RIP Richard Belzer ~ An Account of Our Brief Connection: 'Mugged in NYC'

RIP  ~ Richard Belzer!


(Summarized from unpublished Personal Stories)

 I was working with a deadline for final edits of Heart-Links while living in NYC when I received a call from Harry, my dear friend who worked the lights backstage at Lincoln Center. He called to invite me to join him for a movie at the Sony Theater on Broadway, just a few blocks up from the Center.  It sounded like the perfect de-stressor and a welcome change of scenery. 

We enjoyed the movie, and afterward, we headed south, past O'Neal's, Harry's favorite haunt, and approached a side street near Josephina’s where we decided to have lunch. Making our way in the crosswalk, I felt a sudden sensation, thinking my Kate Spade backpack (from Loehmann’s) was catching on my sweater. I re-adjusted the backpack once or twice and Harry and I continued to walk and talk.

After lunch, Harry drove me home, and with renewed spirit, I sat at my desk to check my phone messages before resuming the work on my manuscript. There was a message from an employee at Bell Atlantic briefing me about a man who’d called to request my unlisted phone number. She said he'd apparently found my wallet. I said I had no idea it was missing, and the agent gave me the number ‘Kenny’ had left. I immediately gave him a call.

 "You have no idea, all that went on behind you in the sidewalk today!" Kenny said once we connected. He said he was standing at a payphone with his buddy, Richard Belzer, the actor recognizable by his shades and his character’s role as a cop on the TV series, 'Homicide.'  

Kenny said they both watched a thief pilfer my wallet from my backpack as Harry and I made our way in the crosswalk, witnessing it from just a few feet away. They couldn't believe how fast the theft was accomplished. He said Richard called out, "THAT’S JUST NOT RIGHT! HE TOOK HER WALLET!

I invited Kenny to return my wallet by meeting me at Antonio's for coffee (or whatever) across the street from where I lived on 13th Street. We met a couple of hours later, sitting at the bar while I listened to the details of all that he and Richard witnessed. I also learned that Kenny was a professional boxer, working at times as a bodyguard, and often played a 'heavy' in movies. 

 "DROP THE WALLET!” Kenny said he yelled at the culprit as he replayed the dramatic details for me. 

How ironic, I thought, that Richard, who played a cop, was the one who ran down the block to find a cop, while Kenny confronted the thief. He struck me as one who will slip reflexively into attack mode when most of us run the other way. 

I’m convinced, though, that dear Harry would not have run. In fact, I was grateful he hadn’t been aware of all that was taking place. I told Kenny it was hard for me to believe Harry hadn't noticed, or that I hadn't turned around to check my backpack and perhaps stopped the perpetrator. 

Kenny was vehement — "That Would Not Have Been a Good Thing!" he insisted.

He continued, reporting how the guy had dropped my wallet, stomped on it, and then pulled a knife on Kenny. Seeing that Kenny didn't flinch, but instead projected — what he described as “Gonna-knock-your-block-off!” — the guy dropped his knife, reached into the nearest trash barrel for a bottle, broke it on the nearest lamppost, and lunged at Kenny, missing him. The thief then hoisted the trash barrel and threw it at him. Kenny said, "I did my fancy footwork and popped him in the face!" 

Kenny said he grabbed my wallet off the ground and the guy ran, looking crazed, probably on drugs. All this took place at 3:00 pm in broad daylight, while onlookers continued to eat their lunches, watching from sidewalk tables on the corner of 65th and Broadway.

When Richard returned to the scene they both went looking for me, running down the next block. They stopped at Josephena's, where, by then, Harry and I had ordered lunch inside. Not finding me, they sat down at tables outside at the restaurant next door. 

When Kenny wrapped up his account, I offered my perspective on life. Perhaps I could help him understand that there IS a plan that can make sense of the craziness in life, a much bigger picture in which a Higher Power does exist, and how we’re all here to make a difference. 

Then I listened to Kenny’s description of his abusive, deceased stepfather, whom he hoped was ‘burning in hell.’  Kenny demonstrated how he curses the man from time to time, looking downward (hell-ward) at the floor. He seemed dismayed when I said he’s likely not burning in hell, unless perhaps he’s created it with his own guilty consciousness.

Kenny also shared about his own near-death experience, resulting from a head-on motorcycle accident years ago. He said that after the windshield wiper from the oncoming car went all the way through his chest, he watched from beside his body the paramedics pulling out tubes when he flatlined. Then he floated toward the Light but resisted because he thought it would mean he was dead and feared he would go to hell. 

He said he steered away, and then did go to hell, chased by dark entities for (what felt like) 17 hours. Then he saw a little girl who stood before the Light and he went that way with her. (He later identified her as his deceased half-sister whom he’d never known).  That's when he said he came back into his body, sat upright, and talked, astounding the doctors. Then he fell back into a coma for three months.

Kenny wouldn't let me buy him dinner nor reward him monetarily but said he might like a phone consultation. He took an Intro Tape and thanked me. He mentioned that Richard was "into this sort of thing" and hoped to bring him to an informal talk I was giving in September. 

[BTW, Kenny said Richard received a $2 million advance for a book he had out on UFOs. It turned out that Richard and I had the same agent at the time, Sandra Martin! When I related the story to Sandra, she said, "Uh, his advance certainly wasn't that much!" — nor was my advance for Heart-Links...🫤]

 So, dear Richard, I know you’ve made your way to the ✨ Light ✨  Many thanks for all your efforts on my behalf on that eventful day! 💕