Mariska Hargitay pays tribute to Richard Belzer

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Mariska Hargitay is reflecting on the “privilege” it was to know and work with the late Richard Belzer.

Hargitay, who costarred with Belzer on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” appeared on “Today” on Thursday and talked about the late actor, who recently died at the age of 78.

“What a heart and soul,” she told “Today’s” Savannah Guthrie. “He was family and taught me so much about taking risks and creativity and trust, and he brought so much joy to the set.”

Belzer was beloved for his role as Detective John Munch, which he originated on “Homicide: Life on the Street” in 1993 and continued to play on multiple NBC crime dramas.

Hargitay, who plays Captain Olivia Benson on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” remembered Belzer fondly.

“He was this acerbic, quick-witted, brilliant mind and yet he would melt in the sight of a child,” she said. “He was just such a beautiful and complex [person] and it was such a privilege to know him.”

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