If John Belushi were alive today, he probably would have quit Hollywood and might be directing on Broadway instead, says his old comedy partner, Dan Aykroyd.
“I don’t know today whether John, whether his spirit could take some of the abuse that you’d have to go through to be in the television, motion-picture business,” Aykroyd said in a recent interview.
“John, even though he was tough, he was sensitive. He had a sensitive side. God, I just see him kind of walking in and maybe pitching an idea to people a third his age. I just don’t know how.”
Belushi, who died of a drug overdose in 1982 at age 33, would be 61 now. He and Aykroyd were part of the original “Saturday Night Live” cast, where they developed the characters that evolved into their epic 1980 big-screen comedy “The Blues Brothers.”
They also costarred in Steven Spielberg’s 1979 World War II romp “1941” and partnered again on the 1981 black comedy “Neighbors.”
Aykroyd co-wrote “Ghostbusters” for Belushi to star in. After Belushi died, the role in that 1984 blockbuster went to “SNL” colleague Bill Murray.
Directing on Broadway would be a good fit for Belushi today, Aykroyd speculated.
“He was very intellectual, John, and he was very well versed in theater and books and literature, science,” said Aykroyd, 58. “He would be probably one of the top Broadway directors, doing really, really special work, doing Shakespeare, doing Congreve, doing Shaw.
“That’s the caliber of work he’d be doing. Although the rest of us would still be making buddy comedies, he would have definitely risen above all of that and gone on to do really important work.”
Aykroyd made his comments in a recent interview to promote “Yogi Bear,” for which he provides the voice of the title character.