John Belushi

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John Belushi as Bluto in Animal House
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John Belushi (right) with Dan Akroyd in The Blues Brothers

John Adam Belushi (January 24, 1949March 5, 1982) was an American actor and comedian. John was born in the U.S. to Adam Belushi, an Albanian immigrant who left his native village, Qytez, in 1934 at the age of 15, and his wife Agnes, born in the US to Albanian immigrants. John's brother James Belushi is also a successful actor and comedian.

Belushi's first big break as a comedian occurred in 1971, when he joined The Second City comedy troupe in Chicago. Thanks to his uncanny caricature of singer Joe Cocker's intense and jerky stage presence, he participated in National Lampoon's "Lemmings" stage show in 1972 (which also featured future Saturday Night Live performer Chevy Chase).

From 1973 to 1975 the National Lampoon aired the Radio Hour, a half hour comedy program syndicated across the country on approximately 600 stations. When original director Michael O'Donaghue quit in 1974, Belushi took over the reins until the show was cancelled. Other players on the show included future SNL regulars Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Richard Belzer and Chevy Chase. Belushi married Judy Jacklin, an associate producer of the Radio Hour. A number of comic bits first performed on the Radio Hour would be translated into SNL sketches in the show's early seasons.

Belushi achieved national fame with his work on Saturday Night Live, which he joined as one of the original cast members in 1975. He left Saturday Night Live in 1979 to pursue a film career, and he appeared in a number of movies, including The Blues Brothers (with Dan Aykroyd) and Animal House. Both the Animal House and the Blues Brothers albums when to number 1, making Belushi the only performing artist to concurrently attain momentary greatness in the two disciplines.

He was also known to indulge in bouts of drinking and involvement with drugs which eventually cost him his life. John was found dead on March 5, 1982 in a hotel room at the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. The cause of death was a speedball, a lethal injection of cocaine and heroin. His death was investigated by forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, among others, and while there was some dispute in the findings it was eventually officially ruled a drug related accident. There was some suspicion of foul play by his companion and drug dealer at the time, Cathy Smith.

John Belushi is interred in Abel's Hill Cemetery, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

His widow later remarried and is now Judy Belushi Pisano.




  • In the toga party scene in the basement of the frat in Animal House, the uncredited coed dancing with Bluto (Belushi) is his wife.
  • Belushi wanted Bluto to go on the road trip with Boon, Otter, Pinto and Flounder but director John Landis told him that his character was best used sparingly.

Famous Saturday Night Live characters

Sources - Hill, Doug and Weingrad, Jeff, "Saturday Night - A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live", Beech Tree Books / William Morrow, New York, 1986, ISBN 0-688-05099-9.

The Best of the National Lampoon Radio Hour, liner notes by McConnachie, Brian and Simmons, Matty, Rhino Records, California, 1996.

Shales, Tom and Miller, James Andrew, "Live From New York - An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live", Little, Brown and Company, Boston, New York, London, 2002, ISBN 0-316-78146-0.

National Lampoon's Animal House - Double Secret Probation Edition DVD release, Universal Studios, California, 2003.

External links

it:John Belushi nl:John Belushi pt:John Belushi sv:John Belushi


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