It took versatile actor James Belushi several years to slowly come into his own, which wasn't an easy task following in the fiery footsteps of his flamboyant, self-destructive brother, the late comic John Belushi. Despite that obstacle, the easy-going actor with the crooked smile still managed to forge a respectable career playing co-leads in a variety of film genres, including comedy, action, and drama in roles ranging from a sleazeball thief to a cop to a party animal in a gorilla suit. Prior to his first television appearances, the Chicago-born actor earned a degree in Speech and Theater, and worked on-stage in The Pirates of Penzance and True West. Like John, James joined the notorious Second City improvisational comedy group. He also began making regular guest appearances on Saturday Night Live, where his brother became famous in the mid-'70s. Making his feature film debut playing James Caan's calm partner in 1981's Thief, James Belushi began acting under John Landis (who also directed his brother) in Trading Places (1983). He continued playing supporting roles and occasional leads -- most notably in Oliver Stone's Salvador with James Woods in 1986 -- but his big break came when he played a bad cop in 1988's Red Heat with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was equally popular in K-9 the following year. Although his subsequent films were not as successful, Belushi continued to grow as a dramatic actor. In 2001, Belushi began headlining the successful ABC sitcom According to Jim.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- Served as the first student trustee for the College of DuPage, in 1974.
- Was a member of Chicago's Second City from 1976 to '80.
- Along with Chuck Norris, started the Lone Wolf Cigar Company in 1996.
- Is an investor in Dan Aykroyd's House of Blues franchise.
- Plays in a band called Jim Belushi and the Sacred Hearts.
- Biggest breakthrough came in 2001 when he was cast as the patriarch in the ABC sitcom According to Jim. The family-friendly show ran for eight seasons, ending in 2009.
- Published Real Men Don't Apologize, a lighthearted take on relationships between men and women, in 2006.