Whenever I see March 5th on a calendar, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is the day John Belushi died.
Well, March 5th is here and it has now been thirty years since Belushi died of a drug overdose at the age of 33. While I was only nine at the time and didn’t fully appreciate the body of his work, he had a larger than life presence about him that could not be replaced. Given the reaction of people to his sudden death, it was very clear that his void could be felt.
It wasn’t until years later when I saw that short, black & white film produced by Tom Schiller titled Don’t Look Back in Anger which featured an elderly Belushi as the last surviving member of the original cast of Saturday Night Live visiting the Not Ready for Prime Time cemetery. What made the video all the more chilling was the first grave he visited was Gilda Radner who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.
Here’s an article written by Michael Heaton in The Cleveland Plain-Dealer. Heaton worked part-time as a freelancer for People Magazine and also knew Belushi and Dan Aykroyd while he lived in New York through a mutual friend. Belushi’s death became Heaton’s first cover story for People and a few months later had another cover story featuring an exclusive interview with Aykroyd, who had not previously talked to the media about Belushi’s death.
Well, let me leave you with something funny. I always enjoyed those Samurai sketches Belushi did with Buck Henry (who played the straight man role brilliantly) as you can see in Samurai Delicatessen.