January 24, 1949 – March 5, 1982
“I owe it all to little chocolate donuts.”
The Chicago born Belushi had been staying at the Chateau Marmont hotel,
on the Sunset Strip, for about a week. Johns paid $200 a night for his bungalow – nowadays that same place rents for closer to $2000 a night. Belushi was no stranger to parties, drugs and booze.
On the last night of it, March 4, 1982, he was drinking (and the rest) up a storm at the Roxy,
on the strip. Actually, he was in the club above the Roxy, called “On The Rox.” It caters to celebs. About 1 am and after many a cocktail there, he decided he was too drunk to drive, so Cathy Smith (they called her Cathy Silverbag, because she sold drugs out of a silver purse) drove back to the Marmont and parked in the private parking space for that bungalow.
He was so wasted, he needed assistance to get in the door.
From the street behind the hotel, Marmont Lane,
he entered the back gate
to the front door of Bungalow 3.
After entering the bungalow, he puked.
After vomiting he went back to drinking and drugs immediately. As you do. Friends joined them around 3:00. Oh hello! It was Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro. They stayed about half an hour, no doubt leaving very jittery and with runny noses.
At 6:30am Belushi took a shower. He emerged from the shower in a towel, and complained it was cold. He turned on the heat. At 8am he turned in. Yawwwwwwwwwwwn.
He was breathing hard and wheezing. Apparently he had a history of sinus problems. Yeah, it’s called cocaine. At 9:30 Silverbag asked him if he was okay, and he replied that he was. She gave him some ice water, and he went back to sleep. Oh, I forgot. She shot him up with a speedball first. A combination of Cocaine and Heroin.
She grabbed his Mercedes and went out for food.
At 12:30pm, John’s physical trainer, William Wallace, arrived for John’s session. John wasn’t going to make this particular appointment. Belushi was lying on his right side, nude, on white bed sheets. Wallace dragged Belushi off the bed to the floor and tried resuscitation, then called for help. FAD friend Corey sends this factoid:
William Wallace was actually Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, a martial arts expert, who has worked with Chuck Norris in the movies. Here’s a link to his website.
Emergency arrived and pronounced Belushi dead at 12:45pm. They also found coke and rolling papers. Cathy Smith returned to pandemonium.
Accidental overdose. He was 33 years old.
On the 10th of March, John was buried in Abel’s Hill Cemetery, on Martha’s Vineyard. I’ve heard that John and his wife had property there. Dan Aykroyd led the procession on his motorcycle. On the 11th, there was a memorial service held at the Cathedral of St. John Divine, in New York. Aykroyd played a tape of the 2000 Pound Bee, per a promise he made to Belushi earlier in the year. People were of course shocked at this sudden influx of noisy guitars, but eventually realized whom they were there to celebrate anyway, and remembered that abrasiveness came with the Belushi package.
At the end of the month, there was a memorial fundraiser held in Belushi’s honor at The Lone Star Cafe. 600 people attended. The funds went to the World Wildlife Fund, Little Brothers of the Poor, Little Sioux (for American Indian children), and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.
Here comes the interesting bit. In May of 1983, Belushi’s widow, Judy, had John moved in the cemetery. Fans were desecrating his grave. She had him dug up, and moved to an unmarked location, 11 feet to the north of his tombstone. During the operation, John’s wooden casket collapsed and a copper one had to be used instead. To make things even more difficult for fans to locate him, the tombstone was moved to the cemetery gate.
FAD friend LS sends this: I live on Martha’s Vineyard, born and raised, just like my dad. He was actually the gravedigger for John’s grave. I was talking to my dad about this the other day randomly and it just got me thinking, so I figured–if it’s any consolation that I would let you know the truth once and for all. John Belushi IS buried on Martha’s Vineyard and was only moved once. My dad was the one who moved him with the help of only two other men. The coffin did in fact break and John fell back into the grave, but he was completely fine his head didn’t fall off or anything. It ended up raining while they were getting him out (using the straps from the coffin lowering device).
Judy picked out the stone for his grave herself, she got it from one of the beaches here on the vineyard, the other cheesy headstone was put in by the family. John is perfectly preserved the way he was when he died.
Cathy Smith stupidly gave an interview to the National Enquirer admitting that she shot Belushi up. She was re-arrested, and had to serve 18 months in prison for this little escapade. HA ha. Idiot. How would you like it if this were the last face you ever saw?
Trivia: A couple of weeks before his death, John stopped at Gil Turner’s Liquor Store,
also on Sunset. Don’t know why he went in, but he went behind the counter, acting like a jerk. The owner, Mr. Turner, escorted John out, and locked the doors. Belushi claimed he lost his car keys in the store, and he remained outside for quite some time, pounding on the glass. Belushi eventually gave up and hoofed it back to the Marmont. Oh yeah, and Halle Berry drove her car into the front wall of the place back in 2000. heh.
I wonder if Gilda Radner attended the funeral. I loved Gilda. So did John.
More Trivia: remember the famous Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger! Skit? That was actually based on a real restaurant in Chicago, called the Billy Goat, on Lower Wacker Drive. Look closely at the sign – you can see how they love the notoriety – and it is true. They are just like that. Or were, anyway.
December 16, 2001: Regarding John Belushi, I understand that his old house in Martha’s Vineyard sold by his wife was later bought by his brother Jim. Prior to John owning the house, it was owned by Robert McNamara of the Johnson and Kennedy Administration. In fact I think John might have bought the house from McNamara. IF THOSE WALLS COULD TALK!!! – Ken from Brooklyn
October 2002, from Findadeath.com friend Kevin Hassell:
In her book, Samurai Widow, John Belushi’s widow, Judy, says that John never really liked Chevy Chase. John resented Chevy’s becoming an “overnight star” on the show, while Belushi had struggled for years in reparatory theater and National Lampoon. In fact, Chevy was originally hired for SNL as a writer, not a performer. However, Chevy started writing himself into scripts, and gradually gained exposure on the show. This eventually led to his being hired as a cast member.
Supposedly, the famous line by Chevy, “I’m Chevy Chase, and you’re not”, was directed at John.
Belushi was in the original screenplay of Ghostbusters movie, in the part that was eventually played by Bill Murray. The “slimer” ghost incorporated a lot of Belushi’s mannerisms, so in a way he ended up in the movie. As a ghost. There is a saying, “You get what you want in the form you deserve.” I’m not saying it applies, I’m just saying.
A In Vegas sends: So another little bit of interest on another member of your directory-john belushi-watched ‘Police Squad’ on youtube last night-comedy show by the ‘Naked Gun / Airplane’ gang from early ’80s-only lasted 6 episodes-a shame-anyway, every intro they did a gag with a ‘special guest star’ in which the star died and was never seen again the whole show-so, Belushi (according to imdb) taped such a spot just before he died-he was seen under water with his feet encased in cement-he died before it aired and they never showed it-upon the shows release to dvd a few years ago, they searched for the tape but couldn’t find it-assume it lost or destroyed-a missing treasure-sure it’ll show up somewhere-sopmebody has it in their closet as a keepsake-anyway-peace and mad love for your site-andy knash
Here is a different perspective of the bungalow from up the stairs by the pool.
They’ve renovated the area surrounding the bungalow now, and it’s difficult to see the main part of it, but here’s a peek through the shrubs.
The opening scene of The Blues Brothers movie was filmed at Joliet Prison.
Author and friend Mark Masek took a field trip there recently, and got photographs of the gate Jake Blues was released from.
Oh yeah, Belushi’s death bed, with me on it. Ta Daaaaaaaaaa! A maid thinks Belushi still haunts the place. I think not.
Belushi’s bungalow – one of the many sights on the standard Dearly Departed Tour
You can get John Belushi’s autopsy report and Will at The Celebrity Archive!