WINCHESTER — Jim Belushi’s career has been a kaleidoscope.
He has been an ensemble performer with the Second City comedy troupe and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” a leading man in movies including “The Principal” and “K-9,” star of the long-running ABC TV show “According to Jim,” a dramatic character actor with roles ranging from Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” to the HBO miniseries “Show Me a Hero,” and a musician with the renowned Blues Brothers.
Belushi, who was in Winchester on Saturday to serve as Grand Marshal of the 90th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, can’t single out a favorite part of his multifaceted, four-decade
“She said, ‘You love Jared more than you love me.’ And my wife said, ‘That’s impossible. I love you both like I love my two arms. I can’t love one arm more than the other arm,’ My daughter looked at her and said, ‘You love your left arm more because that’s where all your jewelry is.’
“So all the different forms of acting that I’ve done, I love them all like my hands and my fingers,” Belushi said.
Belushi entered the national spotlight as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” from 1983 to 1985.
His brother, John Belushi, was one of SNL’s original Not Ready for Prime Time Players and appeared in the show’s very first sketch when it premiered in 1975. John Belushi went on to star in the movies “Animal House” and, with fellow SNL cast member Dan Aykroyd, “The Blues Brothers,” “1941” and “Neighbors.”
John Belushi’s star flamed out on March 5, 1982, when he died of a drug overdose at age 33.
During younger brother Jim Belushi’s two seasons on SNL, he was perhaps best known for his comedic raps, one of which he dusted off while meeting with the media prior to Saturday’s Grand Feature Parade.
“Hello everybody, how do you do/ My name’s Jim B., I’m gonna rap for you/ Tonight’s the night to feel all right/ Lord knows the best part is, it’s Saturday night/ So chill out, cool it, say it again/ Chill out, cool it, now let’s begin”
“I remember that,” he said. “I did a White Guy rap, I did a rapping Jimmy B., I did a Russian rap. I did a rap [on SNL’s Weekend Update] with Jesse Jackson, and I had to hit him on the leg under the table for the beat. He has his own rhythm.”
Belushi’s musical talents led him to succeed his brother John Belushi (aka Jake Blues) in the Blues Brothers band, where he performs with Aykroyd’s character, Elwood Blues.
When Aykroyd extended the invitation, “I told him I thought it was a little weird to do it,” Belushi said. “He said, ‘Absolutely not. It’s like a law firm — when one of the partners goes down, a brother comes and takes over. We’ve got to carry on the spirit and the legacy of The Blues Brothers and my brother, Jake.’”
Continuing a deadpan impersonation of Aykroyd, Belushi said, “‘Your name is Brother Zaraschida Blues. You are the lost Albanian prince that I go and I search for because I know Jake had another brother. I rescue you from the dark pits of Albania and I bring you up and “yes, yes, you have the blues.”’
“So I’ve been doing that with Danny for, I don’t know, 20 years,” Belushi said.
Aykroyd and his wife, Donna Dixon, told him to do whatever was necessary to come to Winchester. The couple was Grand Marshal of the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in 1999 and 2002, and Dixon’s brother and sister live in the Winchester area.
“The drive in is gorgeous,” Belushi said.
Belushi didn’t spill any secrets about the new 18-episode “Twin Peaks” TV series, nor could he even if he wanted to.
“I have no idea what ‘Twin Peaks’ is about,” Belushi said. “When I met on it, I had no idea what character I was auditioning for, they didn’t tell us what it was about — I didn’t even know I was meeting on ‘Twin Peaks.’ I went in and talked for 15 minutes with this woman on camera, and then all of a sudden I get this call that I got a part on ‘Twin Peaks.’
“They would not email the script. All the pages were hand-delivered, and they only hand-delivered the pages that my character was in,” Belushi said. “When we shot it, the night before is when they told us where the location was. That’s how top secret [director] David Lynch is.”
Originally intended as an eight-hour miniseries, with Belushi in five of the episodes, “Twin Peaks” has since ballooned into an 18-episode event series that premieres May 21 on Showtime premium channel.
Belushi joked that he’s eager to see the new series because “I’d like to know what I’m doing in it!”
As Belushi closed out Saturday’s press conference at the First Presbyterian Church’s Donegal House on Loudoun Street before riding in the Grand Feature Parade, he closed his eyes and went silent before offering a final comment.
“There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes like this: When you drink the water, remember the men or women who dug the well,” he said. “In my career, I have been drinking the greatest of spring water from a well that my brother, John, dug. And I am grateful.”
By BRIAN BREHM | The Winchester Star
— Contact Brian Brehm at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo By Scott Mason/ The Winchester Star