Ice-T Opens Up About 'SVU' Costar Richard Belzer's Death 1 Month Later: 'Crushed Me'

The Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star and Ice-T's Daily Game podcast host reflects on finding wisdom and joy amid the loss of his longtime friend and costar, who died on Feb. 19

Ice-T, Richard Belzer
Photo: Dia Dipasupil/Getty; Jamie McCarthy/Getty

Ice-T is known for his succinct one-liners on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and he's just as straight-to-the-point when he discusses his real life — including the pain of losing a very close friend.

The star has the distinction of being the longest-running male actor on television thanks to his performance as Sergeant Fin Tutuola on SVU for 23 seasons. And he's coming off a huge month in which he turned 65, performed at the Grammys and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

But just two days after he was celebrating in the streets of Hollywood, he learned his dear friend and longtime costar Richard Belzer had died suddenly at age 78.

"After that great week, coming off the star ceremony, I partied with all my friends in L.A. — 'Ice, you brought a star back to the hood!' — it was a great night," he recalls. "Woke up, Belzer passed away. And it just crushed me."

Law & Order: SVU - Lessons with Munch (Episode Highlight)
Law & Order/Youtube

In the wake of Belzer's death, the "jewel" of wisdom he shared with his social media followers was an especially poignant one.

"I did a quote after that, and I said, 'Whenever you're having a good time, really enjoy it. Don't feel guilty about partying, having that moment, because pain is guaranteed,'" explained the rapper, who is parlaying the "Ice Cold Facts" he shares on social media into a new podcast called Ice-T's Daily Game.

"It's sad but true," he continues. "The pain of life is inevitable. We're going to lose people. People are going to be sick. Happiness is rare. I'm happy right now, but I'm talking about that moment where you're just happy, you're partying and you tend to feel guilty sometimes. That moment, enjoy that to death, because the pain is coming. Suck those moments up."

Ice's wisdom, he says, comes from "licks" he's gotten over the course of his life, and he advises, "Things you've gone through — it's never a loss. It's always a lesson."

Ice-T's Daily Game
Courtesy iHeartPodcasts

The dad of three (who is married to Coco Austin) also has plenty of guidance for his kids, too.

"All my kids, my son, he gets [Ice Cold Facts] every day. My grown daughter. And Chanel is going to live amongst the wisdom," he says.

The same goes for his SVU costar Mariska Hargitay.

"I taught Mariska one thing," he shares. "I learned that you have to learn how to say no sometimes."

He continues, "Mariska's a very giving person and it can make you sick worrying about other people and not taking care of yourself. I believe that a lot of times people need to use that word 'no.' We keep each other sane."

NBCUNIVERSAL EVENTS -- Ice-Ts Hollywood Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony -- Pictured: (l-r) Mariska Hargitay, Ice-T at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, February 17, 2023 -- (Photo by: Todd Williamson/NBC via Getty Images)
Ice-T and Mariska Hargitay pose for a photo. Todd Williamson/NBC via Getty

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Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC, and the iHeartPodcasts and Audity podcast Ice-T's Daily Game drops new episodes every weekday.

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