keep things lively, as when, over the holidays, he answered the squad phone: "Ho-ho-ho-Homicide."
2. Speaking of holidays, on "SVU," Munch once reminisced to partner Fin Tutuola (Ice-T) about how their current dead-end case reminded him of Easter.
Munch: "It reminds me of the Easter egg hunts of my youth."
Fin: "Your family's Jewish, you guys don't hide eggs."
Munch: "I know, all those mindless hours of searching."
3. When interviewed by a police psychiatrist (Audra McDonald) in the first season of "SVU," Munch was his usually wry self.
Dr. Audrey Jackson: "Do you always deflect personal questions with jokes?"
Munch: "Do you always deflect jokes with personal questions?"
Assuming the interview is over, he heads for the door:
Dr. Jackson: "We still have 45 minutes."
Munch: "Well, I could give you a complete detailed account of my sex life... but what are we going to do with the other 44 minutes?"
4. Munch points out to Brian Cassidy (Dean Winters) how hard it will be to track down their Canadian suspects in a Season 1 episode.
Cassidy: "Sure, rain on my parade."
Munch: "I don't want to just rain on it, I wanna blow up all the floats."
5. In the first season, after a series of assaults on the subway, Munch is frustrated when an MTA employee can't pull up a suspect's data.
Employee: "What would you like me to do?"
Munch: "I'd like you to sit on the third rail."
6. In a 2000 episode, Munch reveals he's a secret Broadway buff.
Fin: "He lives at 1634 Broadway."
Munch: "Not unless he's one of the nuts lobbying for yet another extension of 'Cats.' That's the Winter Garden Theatre.... Don't ask."
7. In the Season 2 episode, "Legacy," Munch questions a 7-year-old girl about her friend, who may have been abused by her own parents.
Munch: "Hi, Jennifer, I’m Detective Munch."
Jennifer: "That’s a funny name, Munch."
Munch: "You think that’s funny? I guess if I ever have kids I’ll have to call them 'munchkins'."
He had earlier explained to Cassidy why he never had children: "I wouldn't want to give a kid the responsibility of me."
8. Munch likes to introduce himself as "the handsome one" when he's with Fin.
9. In a 2012 episode, Munch is having dinner with Fin's son Ken (Ernest Waddell).
Ken reads off the menu: "Branzino, dourade, and tilapia."
Munch: "Are those fish or is that a law firm?"
10. In the same episode, Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) is shocked when she learns that a witness they had just spoken to has tried to kill herself.
Benson: "Two hours ago, she filled her pockets with stones and walked into Prospect Park Lake."
Munch: "Who is she, Virginia Woolf?"
11. On his 1997 appearance on "The X-Files." Munch gives the departing suspects, The Lone Gunmen, some sage advice: "Here's a tip: Aluminum foil makes a lovely hat and it blocks out the government's mind-control rays. Keep you guys out of trouble."