Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler are two of the most recognizable faces on television. They have both starred in iconic shows that have entertained millions of viewers for decades. But did you know that they are also related by blood? Yes, you read that right. Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler are cousins in real life. How is that possible? Let’s find out.
The Jewish Roots of Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler
One of the common factors that link Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler is their Jewish heritage. They both have Jewish roots and were born and raised in New York City. According to Fresherslive, Richard Belzer was born on August 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Francis and Charles Belzer, who were Jewish immigrants from Hungary. He grew up in a poor family and had a difficult childhood. He suffered from testicular cancer and was molested by a teacher when he was young. He also had a brother, Leonard, who committed suicide in 1968.
Henry Winkler was born on October 30, 1945, in Manhattan, New York, to Ilse Anna Maria and Harry Irving Winkler, who were Jewish immigrants from Germany. He also had a tough upbringing, as he struggled with dyslexia and was bullied at school. He also had a sister, Beatrice, who died from a heart attack in 2018.
The Comedy Career of Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler
Another thing that connects Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler is their passion for comedy. They both started their careers as stand-up comedians and later transitioned to acting. According to Sportskeeda, Richard Belzer began his comedy career in the early 1970s, performing at clubs like Catch a Rising Star and The Improv. He also appeared on several TV shows, such as Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, and The Howard Stern Show. He was known for his sarcastic and cynical humor and his political satire.
Henry Winkler also pursued comedy in the 1970s, but he became famous for his role as Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli on the sitcom Happy Days. He played the cool and charismatic greaser who became a pop culture phenomenon. He also appeared in movies like The Waterboy, Scream, and Night Shift. He later won an Emmy Award for his role as Gene Cousineau on the dark comedy series Barry.
The TV Legacy of Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler
The most remarkable aspect of Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler’s relationship is their TV legacy. They both have created memorable characters that have spanned multiple shows and genres. According to Forbes, Richard Belzer is best known for playing Detective John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. He originated the role in 1993 on Homicide, which was created by Dick Wolf, and then continued on when SVU debuted in 1999. He also appeared as Munch on several other TV shows, such as The X-Files, Arrested Development, The Wire, 30 Rock, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He holds the record for playing the same character on more than 10 different TV series.
Henry Winkler is also renowned for his TV roles, especially as Fonzie on Happy Days. He played the character from 1974 to 1984 and became one of the most popular TV stars of all time. He also reprised his role as Fonzie on several other shows, such as Laverne & Shirley, Mork & Mindy, Joanie Loves Chachi, and The Simpsons. He also played other memorable characters on TV shows like Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, Childrens Hospital, Royal Pains, and BoJack Horseman.
The Family Bond of Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler
Despite their busy careers, Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler have maintained a close family bond over the years. They have supported each other through their highs and lows and have expressed their love and admiration for each other publicly. According to Outsider, Henry Winkler confirmed that he is related to Richard Belzer when he posted a tribute to him on Twitter after his death on February 19, 2023. He wrote: “Rest in peace Richard.” A fan asked him if he was his cousin, to which he replied: “Yes he was.”
Richard Belzer passed away at the age of 78 at his home in France after battling health issues for a long time. His friend Bill Scheft revealed that his last words were: “F— you, motherf—er.” Many of his co-stars and fans mourned his loss and celebrated his memory. He was a comedy legend and a TV icon who left behind a remarkable legacy. He was also a loving cousin to Henry Winkler, who will surely miss him dearly.