Jim Belushi

Jim Belushi
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Name: Jim Belushi (James Belushi)

Real name: James Adam Belushi

Who is: ,

Birth date: (69 y.o.)

Place of birth: Chicago

Height: 5'11 ft ()

Weight: 187 lb (85 kg)

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Biography of Jim Belushi

Jim Belushi is an American film actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. Among the most famous films in which the Hollywood comedian has starred are "Red Heat", "K-9", "Curly Sue", and "Living in Peril". He is also known as a singer and the author of the autobiographical book "Real Men Don't Apologize" and a cannabis farmer.
Actor Jim Belushi
Actor Jim Belushi

Childhood, Youth, Family

James Adam Belushi was born in the summer of 1954 to parents Adam Anastos Belushi and Agnes Demetri Samaras in Chicago. His parents, Albanian immigrants, raised four children: Jim, his sister Marianne, and his brothers John and Billy.

The head of the family moved to the US at 16 in search of a better life and strived to achieve the "American dream" throughout his life: he washed dishes, was a bartender, a waiter, and worked as a cook. Eventually, he managed to buy a restaurant in Chicago, but went bankrupt.
Jim Belushi (right) with John and Marianne
Jim Belushi (right) with John and Marianne
The sons, whom he saw as successors to the family business, didn't become restaurateurs. The eldest brother conquered television and cinema, and Jim, used to admiring John from an early age, attended a theatre studio, participated in school productions. Jealous of his parents' attention towards his more vibrant brother, Jim committed several minor offenses to draw the family's attention to himself.

First Roles and Tragedy

After finishing school, Jim began studying acting at the University of Southern Illinois in Carbondale, participated in student plays, and dreamed of becoming famous.

When his brother, John, won an Emmy Award as the host of the musical show "Saturday Night Live," Jim was included in the theatre troupe The Second City and starred in the not-so-popular TV series "Who's Watching the Kids?" (1978) and got a small role in 'The Fury' by Brian De Palma.
Jim and John Belushi (1978)
Jim and John Belushi (1978)
Belushi got his first leading role in the crime drama "Thief" (1981), where he co-starred with James Caan. He hoped to gradually reach his brother's level, who shone in films like "1941" and "The Blues Brothers," but one evening everything collapsed. At first, Belushi thought it was a bad joke. He called the radio station and started yelling at the host: "What are you saying about my brother??" When Jim finally convinced the host that he was indeed John's brother, the host said, "I'm sorry, Jim, it just came over the Associated Press wire."
James Belushi in the movie 'Thief'
James Belushi in the movie 'Thief'
The death of his brother was a very heavy ordeal for him, especially after John's manager, Bernie Brillstein, reported that he had died of a drug overdose. Jim and his brother Billy sat on the floor and cried in sorrow: upon hearing this news, it was as if John had died for them again.

The blows kept coming for the family - Bob Woodward's book "Wired" was released, in which the author, who had promised to explore John Belushi's life and talent, defamed him. Then came articles in the tabloid press, and Jim's older brother died over and over again for him.
For many years I couldn't get over it. Being an actor and John Belushi's brother was both a curse and a blessing. Our relationship opened doors that other actors couldn't approach. However, I had to not just walk through the door, but burst through it: they expected nothing less from me. At every interview and every job I had after John's death, the fame of our shared surname weighed heavily on my shoulders. Critics never forgave me for not being as good as John. But who could be on par with him? He was a superstar. He was a legend.
The legacy of his brother became a cross for Jim to bear for many years and almost cost him his career. Belushi abused alcohol, lost his temper with people, and fell into depressions. He was invited to replace his brother on the show "Saturday Night Live," which John had hosted for four years. Initially, everything was going well, but after 33 episodes they declined his participation: due to his drinking, Jim could easily disrupt the shift, simply by not showing up on set.
Young Jim Belushi
Young Jim Belushi
Only after his mother's death did the actor come to his senses and thought about his reputation: he started seeing a psychotherapist, stopped drinking, and started receiving invitations from directors and producers again.

Career Peak

The serious breakthrough for Belushi was his role as Doctor Rock in Oliver Stone's military drama "Salvador" (1986). His filming partner was James Woods, who played his friend, journalist Richard Boyle. The film was nominated for the "Oscar" in two categories.
Jim Belushi in the film Salvador
Jim Belushi in the film Salvador
Following this, the actor began to receive other leading roles – in the action movie "The Principal" (1987) he played teacher Rick Latimer who receives a promotion, and in the comedy "Real Men" he appeared as Nick Pirandello, a tough CIA agent, training a meek insurance agent (John Ritter).
Jim Belushi in the film The Principal
Jim Belushi in the film The Principal
With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Belushi formed an impressive duo in the crime film "Red Heat", and with Whoopi Goldberg – a brilliant duet in Andrei Konchalovsky's social drama "Homer and Eddie".
Jim Belushi in the film Red Heat
Jim Belushi in the film Red Heat
However, Belushi's best partner, at least in the films of this period, was a shepherd dog with which he starred in the comedy action movie "K-9". After filming, the actor, who became attached to the dog Rando, who played Jerry Lee, got two German shepherds – Mac and King, who later appeared with him in the sequels "K-911" and "K-9: P.I.". The sequels were not as popular as the first film, but they were still warmly received by viewers.
K-9 (1989) - Dooley meets Jerry Lee
The nineties brought such significant projects for Belushi as "Curly Sue" (homeless con artist Bill Dancer), "Royce" (CIA agent Shane), "Sahara" (Sergeant Joe Gunn), "Gang Related" (Detective Frank Divinci) and many other films, which viewers still love today.
Jim Belushi in the film Curly Sue
Jim Belushi in the film Curly Sue
The beginning of the two thousands was marked by the leading role of a charming and resourceful family man in the sitcom "According to Jim". Recalling how realistic the situations created on the shooting site were, Belushi said:
In one of the episodes, a new couple appeared living next door. And according to the plot, the wife wanted to make friends as families, to go to lunch together, not so that everyone had only his own friends. Jim didn't like them for some reason, and a conflict arose. But the wife insisted: 'I really want them to be our friends.' 'Okay,' Jim said, 'I'll go apologize.' In my family, there was a similar situation. At Christmas, my wife wanted to walk around the neighborhood with our neighbors, but I didn't like some of them. In the end, she left and had a great time without me. And I was left all alone on Christmas Eve. That's how the series intersected with my life.
In parallel with filming in movies and on TV, Belushi successfully voiced famous cartoon characters. He is credited with – Warthog from "Timon and Pumbaa", Jake from the animated series "Blues Brothers", hunter Nestor from the animated series "Hercules".

Also interesting characters were forester Kirk from "Hoodwinked" (Belushi also performed the song The Schnitzel Song, which was included in the soundtrack), Cowardly Lion in "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return", coach Wittenberg from the animated series "Hey, Arnold! The Jungle Movie".
Jim Belushi voiced the Cowardly Lion in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Jim Belushi voiced the Cowardly Lion in Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
In his free time from filming, the actor took part in performances of the "Blues Brothers" band, wrote an autobiographical book, became the creator of the dramedy TV series "The Defenders," where he also played the main role.
Jim Belushi in the TV series The Defenders
Jim Belushi in the TV series The Defenders
Two incredibly interesting film projects featuring Belushi were released in 2017. He worked with Woody Allen in the drama "Wonder Wheel" and David Lynch in the mystical series "Twin Peaks" (in season 3, which was released in 2017). Noting the peculiarities of each of the directors, Jim spoke about Allen:
He's a virtuoso. He's 82 years old. And Lynch, when I was filming with him, was, I think, about 80... During rehearsals, he only gives those fragments of the script where your character is. But after approval for the role, you get the full version. But Lynch in the series 'Twin Peaks' only gave us those scenes where we are. Sometimes I didn't even know what they would be filming the next day. The shooting took place in an atmosphere of strict secrecy. So it was very interesting for me to watch the series: for me, it remained a mystery, because in advance I knew nothing but my scenes! Very intriguing!
In 2022, Belushi played Dan Gibson in the touching drama about a paralyzed guy and his pet monkey "Gigi & Nate", where Michelle Prada, Marcia Gay Harden, Charlie Rowe also starred.
Jim Belushi in the film Gigi & Nate
Jim Belushi in the film Gigi & Nate

Personal Life of Jim Belushi

The actor has been married three times. He met Sandra Davenport, who later became his first wife, at a cooking course he attended to impress girls.

In 1980, the couple got married, and in the same year, their first child Robert James was born.
James Belushi and his son Robert
James Belushi and his son Robert
The depression that overcame the actor after his brother's death also affected his family life. At first, Sandra tried to help her husband return to a normal life, but in the end, she couldn't take it anymore, and they divorced in 1988.

Two years later, Jim married actress Marjorie Bransfield, but this marriage didn't last even two years. In 1992, they divorced and they didn't have any children.
Jim Belushi and Marjorie Bransfield
Jim Belushi and Marjorie Bransfield
The longest relationship Belushi had was with Jennifer Sloan, whom he married in 1998. A year later, their daughter Jamison Bess was born, and in 2002, their second son Jared James came into the world.
Jim Belushi and Jennifer Sloan with their children
Jim Belushi and Jennifer Sloan with their children
The family lived in Los Angeles for twenty years until 2018 when Belushi's fans were shocked by the news: Jennifer filed for divorce. She cited irreconcilable differences as the reason, although Belushi didn't comment on her decision and seemed quite confused.

Having mostly retired from acting, the actor has taken up an unusual hobby: since 2013, he has been growing marijuana on a farm and selling its products under the brand Belushi's Farm.
Jim Belushi, cannabis farmer

Jim Belushi Now

In 2024, the sci-fi action film "Fight Another Day" starring Jim Belushi will be released. The filming took place in Canada. The movie directed by James Mark also features Martin Kove, Christina Ochoa, and Eric Johnson.
Jim Belushi in 2023
Jim Belushi in 2023
In addition to filming, the actor continues to participate in the Chicago project Board of Comedy, which he created together with Larry Joe Campbell and two other actors. The four of them tour the country, performing improvisations in various art centers, at corporate events, and in casinos. Jim also plays blues and jazz with his music band The Sacred Heart’s Band.
Jim Belushi & the Sacred Hearts Band - Sweet Home Chicago

Interesting Facts

  • In his autobiography "Real Men Don't Apologize", Jim Belushi admitted that even after his brother's death, his influence loomed over him for many years. Jim often lost control under this burden:
    I would get angry for no reason. If the fries seemed not hot enough, I could yell at the waitress. If someone cut me off on the highway, I wouldn't calm down until I had returned the favor. I drank too much and once on the SNL show, I hit producer Dick Ebersol with a fire extinguisher. I even threatened Larry David with a knife backstage at SNL. It was a joke, but I don't think he knew that. But worst of all, I cut ties with my family and let all my close people walk away from me.

  • Once in his youth, Jim went out at night to look for John in all the wrong places because the family was worried: the older brother was supposed to go to an important meeting in the morning. Belushi found John in some apartment, but he flatly refused to go home. Somehow, he managed to lure him out onto the street, where the brother decided to prank Jimmy and proposed a fistfight. Supposedly, if he won, the younger brother would go with him to the party, but if Jim won, they would go home. Belushi turned around and hit his brother right in the teeth. Later he admitted: "I had been waiting for this moment ever since he gave me a black eye in eighth grade when I stole coins from his collection. Looking at the bruise in the mirror, I vowed to get him back someday. And the day came!”. To his surprise, John didn't even retaliate and went home.

  • Belushi can play various instruments, but his heart belongs to the harmonica. He started learning to play it after hearing the instrument at a concert by the famous blues musician John Mayall.

  • Another passion of Jim is cigars. Arnold Schwarzenegger got him hooked on them during the filming of "Red Heat". Belushi was so inspired that he and Chuck Norris started a tobacco business and began producing cigars under the brand "Lone Wolf".
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