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Singin' the Blues

Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi carry a musical torch across America as the Blues Brothers.
Gordon Mott
From the Print Edition:
The Blues Brothers, Jan/Feb 2008

(continued from page 8)

But he's also preparing for the inevitable end of "According to Jim," which, in his own words, has forever eliminated any of his financial worries. With some 150 shows already under its belt, and at least a few shows completed for the start of the winter season despite the writers' strike, "According to Jim" has already been sold into syndication around the world.

The other thing the TV show has done for Belushi is to give him genuine celebrity status, despite a long and successful movie career, with hits like K-9, Mr. Destiny, Curly Sue and The Principal. In each movie, he played a sympathetic male character, who often struggles against the system, a role not unlike his real-world persona.

"My brother John had it right," Belushi says. "He told me a long time ago, 'You know why they pay you a lot money for TV? So you can build a fortress not to let people in…so you can protect yourself.'" Watching Belushi move through public places, he's seemingly unguarded, and greets every well-wisher or autograph seeker with a smile and a "how ya doin'?"

"It was different for John, because of Animal House," Belushi says. "People would approach him real physical. They'd want to grab him and put beer cans on his head. But I'm just a nice Midwestern guy with a family and kids on TV. So when people approach me, it's in a nice way."

His public's affection for him also gives him some space to be with his family, his wife, Jenny, and two young children, son Jared and daughter Jaimie, without always having to worry about the paparazzi that lurk around his neighborhood in Los Angeles. He also has an older son, Robert, from his first marriage, with whom he remains close.

Belushi's current passion isn't only TV or his music. He's got a script in production that he is very excited about, called The Catch. "We sold this movie with two and a half sentences," Belushi says. "I'll be acting, directing and producing it." The story is about a middle-aged man who as a teenager promised his father that he would play football at Cal State—Fullerton, but never did for a variety of personal reasons. So he wakes up one day in his 40s and decides to go back to college and play football. The title, of course, reveals everything, but it's a feel-good story about a guy making good on a promise to his dad.

On top of that, Belushi says he has a couple of ideas for TV pilots and other movies, as well as a few scripts he's been working on, but he wouldn't be more specific.

Of course, there's always the subject of cigars, which for Belushi is a love/hate relationship. "Oh, I've quit again. Two weeks ago," says Belushi, who was once an investor in a cigar brand called Lone Wolf, with the actor Chuck Norris. He acknowledges his problem is that he is enamored with cigars, and when he is smoking, he ends up smoking all day long.

"I love cigars. I always have. They're soothing, you know. They're about camaraderie. They're about relaxing, success, joy. You know, all the great things," Belushi says. "I've always liked the Fuentes. But I also had a Padrón the other day. It was so good." He also fondly remembers all his friends in the cigar business: "What a great group of men. Honest family men. I loved them all."

That's not the sentiment of a man who will stay away from cigars forever.

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