John Belushi Biography

John Adam Belushi, an American comedian, musician, and actor, rose to prominence in the 1970s with his stellar acts in Hollywood. Born in Chicago to Albanian immigrants, Belushi’s passion for music and comedy began during his school days. He formed his own comedy troupe before joining university and eventually became a member of ‘The Second City’ comedy troupe. Belushi’s early career highlights include his work on ‘The National Lampoon Radio Hour,’ where he showcased his talent. However, it was his four-year stint on ‘Saturday Night Live’ that truly solidified his status as one of the best performers of his time. Belushi’s success extended beyond television, as he produced music albums and ventured into acting. Despite his short career, he remains one of the most beloved television stars of his era.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: John Adam Belushi
  • Died At Age: 33
  • Family:
    • Spouse/Ex-: Judith Belushi Pisano (m. 1976–1982)
    • Father: Adam Anastos Belushi
    • Mother: Agnes Demetris
    • Siblings: Billy Belushi, Jim Belushi, Marian Belushi
  • Born Country: United States
  • Quotes By John Belushi
  • Actors
  • Died on: March 5, 1982
  • Place of death: Los Angeles, California, United States
  • City: Chicago, Illinois
  • Ancestry: Albanian American
  • Notable Alumni: University Of Wisconsin–Whitewater, College Of DuPage
  • Cause of Death: Combined Drug Intoxication
  • U.S. State: Illinois
  • More Facts
  • Education: College Of DuPage, University Of Wisconsin–Whitewater

Childhood & Early Life

John Adam Belushi was born on January 24, 1949, in the Humboldt Park area in the city of Chicago, Illinois, USA, to Adam Anastos Belushi and Agnes Demetri. Belushi’s father was an Albanian immigrant, while his mother was a second generation Albanian immigrant. Belushi had two younger brothers and a sister.

John Belushi was educated at ‘Wheaton Central High School,’ located in Wheaton, Illinois. During his years at school, Belushi was involved in sports and music. He played football for the school, and became a part of a music band as well. However, his ambition was to become an actor.

After graduating from high school, John Belushi performed in a few summer productions before joining the ‘University of Wisconsin.’ Later on, he studied at the ‘College of DuPage.’ Belushi received his associate degree in the year 1970, but he had already found his calling as a comic.


John Belushi became a founding member of the three member comedy troupe ‘The West Compass Trio’ in Chicago. In 1971, he received his big break when he got an offer from ‘The Second City’ to become a member of their cast, post which his career took off.

John Belushi became a cast member of ‘National Lampoon Lemmings’ alongside people like Chevy Chase and Christopher Guest. In 1972, they produced a parody of the iconic music festival ‘Woodstock.’ The following year, Belushi wrote, directed, and acted in the radio program ‘The National Lampoon Radio Hour.’

In 1975, the producers of the popular TV show ‘Saturday Night Live’ approached him with an offer to appear on the show, and he appeared on the show for four years. Subsequently, John Belushi appeared as a guest artist on ‘Saturday Night Live.’ However, his association with the show was marred by frequent conflicts with the producers due to his drug-related problems. He created the act ‘The Blues Brothers’ during his time there.

John Belushi forayed into the big screen with the release of three films in 1978. These films were ‘Old Boyfriends,’ ‘Goin’ South,’ and ‘Animal House.’ ‘Animal House,’ made with a budget of $2.8 million, was a highly acclaimed film and went on to earn in excess of $140 million. The same year, ‘The Blues Brothers’ act from ‘Saturday Night Live’ signed up with ‘Atlantic Records’ and released the album ‘Briefcase Full of Blues.’

In 1979, John Belushi starred in the Steven Spielberg film ‘1941’ and followed it up with films like ‘The Blues Brothers’ (1980) and ‘Neighbors’ (1981). He acted with his longtime collaborator Dan Aykroyd in all those films. He also starred in the film ‘Continental Divide’ in 1981.

Personal Life & Legacy

John Belushi got married to Judith Jacklin in 1976 after having been in a relationship with her for some years. They did not have any children.

John Belushi died on March 5, 1982 due to drug overdose in a room at the ‘Chateau Marmont Hotel’ in Hollywood. He was only 33 years old.

Following an orthodox Christian funeral, his mortal remains were interred at the ‘Abel’s Hill Cemetery’ in Chilmark, Massachusetts.

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