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Sad Milestone: 30th Anniversary Of John Belushi’s Death

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Judy Belushi Pisano attends the ceremony posthumously honoring her late husband, actor/comedian John Belushi, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 1, 2004 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Judy Belushi Pisano attends the ceremony posthumously honoring her late husband, actor/comedian John Belushi, with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 1, 2004 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – For Chicagoans of a certain age, Monday marked one of those days they remember where they were when they heard the sad news.

It was 30 years ago that comedian and film actor John Belushi, 33, died of a drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. Belushi’s death on March 5, 1982 cut short a career that had burned quickly and brightly with the actor’s sketch work on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and in the still-classic films “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers.”

For Chicagoans especially, Belushi was a point of pride. He grew up the western suburb of Wheaton and got his improvisational start at the legendary Second City. The atmospheric “Blues Brothers” was filmed here – who can forget the chaotic climax at Daley Plaza? — and Belushi’s character was nicknamed “Joliet” Jake.

Many of the locations in the 1980 film have been bulldozed, including, most recently, the Dixie Square Mall in south suburban Harvey that served as the scene of a memorable car chase.

“What John leaves behind is his legacy of laughter,” Belushi’s friend and Blues Brother collaborator, Dan Aykroyd, tells “Showbiz Tonight” in a video interview posted on HLN.

Unfortunately, for many, the way Belushi died – holed up in a bungalow, ingesting drugs — casts a shadow on his legacy.

Belushi’s younger brother, Jim, has found success as a television actor, and the Blues Brothers live on in various tributes.

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