John Belushi was an actor and comic, among the primary performers on “Saturday Night Live” and one half of the Blues Brothers. Actor, comic, singer. Produced on January 24, 1949, in Wheaton, Illinois. Known for his infamous characters and skits on Saturday Night Live, John Belushi imbued his amazing performances having a manic, boisterous energy which has not ever seen before or since. One of four children born to Albanian immigrants, he was great at getting laughs in high school. More than anything, yet, he wished to be an actor. After high school, Belushi performed in summer stock productions before beginning college. Another year, Belushi made a big splash in the Chicago comedy scene as an associate of the renowned Second City improvisational troupe. He wowed crowds with his over the top perceptions of Marlon Brando, vocalist Joe Cocker, among others.
In 1973, Belushi was chosen to appear in a off Broadway production of Lemmings, an assortment of comedy sketches by the staff of National Lampoon, a popular, but offbeat humor magazine. He received excellent reviews for his work on the show. Premiering on October 11, 1975, Saturday Night Live featured nine gifted comics boldly going where television hadn’t gone before. The show soon became a success and Belushi became among its own appearing stars. To handle pressures and his own insecurities, Belushi is believed to get done cocaine as well as other substances.
Not long after beginning the show, Belushi wed his high school love, Judith Jacklin, in 1976. A couple of years after, he made the move to the big screen using the success comedy National Lampoon’s Animal House, directed by John Landis. Playing Bluto Blutarsky, Belushi created one of movie’s most memorable characters-the totally gross, just verbal frat brother whose immortal lines contained “toga, toga, toga” and “food fight.” The chaos made by Bluto as well as the remainder of his Delta House buddies against their school is now among the very most well-known faculty comedies ever.
Belushi’s other 1978 movie attempt was less successful. The following year, he took on a serious part in Old Boyfriends with Talia Shire, which failed to locate an audience. Belushi fans wanted him to see him return to some Blutolike character, not in a dramatic part. The movie was loosely based on an historic event when a Japanese sub was off the West Coast following the strike at Pearl Harbor. Belushi played a manic National Guard aviator, who along with another concerned citizens, including an overeager tank sergeant played by Dan Aykroyd, attempts to shield a California small town under siege in the Japanese. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie proved to be a total flop and got numerous bad reviews. A review in The New York Times said that it was “less funny than cumbersome, as much enjoyable as a 40-pound wristwatch.”
In actual life, Belushi and Aykroyd were good buddies. While on Saturday Night Live, the both of them developed a blues parody act called the Blues Brothers. The duet recorded an album, 1978’s Briefcase Full of Blues, which had some success, and toured the nation having a backup band. The Blues Brothers starts when “Joliet” Jake Blues (Belushi) is released from prison. There they learn they are on “a mission from God” to save the orphanage. The Blues brothers work on reuniting the members of the previous group so that you can boost money to meet their assignment. The outlandish comedy had ridiculous car chases, neo-Nazis, and almost everything else but the kitchen sink inside.
Focusing on his movie career, Belushi was frustrated with all the result to his next two movies. Critic Robert Ebert described his operation as having “a surprising tenderness and appeal.” Despite largely warm reviews, the movie was a box office disappointment. The characters were reversed for the movie as Belushi played a largely straight, demure guy up against Aykroyd’s loud and obnoxious character that has moved in next door to him. Again, crowds were disappointed not to see Belushi as a manic sphere of comedic energy and this influenced the movie’s reception by the general public.
However he was also fighting his drug problem. In the months before his departure, he was apparently spending about $2,500 a week on his custom, according to People magazine. Belushi was traveling back and forth between his home in Nyc and California to work with the script in 1982. Through the last week of his life, Belushi leased a bungalow in the Chateau Marmont, a favorite resort for the Hollywood set. He was also doing lots of drugs during the time. On the night of March 4, he was allegedly partying with the likes of Robin Williams. Another day Belushi was found dead in his hotel room. Only thirty three years of age, he died from a drug overdose of a mixture of cocaine and heroin, also called a “speedball.” The girl who was with him and had provided him with drugs, Cathy Smith, was questioned by law enforcement and released.
On March 9, 1982, Belushi was buried near his house in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Many were shocked and saddened by the comic’s sudden death. “His passing frightened a entire group of show business folks. It caused a huge exodus from substances,” Robin Williams told Entertainment Weekly. “Hollywood was poisonous to him. Folks needed him to function as Belushi they had seen on screen,” said Lorne Michaels in an identical post.
In spite of the fact it had been an apparent overdose, there was still some mystery enclosing the precise circumstances of Belushi’s departure. Cathy Smith was afterwards charged with homicide and drug-related violations after confessing that she provided and managed “speedballs” to Belushi to the National Inquirer, which allegedly paid her $15,000 for her story.
The unanswered questions led Belushi’s widow to request journalist Bob Woodward to investigate her husband’s departure. The end result was the publication Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi (1984). His family was dismayed by the book, expressing their concern that it had not been a reasonable portrait of the guy they’d known and adored. Judith Jacklin Belushi composed her very own book on her experiences encompassing his departure in Samurai Widow (1990) and afterwards created her own portrait of her late husband entitled Belushi: A Biography (2005). While Belushi continues to be gone for over twenty years, the characters he created as well as the performances he gave are still being loved by his supporters. His brother Jim also carries on the family name in amusement, having been a cast member of Saturday Night Live as well as the star of the television situation comedy, According to Jim.