Comic actor John Belushi was the hugely talented star of television's "Saturday Night Live" and such films as "Animal House" (1978) and "Blues Brothers" (1980).
The grunting comic became widely known in 1975 when Lorne Michaels picked him as one of a crew of young humorists to man the late-night, wildly unorthodox "Saturday Night Live" on NBC.
Belushi and other soon-to-be-famous comedians made the show popular. They were billed as the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players" — Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Loraine Newman and Gilda Radner.
Belushi made the transition from television sketch artist to movie star as Bluto Blutarsky, the gross undergraduate of National Lampoon's "Animal House" (1978). The film was released late in 1978 and its cheerfully tasteless, sophomoric, humor made it one of the biggest hits of the year.
There were several other films in rapid succession, including "Goin' South" (1978) with Jack Nicholson, "Old Boyfriends" (1979) with Talia Shire, Steven Spielberg's "1941" (1979), "Continental Divide" (1981) and "Neighbors" (1981).
Belushi, who long had a reputation for excess, was found dead from a cocaine overdose in his bed at the Chateau Marmont hotel on Sunset Boulevard on March 5, 1982.
[Cathy Evelyn Smith, who was with Belushi the night of his death, was later convicted of injecting him with a fatal dose of cocaine and heroin. She was paroled from state prison in 1988 after serving half of a three-year term.]
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