In March 5, 1982, the comic genius of John Belushi was forever silenced. The then 33- year old actor—an original cast member of Saturday Night Live who went on to star in the hit movies National Lampoon’s Animal House and The Blues Brothers—overdosed on a “speedball” (a combination of heroin and cocaine) at Hollywood’s landmark Chateau Marmont hotel. Millions of fans around the world mourned him but none more than Judith Jacklin Belushi, his high-school sweetheart, soul mate, wife and biographer.
Thirty-one years after his untimely death, Judith (since remarried) sat down with entertainment reporter Keith Valcourt to discuss all things John Belushi, including the influence he had on today’s comedians, his favorite movies and the raisedeyebrow thing.
HUSTLER: When did you first meet John Belushi?
JUDITH BELUSHI-PISANO: We both went to Wheaton Central High School [in Illinois]. I had seen him around. John was two years older than me. Freshman year I was setting up the freshman mixer dance, and he was the drummer for the band. We talked a little. We had mutual friends, and so we ended up being thrown together in a group on a trip to a forest reserve, where we rented boats.
I was in the boat with John, and we started having a water fight. He pulled the oar back and accidentally smacked me. It wasn’t too bad, but it left a bruise on my arm. He used that as an excuse to phone me several nights after to ask how my arm was. On the fourth or fifth night he invited me to the prom.
The prom was our first real date. He was elected prom king and had to go dance with the prom queen, and I had to dance with her partner. John was very embarrassed after he won. We had to leave right away. The crown was too small. Guess they thought someone with a smaller head would win. (Laughs.)