Childhood & Early Life
James Adam Belushi was born on June 15, 1954 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. to an Albanian immigrant father Adam Anastos Belushi and his wife Agnes Demetri Samaras, who was the daughter of Albanian immigrants. He had three siblings: brothers John and Billy, and sister Marian.
He grew up to be a rebellious young man who often got into trouble with the law. In order to divert his attention from harmful and illegal activities, one of his teachers at Wheaton Central High School asked him to participate in school plays. Young Jim realized that he loved acting on stage and soon signed up for the school's drama club and choir.
After high school, he started attending speech and theater classes at the College of DuPage. Eventually he transferred to Southern Illinois University from where he graduated with a degree in Speech and Theater Arts.
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Following his graduation, Jim Belushi joined the Second City comedy troupe in 1977. His elder brother John had also trained with the troupe at the beginning of his own career. Jim’s stint with the troupe proved to be highly beneficial in launching his career.
His performance in one of Second City’s productions brought him to the notice of producer Gary Marshall who offered Belushi the chance to appear on television for the first time. With Marshall’s help, Belushi made his television debut in the NBC sitcom ‘Who's Watching the Kids?’ in 1978.
Over the next few years he continued to appear on stage while also taking up small roles in television projects. Eventually he ventured into the big screen as well. After making an uncredited appearance in the film ‘Fury,’ he played a significant role in Michael Mann's ‘Thief’ (1981) in which he portrayed the character of Barry.
In 1983, Jim Belushi started appearing on the television program ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Over the course of two years of association with the show, he portrayed a number of characters including Hank Rippy from ‘Hello, Trudy!’ and ‘That White Guy.’
In 1985, he played a supporting role in the comedy film ‘The Man With One Red Shoe.’ The following year he appeared in three films: ‘About Last Night...,’ ‘Salvador’ and ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’
With time his stature as an actor rose and he was offered prominent roles in several films. Over the ensuing years, he appeared in many popular films, such as ‘The Principal,’ ‘Red Heat,’ ‘Mr. Destiny,’ ‘Homer and Eddie,’ ‘Taking Care of Business,’ ‘K-9,’ and ‘Dimenticare Palermo.’
Jim Belushi is also a talented voice actor and has lent his voice to several film and television projects, such as ‘The Mighty Ducks,’ ‘Gargoyles,’ ‘Babes in Toy Land,’ ‘The Pebble and the Penguin,’ ‘Hey Arnold!’, ‘Scooby-Doo! and the Goblin King,’ ‘Hoodwinked,’ and ‘The Wild.’
In 2001, he started starring as Jim, a father of three (later five) children, in the sitcom ‘According to Jim.’ The show was a successful one and ran from 2001 to 2009. It also had Courtney Thorne-Smith, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Larry Joe Campbell, and Billi Bruno in main roles.
He started playing the role of Nick Morelli, a dedicated lawyer, in the legal comedy-drama ‘The Defenders’ in 2010. The show, which was loosely based on real-life Vegas lawyers Michael Cristalli and Marc Saggese, ran for one season.
The year 2016 was highly productive for the actor. He did four films namely, ‘Undrafted,’ ‘The Whole Truth,’ ‘The Hollow Point,’ and ‘Katie Says Goodbye.’ In the near future, he will be seen in the movie ‘Wonder Wheel’ and television film ‘Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie’ which are currently in post-production stage.
Jim Belushi co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Red Heat,’ a buddy cop action film, in 1988. The movie was a box office success and received a mixed to positive response from critics.
His best known role is his portrayal of Jim in the American sitcom ‘According to Jim’ in which he played a loveable but lazy father of three children. The show, which was an immense success, originally ran on ABC from October 3, 2001 to June 2, 2009.
Personal Life & Legacy
Jim Belushi has been married thrice. His first marriage was to Sandra Davenport in 1980. This union produced a son, Robert James. The couple divorced in 1988.
He married actress Marjorie Bransfield in 1990. The marriage last two years and they divorced in 1992.
A few years after his second divorce, Belushi tied the knot with Jennifer Sloan in 1998. The couple has two children, Jamison and Jared.
Belushi announced in 2011 that he suffered from gout. Since then he has been serving as a spokesman for Savient Pharmaceuticals' educational campaign "Check Out Your Gout".