Belushi Gets Star on Walk of Fame
By William Wan,
Los Angeles Times - 4/2/04
Capping a 10-year quest by his family, the late comedian John
Belushi was honored Thursday with a star on the Hollywood Walk
of Fame in an April Fools' Day ceremony that was part memorial,
part comedy routine.
There were enough comedians
to make an army laugh, ranging from Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase
to Belushi's brother, Jim. But along with the one-liners, the
guests also offered tearful memories of Belushi, who died of
a drug overdose in 1982.
"It's sweet and sour kind
of like kung pao chicken," Jim Belushi said.
"We come not to bury John,
but to praise him," added his widow, Judith Jacklin Belushi
Belushi's brother, widow and
manager started their campaign to memorialize the comedian on
Hollywood Boulevard in 1994. But the committee in charge of the
Walk of Fame only gives out one posthumous star a year. And for
10 years, Belushi was passed over in favor of such luminaries
as singer Patsy Cline and cinematographer Conrad L. Hall.
"I don't know if it had
to do with his death," said manager Bernie Brillstein. "But
the death can't take away his work. He died 22 years ago, and
you look around and realize he's as popular today as he was back
Belushi died from an overdose
of cocaine and heroin at age 33. His body was found in a bungalow
at the Chateau Marmont hotel in West Hollywood. His death stunned
Hollywood and became a cautionary tale for fast living in the
Walk of Fame officials said
they decided in the end that the nature of Belushi's death should
not disqualify a star of his stature from securing a spot on
"I think maybe [the committee]
had become more benevolent," said Johnny Grant, chairman
of the Walk of Fame board. "How a star lived their life
or died has nothing to do with their qualifications. What counts
is what they've given back to the industry and community."
A native of Chicago, Belushi
rose to fame on the late-night TV show "Saturday Night Live,"
playing such recurring characters as a sword-wielding samurai,
a cranky short-order cook and a giant bee. But it was his roles
in two movies - "Animal House" and "The Blues
Brothers" - that made him a bigger star. Belushi is perhaps
best known for his beer-swilling character in "Animal House."
But in real life, his friends
said Thursday, he was a sharp wit and master of physical comedy.
Chevy Chase recalled posing
with Belushi in jockey shorts just to get a chuckle from friends.
"And here [he] was, this
hairy brick in jockey shorts, just funny as hell," he said,
drawing a loud cheer from about 50 fans who attended the unveiling.
Belushi's widow remembered how
he had brought her to the very same street in 1972 on their first
trip to Los Angeles.
"This was before New York,
before everything. We only went to two places: the Farmers Market
and the Walk of Fame," she said. "He knew he wanted
to be an actor, and I guess he wanted to see all the stars that
had come before."
Belushi joined them Thursday,
becoming the 2,250th star on the famous strip.
Belushi's star is at the intersection
of Ivar Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard, wedged between silent
screen actor Charles Ray and TV personality Dave Garroway.
Standing in front of the brass
marker on Thursday, Jim Belushi ended the ceremony with a speech
that evoked tears and applause.
Even as a child, Belushi always
knew how to steal the show, his brother said.
"Whoever John was, however
he passed away, whatever he did, it doesn't really matter. He
was funny," Jim Belushi said. "He was funny and you
couldn't take your eyes off him."