DC at Night

DC at Night

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

TV Detective Munch Tackles Real-life JFK Mystery

Richard Beltzer and Dick Gregory confer
For 20 years, actor Richard Beltzer, as his character Detective John Munch, has been employing his fictional investigative skills, 1st on Homicide Life on the Streets for 7 years and then on Law and Order: Special  Victims Unit for the past 13 years. In fact, Beltzer holds a TV record for portraying the same Munch character on 11 different shows ranging from Sesame Street to The Wire.

But Beltzer has been using his real-life investigative skills for twice that long, spending the past 40 years trying to unravel the truth behind the assassination of President John Kennedy and the cover-up that Beltzer believes began long before the shots that killed JFK were fired on that sad November, 1963 day in Dallas, Texas.

Last night, Beltzer appeared at the National Press Club to discuss the latest book he co-authored with David Wayne entitled Hit List: An In-Depth Look at the Mysterious Deaths of Witnesses to the JFK Assassination.

Beltzer contends that the JFK hit list contains more than 50 witnesses who died under mysterious circumstances ranging from accused murderer Lee Harvey Oswald (whom Beltzer believes was just a pasty set up by the American government. "He was there, but he didn't fire a shot.") to a Dallas stripper with the stage name Delilah, to national correspondent Dorothy Kilgallen, to U.S. Congressman Hale Boggs. "Anyone who had any knowledge was eventually murdered," Beltzer said. "The sheer number forces us to ask whether their deaths were coincidence?"

"This is the greatest murder mystery of all time," Beltzer added. "It's Sherlock Holmes on speed."

So how did the cover-up that Beltzer alleges begin? "It was the height of the Cold War. People said 'Holy shit! Somebody in government killed our president. We have to cover up." he contends. "I don't think there is one great big conspiracy, but there are a lot of sharks in the water."

So who did plot and carry out the Kennedy assassination? "The real question is who didn't kill him. I know that is glib but there were elements in our government and elements in the mob. President Kennedy was planning many changes," Beltzer maintains. "But it was 50 years ago. It just goes on and on. There is no reason not to tell the full story now. It's only the ongoing contempt for the American people and that to me is very, very disturbing."

Beltzer said that leaders in authority have been able to link the words conspiracy and theory and delusional together. "It's easy to marginalize people who question authority," Beltzer said.

Beltzer's Press Club talk came on the same day Hit List made the New York Times best seller list. This came despite the fact the The Times regularly refuses to review Beltzer's books on the JFK murder. "The New York Times doesn't review my books, so, if I may, I say fuck the New York Times," Beltzer said. "Certain people don't want people to know what I am saying because it is the truth."

Tales, Tips, and Tidbits
Beltzer was joined last night by his surprise special guest, comedian, social activist, and, like Beltzer, active informal investigator into Kennedy's death Dick Gregory. "Just to see Greg alone is worth the price of admission," Beltzer, who began in entertainment as a social comedian said. "He and Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce redefined for us what comedy can do: it can inform us, it can educate us, and it can make us think about who we are. Dick Gregory inspired me early on. I remember when he told an audience 'if you don't laugh, I may move in next to you.' He told the truth. He made us laugh and he made us think." Several times during his hour-long presentation Beltzer employed his comedic skills. For example, he convulsed the crowd when in response to the question if he feared for his own life because of his continued probing, he said no and then immediately collapsed to the floor in a quite convincing, sustained death scene. And then there was his closing remark. When presented with a National Press Club coffee mug he replied. "Hey, I'll put this on the set on my desk. And I want you to know, of all the rewards I've received, this is the latest."

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