John Belushi: 1949-1982

John Belushi died 40 years ago today.

During Saturday Night LIve’s ’s first season, he came to Montclair State College for a solo show. I was working in my first journalism job at The Montclair Times, and I jumped at the chance to cover something other than a school board meeting.

I was able to interview Belushi backstage before the curtain went up. He was polite, but he was intent on preparing for his performance. As I recall, he was practicing his samurai routine.

After the show, he rolled into the campus bar, and it was evident the party was well underway. That was John Belushi’s life in a nutshell – a gifted and talented entertainer who dealt with demons until they got the best of him.

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