John Belushi

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"I thought you said they broke your watch?"

(January 24th 1949 - March 5 1982)

Also known affectionately as, "America's Guest", John Adam Belushi was a Chicago-born actor and comedian. He rose to fame in 1971, after joining the Second City comedy troupe, where he became well known for his impersonations of Joe Cocker, resulting in his being cast in National Lampoon's Lemmings, a parody of Woodstock. It was while he was with the National Lampoon that John would meet fellow future Saturday Night Live regulars such as Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, and Brian-Doyle Murray. His highschool sweetheart -- whom he married -- Judith Jacklin, also worked for National Lampoon -- and as a fun fact, can be seen dancing with him in Animal House.

In 1975, John Belushi was accepted into NBC's Saturday Night, alongside Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Laraine Newman, and Garrett Morris. (In fact, Belushi was the first Not Ready For Prime-Time Player to appear in the show, as part of the first episode's first sketch.) From here, he went on to work with Dan Aykroyd on a film based off their already highly successful musical act and band, The Blues Brothers, which gained cult status, and a gross revenue of $115,229,890. John and Dan worked together in two other movies, 1941, and Neighbors.

Belushi is hailed as a benevolent figure, often lending a helping hand to any who needed it. This ranged from aiding his little brother, Jim, in getting started in comedy, through to helping friends setting up businesses, and delivering an epiphany speech to Tim Kazurinsky (a cast member during Dick Ebersol's era who often felt frustrated and underused about being on the show due to the Spotlight-Stealing Squad that was Eddie Murphy and Joe Piscopo) and assisting him in getting help when the stress of working at Saturday Night Live became too much. He is also credited with choosing music for The Blues Brothers because he thought the original artists could do with the royalties.

Unfortunately, he didn't survive the lifestyle of the entertainment industry. John Belushi passed away on March 5 1982, following the administration of a cocaine-heroin mix known as a "speedball" (making that famous SNL short film about John Belushi being the last cast member to die very cringeworthy in modern eyes). Former singer Cathy Smith later came forward, and was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Belushi's legacy lives on, however. He has since been awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Aykroyd also affectionately refers to Slimer in Ghostbusters as, "the ghost of John Belushi". [1] Further, John's work still draws audiences and provides an influence to young and upcoming comedy talent.

Some of the films he has appeared in includes:

  1. This is particularly poignant since Dan had written the role of Peter Venkman with John in mind.