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Before his death, John Belushi was an American comedian, actor, and singer. As a regular on the NBC Sketch of the comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL), he displayed intense energy and was very strident. While on the show, John Belushi created a series of characters that were well received including his remarkable performances such as Henry Kissinger and Ludwig Van Beethoven.
Early Life And Career
John Adam Belushi was born on the 24th of January, 1949 in Chicago to his mother, Agnes Demetri, and father, Adam Anastos Belushi who were both Albanian emigrants. He grew up in Wheaton, a suburb west of Chicago alongside his three siblings. John attended Wheaton Community High School where he first met his wife. In 1965, he formed a band, The Ravens, with his fellow high school students. He played the drums and contributed vocals to their only single Listen to Me/Jolly Green Giant. The song was not successful and The Ravens broke up finally after he enrolled at the College of DuPage.
After seeing the Compass Players, John Belushi went on to start his own comedy troupe in Chicago which he called The West Compass Trio with two friends – Tino Insana and Steve Beshekas. The trio was a success and they got the attention of Bernard Sahlins, the founder of The Second City. He saw their performances and asked John Belushi to join the cast of The Second City. By 1972, he moved to New York City and began working as a writer, director, and actor for the National Lampoon Radio Hour produced by the staff of National Lampoon Magazine. In 1975, the Chicago native was recommended to Lorne Michaels to become a member of the television show, Saturday Night Live (SNL). He was given the opportunity and worked over four years on the show with successful characters such as the bellicose Samurai Futaba, the Greek owner of the Olympia Café and Captain James T. Kirk.
Later on, he went on to form ‘The Blues Brothers’ with Dan Aykroyd. They were initially intended to prepare the crowd before a show begins but were eventually mostly featured as musical guests. By 1978, he became a notable face on the big screen, appearing in films such as Boyfriends, Goin’ South, and Animal House; with the latter garnering an estimated gross of more than $141 million, it became one of Hollywood’s pivotal works.
With The Blues Brothers making waves on SNL, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd decided to make it a proper band and to this end, they brought in instrumentalists. In 1978, the band released their debut album Briefcase Full of Blues with hot singles like Rubber Biscuit and Soul Man.
The American comedian continued his film career with Dan Aykroyd. They co-starred in 1941, Neighbours and The Blue Brothers. John Belushi kept on working on various movie projects until the time of his death.
Family: Brother, Wife
As previously mentioned, John Belushi has three siblings: an older brother – Jim, an older sister – Marian and a younger brother – Billy.
His brother, Jim, is an actor, singer, musician, and comedian. Jim has appeared in films such as Trading Places, About Last Night, Salvador, Mr Destiny, Underdog, and The Ghost Writer.
Jim Belushi has been married three times with three children to show for it – a son, Robert James who was born on the 23rd of October 1980, a daughter – Jamison Bess who was born on the 28th of July, 1999 and a son – Jared James, born on the 8th of February 2002.
Judith Jacklin got married to John Belushi on the 31st of December, 1976. The pair had the opportunity of growing up in the same neighbourhood and also attended Wheaton Community High School together. They also moved to New York City together where Judith became an associate producer of the comedy radio show, The National Lampoon Radio Hour. She also made uncredited appearances in John’s films, Animal House and The Blues Brothers. Judith also worked as the cover designer for the four albums by the Blues Brothers which are Briefcase Full of Blues, Made in America, The Blues Brothers Original Motion Picture Soundtrack and Best of The Blues Brothers.
After John’s death, Judith eventually got remarried to film producer and owner of NightOwl Productions, Victor Pisano on the 7th of October, 1990.
John Belushi – Net Worth
John Belushi had a short but successful career in Hollywood. At the time of his death, he had an estimated net worth of $2 million. This is a result of having recorded success with The Blue Brothers and as an actor.
The day before his death, John Belushi asked for money from his manager, Bernie Brillstein, who declined to give him the money as John had become very addicted to drugs. However, John returned and asked again while Bernie had a visitor, not wanting to embarrass him in front of a guest, his manager reluctantly gave him the money.
On the 5th of March 1982, John was found dead at the Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset Boulevard. He died as a result of the speedball shot he took, which is the combination of cocaine and heroin.
One of his friends, Catherine Evelyn Smith admitted having given John the speedball shot. She was at first charged with first-degree murder but after a plea bargain, the charge was reduced to involuntary manslaughter. John Belushi was laid to rest at Abel’s Hill Cemetery.
Two years later, his life was detailed in a biography titled Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi by Bob Woodward. And in 2004, he was posthumously awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.