(NEW YORK) — Monday marks the 30th anniversary of legendary comedic actor John Belushi’s death. He was found dead on March 5, 1982, from an accidental drug overdose. Belushi, the brother of Jim Belushi, was 33 years old.
Belushi’s fame skyrocketed as an original cast member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, which launched in 1975. It was on that show that he originated some of his most memorable characters, including the Samurai warrior who held down odd jobs like working at a delicatessen, and the short-order cook who yelled “cheeseburger cheeseburger.”
In 1978, Belushi and Dan Aykroyd formed their famous blues act, Jake and Elwood Blues, a.k.a. The Blues Brothers. The group made their debut as a musical guest on an episode of SNL that aired that April. By the end of the year, they released a live album that featured the hit “Soul Man” and topped the Billboard 200 album chart.
Belushi also achieved great success on the big screen in 1978, when he starred as Bluto in the comedy Animal House. It’s remembered for famous Belushi lines like, “Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”
Belushi left SNL in 1979, one year before The Blues Brothers movie hit theaters. The film featured appearances by John Candy and Carrie Fisher as well as music by James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles.
In commemoration of the anniversary of Belushi’s death, Aykroyd and Belushi’s widow, Judy Belushi, will present a special performance of The Official Blues Brothers Revue in Joliet, Ill., on Monday. The concert, featuring Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty as Jake and Elwood Blues, will welcome original Blues Brothers Band members including Paul Shaffer.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Michael Pearson, CNN Newswire
Jim Bennett, Deseret News