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John Belushi

American actor and comedian

Died when: 33 years 40 days (397 months)
Star Sign: Aquarius


John Belushi

John Adam Belushi (January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982) was an American comedian, actor, and musician, best known for being one of the seven original cast members of the NBC sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live (SNL).

Throughout his career, Belushi had a personal and artistic partnership with his fellow SNL star Dan Aykroyd, whom he met while they were both working at Chicago's 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".

After being discovered by Bernard Sahlins, he performed with The Second City and met Aykroyd, Brian Doyle-Murray, and Harold Ramis.

In 1975, Chevy Chase and Michael O'Donoghue recommended Belushi to SNL creator and showrunner Lorne Michaels, who accepted him as a new cast member of the show after an audition.

Belushi developed a series of characters on the show that reached great success, including his performances as Henry Kissinger and Ludwig van Beethoven.

After his breakout film role as Bluto in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), Belushi appeared 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 led to the successful film of the same name.

In his personal life, Belushi struggled with heavy drug abuse that threatened his comedy career; more than once, he was dismissed and rehired at SNL due to his behavior.

In 1982, Belushi died from combined drug intoxication possibly caused by drug dealer Cathy Smith, who injected him with a mixture of heroin and cocaine known as a speedball at the Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood, California.

He was posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004.

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