Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was born in Chicago, Illinois but grew up in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the third of four children of Adam Belushi, an Albanian immigrant who left his native Qytezë village in 1934 at the age of 15, and Agnes, was born in the U.S. of Albanian immigrants. James' elder brother was John who was also a famous actor. James attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale and earned a degree in Speech and Theater Arts.
From 1977 to 1980 he followed John and worked with the Chicago theater group The Second City. During this period he also made his television debut in the 1978 flop Who's Watching the Kids and also had a microscopic part in Brian De Palma's The Fury.
His first larger role was in Michael Mann's Thief (1981). From 1983 to 1985 he wrote and appeared on Saturday Night Live. He rose to greater prominence with his supporting roles in About Last Night and Salvador (both 1986) which gave him the opportunity for lead roles. He has starred in films including Real Men (1987), Red Heat (1988), K-9 (1989), Taking Care of Business (1990), Mr. Destiny (1990), Royce (1994), Retroactive (1997). James has also done extensive voice work for animated features including Geppetto in the 2002 movie version of Pinocchio.
On November 2, 2004 Belushi filed a lawsuit against actress and neighbor Julie Newmar. Belushi claims that Newmar has intentionally been trying to cause him distress and drive him from his home by doing things such as destroying his property, blaring loud music directed at his home and bad-mouthing him to neighbors.
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