Is Richard Belzer Related to Henry Winkler? The Truth Behind the Cousinhood of Two TV Legends

Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler are two of the most recognizable faces on television, having starred in iconic shows like Law & Order: SVU and Happy Days respectively. But did you know that they are also related by blood? Here’s the truth behind the cousinhood of these two TV legends.

According to several sources, Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler are cousins, although the exact details of their family connection are not clear. They both have Jewish roots and were born and raised in New York City 

Winkler was born on October 30, 1945, in the Manhattan borough of New York City. His middle name, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and the “H” in his first name are references to his Uncle Helmut. Winkler’s parents, Harry Irving Winkler and Ilse Anna Maria Hadra, were German Jews who emigrated from Berlin to the United States in 1939.

Belzer was born on August 4, 1944, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His mother, Frances (née Gentry), was a bookkeeper, and his father, Charles Belzer, was a candy and tobacco retailer. Belzer had three older brothers: Leonard, James, and Robert. Belzer’s paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Hungary; his maternal grandfather was a Russian Jew; and his maternal grandmother was born in Iowa to parents from France and England.

How did they work together?

Belzer and Winkler did some work together during their career. The duo appeared on Ron Howard’s 1982 film, Night Shift, where Winkler starred as former stockbroker-turned-New York morgue worker Chuck Lumley, and Belzer played a character named Pig.

They also appeared together on an episode of The Simpsons in 2008, where they voiced themselves as guests at Krusty the Clown’s funeral.

How did they pay tribute to each other?

Belzer passed away on February 19, 2023 at his home in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, southern France. He was 78 years old and had been battling respiratory and circulatory issues. His longtime friend Bill Scheft, who was working on a documentary about him, told AP News that Belzer’s last words were “F— you, motherf—er”.

Following his death, many of Belzer’s co-stars and friends took to social media to mourn his passing. Among them was Winkler, who confirmed their cousinhood in a tweet. He wrote:

> Rest in peace Richard 

In response to a follower who asked if Belzer was his cousin, Winkler replied:

> Yes he was 

Winkler also shared a photo of himself with Belzer on Instagram, captioning it:

> My cousin Richard .. I will miss you 

Belzer was best known for playing the character of Detective John Munch in Law & Order: SVU for over 20 years and across 10 seasons. He also appeared on several other TV shows as Munch, making him the only fictional character to appear on more than 10 different television series as played by one actor.

Winkler is best known for playing the pop culture phenomenon Fonzie on Happy Days for 10 seasons. He also starred in other shows like Barry, Arrested Development, Parks and Recreation, and Royal Pains. He won two Golden Globe Awards and three Emmy Awards for his acting work.


Richard Belzer and Henry Winkler were cousins who shared a passion for acting and comedy. They worked together on some projects and paid tribute to each other after Belzer’s death. They were both TV legends who left a lasting legacy on the screen.

Doms Desk

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