This week marks the 35th anniversary of the death of comedy genius, John Belushi. The gross-out characters he created in Animal House and Blues Brothers were iconic, and his sketches on Saturday Night Live were legendary.
After a meteoric rise to stardom, the 33-year-old was on the cusp of super stardom. But on March 5, 1982, he died in Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont Hotel.
Now, Star has learned that in a new special airing on REELZ this weekend, Dr. Michael Hunter uses information revealed in Belushi’s autopsy report to determine the REAL cause of his death.
“When I look at the report, I see that there was white residue discovered, a very small amount, but they were able to identify that positively for cocaine,” Hunter said.
Friends and costars say Belushi was a notorious partier, who loved the spotlight, was always looking for some action, and never wanted to slow down.
“He had all this energy and didn’t know what to do with it and drugs played a part in, I think, keeping him diverted,” said Eugenie Ross-Leming of the famed Chicago Second City comedy troupe.
Journalist Mike Walker said Belushi was constantly looking over his shoulder, and working to perfect his comedy.
“Dan Aykroyd would tell him over and over again, ‘stop pushing, everything can’t work right away. You’ve had a lot of success, roll with it,’” Walker said. “But John Did not care. He was going to fight to the death.”
The stress and struggle to stay ahead of the pack may have simply been too much for him, according to psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos.
“When we reach adulthood, most of us have established our ways of coping with stress,” she said. “I think in John Belushi’s case it was about going to a substance, going to drugs.”
The overweight actor also had an eating disorder, and his obesity caused stress on his heart. That, coupled with his drug addiction, could certainly point the way to solving his death.
“When it comes to drugs of abuse, certainly cocaine would be near the top of the most unpredictable, dangerous drugs that are out there,” Hunter said. “The fact that there’s cocaine on scene changes how I look at this and throws a whole new light on the investigation.”
Watch the sneak peek right here on Star!
Tune into Autopsy: The Last Hours of John Belushi on Saturday, March 4, at 8 p.m. ET/PT for more.