John Adam Belushi January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982) was an American comedian, actor, and singer. Belushi is best known for his “intense energy and raucous attitude” which he displayed as one of the seven original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL). Throughout his career, Belushi had a close personal and artistic partnership with his fellow SNL star Dan Aykroyd, whom he met while they were both working at Chicago’s The Second City comedy club.
Born in Chicago to Albanian American parents, Belushi started his own comedy troupe with Tino Insana and Steve Beshekas, called “The West Compass Trio”, which was met with success. Belushi was offered a chance to perform with The Second City after being discovered by Bernard Sahlins. There, he met Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis. He also met Aykroyd, who would later become one of his close associates.
In 1975, Belushi was recommended to SNL creator/showrunner Lorne Michaels by Chevy Chase and Michael O’Donoghue, who accepted Belushi as a new cast member of the show after an audition. He developed a series of characters on the show that reached high success, including his notable performances such as Henry Kissinger and Ludwig van Beethoven. Belushi later took an interest in films such as 1941, The Blues Brothers, and Neighbors. He also pursued interests in music, creating with Aykroyd, Lou Marini, Tom Malone, Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Paul Shaffer, the Blues Brothers, which the film received its name from.
In his personal life, Belushi struggled with heavy drug use that affected his comedy career, and was dismissed and rehired by Michaels on several occasions due to his behavior. In 1982, Belushi died from combined drug intoxication caused by an injection of a heroin and cocaine mixture, known as a speedball. He was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.
I first ever became aware of John Belushi with the film Animal House 1978 and l found him to be a genuinely energetic and refreshing comedian, and when with Dan Ackroyd, the pair just shone!
This weeks TOTW choice has been Requested by Laura Beth of Hot Shot Headlines
John Belushi 1949 – 1982
Top 11 Films
Saturday Night Live [SNL] – John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray 1975 – 1979 [11/11]
The Missing White House Tapes (National Lampoon, 1974) John Belushi, Chevy Chase [10/11]
I owe it all to little chocolate donuts.
I give so much pleasure to so many people. Why can I not get some pleasure for myself?
So there we go folks, our first part to John Belushi Week!
More tomorrow – this weeks choice has been Requested by Laura Beth of Hot Shot Headlines