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Laughs, Tears, Pain: A Tribe To John Belushi

Aired April 9, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, exclusive. The laughs, the tears, the pain and the drugs. The real inside story of John Belushi, the comedy giant 22 years after his tragic death. Tonight, intimate of the real John Belushi with the two people who knew and loved him. His widow Judy Belushi who first met John when they were in high school and his comedy partner and close friend, Dan Aykroyd.

JOHN BELUSHI, COMEDIAN, ACTOR: They're not going to judge us. We're on a mission from God.

KING: Together, exclusive, to remember John Belushi, 22 years after his death.

BELUSHI: Who's with me? Let's go. Come on.



KING: A real treat for you tonight on LARRY KING LIVE. Last week on Hollywood Boulevard here on Los Angeles, on April 1 in fact, the star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame finally went to John Belushi, 22 years after his tragic death.

Two people heavily involved in his life were there and are with us tonight. Judy Belushi Pisano is John Belushi's widow, and of course Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi's close friend and comedy partner.

What was it like at the Hall of Fame, Judy?

JUDY PISANO, JOHN BELUSHI'S WIDOW: It was great. It was a joyful day. The people came from all over the country. My college roommate came, my cousins, my siblings, John's family and all of his siblings. Nephews. Several nephews.

KING: You had a mob.

PISANO: Yes. Then we had Dan.

KING: On thing puzzling, Dan, on that point (ph). I got one seven years ago. John Belushi should have got one way before me. What the hell took so long?

DAN AYKROYD, JOHN BELUSHI'S FRIEND: Well, you know, there's a process and a committee, and names. And you can imagine the number of people who want to be recognized in this way. And I guess it just came around at the right time here on April 1, April Fool's Day, which I thought was very, very appropriate.

KING: Better late than never.


JIM BELUSHI, JOHN BELUSHI'S BROTHER: The innovation of "Saturday Night Live" to "Animal House" which changed the face of comedy in film to "The Blues Brothers." This water is sprung for all of us and you know what that water tastes like? Laughter.


PISANO: And they say they don't give many posthumous awards.

KING: Is that right?


PISANO: Yes, I think.

AYKROYD: And you know there's an obligation, Larry, for his friends and family to keep it polished. So I made sure that people (UNINTELLIGIBLE) next time they make it down to the star.

KING: This for both of you -- we'll start with Dan on this one. Why does his work hold up so well? It could be done today.

AYKROYD: You know, I was impressed today with just that he only did a few movies, 88 TV shows and three records, and yet the impact and influence that his comedy had was huge.

I think it's just -- he had one of those charismatic characters. Everybody could identify with him. He looked like a lot of guys in America. You know, he was an every man back then. He was also very smart. And also an actor. Theatrically educated. I think all the talents came together and he was just one of those characters that walked into a room and high wattage from day one.


BELUSHI: Dan Aykroyd and I are doing "The Blues Brothers" on Atlantic Records. We -- it's just straight blues, rhythm and blues. We're going to do a live album.


KING: Was he an actor who could do comedy or was he funny, Judy?

PISANO: Both. He was funny.

KING: Some guys are actors who can do comedy but are not funny.

PISANO: He was funny. We laughed a lot, didn't we? His friends did (ph). (CROSSTALK)

AYKROYD: That beautiful -- scenes from "Waterfront." His references were amazing, Larry.

You know, he was very much into theater and classic American theater. And he counted among his friends people like Judge Jim Garrison (ph) and Lauren Bacall. He had a plane ride with and he just fell in love with her. PISANO: He also had this vulnerability, as Dan said, as well as the physical comedy. I think that's a broad range of show talent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say, don't I know you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you worked on my back.


KING: We'll be seeing lots of clips added tonight. This show is taped, by the way, on April 1. It's airing tonight.

What -- how'd you meet him, Judy?

PISANO: We met in high school. I had seen him...

KING: Where?

PISANO: At Wheaton, Illinois, outside Chicago. He was a junior and I was a sophomore. No, he was going into his senior year. I was a sophomore.

And actually, we had a conversation once that I didn't recall, before we actually met. He was a hall monitor. I was going through the hall. He said, "May I see your pass?"

I said, "Sure."

KING: Asked you for your pass?

PISANO: Yes. Right. So, but we did talk eventually, and we -- we were in a boat, having a water fight. And he took a back swing, and he hit me...

KING: You married young?

PISANO: No. We lived together for years before we got married. We've got to make sure.

KING: Did you start living together young?

PISANO: Yes. I was 20 -- 20.

KING: Did you meet on "Saturday Night Live," Dan?

AYKROYD: We met prior to that when we were both at Second City.

KING: In Chicago?

AYKROYD: Yes. I met him briefly in Chicago in '74 when the Canadian company took over, the year that Nixon resigned, and I was doing, " "You can buy a beautiful Chrysler from San Clamiti (ph) Dodge-Chrysler right from me, right now. I've got a lot to do and I'm selling some great cars." And we were doing that on stage at Second City. John dropped in, and then I met him at Second City in Toronto, and he came to my club, the 505, this little speakeasy I had in Toronto at the time for the streetcar drivers and waiters and waitresses and actors and actresses. And we came up with the "Blues Brothers" the first night that we met.

KING: Really? Did you hit it off right away?

AYKROYD: We fell in love the moment we made eye contact.

KING: So it was chemistry.

AYKROYD: It was just, oh, boy, this is like an alpha male, leading, commanding kind of smart -- one of those great charismatic characters. And we saw the worth in each other right away for a really enduring friendship. I only had eight years with him, but full of fun and laughter.

KING: That pin you're wearing by the way, you ought to tell us what it is, since it's obvious on the lapel.

AYKROYD: Oh, well, thank you. We have a lot of fans in Canada for you, Larry, and this is the Order of Canada. I guess in England it would be like a CBE, kind of something -- a recognition from -- you know, through Queen Elizabeth and the governor general and my nation. And it's for wanting to make a better country, and I do want to make a better country for my home nation, and also interrelated with America. We love Americans, and not enough Americans come to Canada, and I want to see more of them there this summer.

PISANO: I'll come to your house.

AYKROYD: You can.

KING: You still live there, right?

AYKROYD: Yes. I live on the old ancestral farm, between there and New York and on the road. But summers in Canada, and sometimes a bit of the winter, too, for the snowmobiling.

KING: And Judy, you have since remarried ...

PISANO: Yes, I have.

KING: Been married 13 years, live on Martha's Vineyard.

PISANO: Yes, have a son and .. KING: Any children in that marriage?

PISANO: I have a son, and I also have three beautiful stepdaughters.

KING: Any children in the Belushi marriage?

PISANO: No, we did not.

KING: Where were you when he died? How did you hear of it?

PISANO: I was home in New York City, and I was fortunate that Danny came over and told me.

KING: Dan told you?


KING: How did you find out?

PISANO: He ran down there, I think.

AYKROYD: Well, I was typing his line in ""Ghostbusters," actually, because I was writing it for Eddie Murphy, me and John.

KING: Because he was supposed to be in it.


AYKROYD: Yes. And I got the call from Bernie (ph).

KING: And eventually ...

AYKROYD: Eventually, it evolved the way it did. But we got the call from Bernie (ph), and this was at 20th and 5th, and Judy lived down on Morton Street in the Village, and so I immediately got up and began to really motor. It was a beautiful March day. It was blue sky and sun, and everything and I remember on the way down there, and as I just got close to the Village, it was already on the newsstand right there, Belushi Dead at 33.

KING: But you didn't know yet?

PISANO: No, I was not feeling well. I actually had been ...

AYKROYD: I walked into Morton Street, to 64 Morton Street.

PISANO: We had it that you could walk right in.

AYKROYD: And I rocked (ph) down, and nothing is subtle (ph). It was like Richard Pryor being on fire, that type of walk. And I walked up the steps ...

KING: How do you tell someone that?

AYKROYD: I said Judy, he's gone. And of course that was a moment where a whole phase of everything ends. And, I mean, I don't know.

KING: With all the problems he had, Judy, was it a total shock?

PISANO: Yes...

KING: I mean, because you knew he had drug problems.

PISANO: Well, total, I guess not, because I had worried that he could hurt himself. You don't like to think the worst, but at the same time, it was a total -- it was a shock, let's say. He just thought he was ...

AYKROYD: Addiction's a really strange thing. Number one, you can have it for cigarettes, you can have it for...

KING: Sure. What was it ...

AYKROYD: It was cocaine. He liked the blow. We flushed a lot of it down the toilet. Judy and I were like DEA agents ...

PISANO: We threw away more than most people have ever seen.

AYKROYD: That's right. And at the end of -- the last summer, though, of his life, I had him on tomato soup and walks on the beach, and it was wonderful. We cut that out of his life. Once he got back to the city, there were some people from Jersey that he went off to see. That was the last time that I remember seeing him. And, of course, they didn't want to hurt him. They wanted to please him, and so this was their way of doing it, their only way of doing it.

KING: Celebrities have that advantage.

AYKROYD: Right ...

PISANO: Or disadvantage.

KING: Because you want to please the celebrity. Or disadvantage.

AYKROYD: Nothing could stop (ph) from his talent, though, as you know.

KING: We'll be right back with Judy Belushi, Dan AYKROYD, on the life and times of the great John Belushi. Don't go away.


AYKROYD: He was a leader, he was a great artist and he was a smart businessman. He was my partner and my best friend and our days together were filled with fun and laughter and all the challenges of a close relationship.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When do they stop serving breakfast?

BELUSHI: No, no breakfast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No breakfast? I just want a couple of eggs.

BELUSHI: No breakfast. Cheeseburger, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want a cheeseburger.

BELUSHI: Come on, come on, come on, don't give me that. Come on, let's go. Let's go. You want a cheeseburger? Everybody get cheeseburger. You want cheeseburger?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want a cheeseburger. It's too early for a cheeseburger.

BELUSHI: Too early for cheeseburger? Look, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger...



KING: John Belushi's star on the Walk of Fame finally is there. It came last week. We taped this last week for broadcast tonight. Our guests are Judy Belusi Pisano, his widow, and Dan Aykroyd, of course, the famous Dan Aykroyd, his close friend and comedy partner.

The cause of death was acute cocaine and heroin intoxication. Did you know he did that, too?

PISANO: No, he didn't usually. I mean, he didn't dabble in it ...

AYKROYD: That was a one off. That was one off.

PISANO: It was that particular time someone had some, and he -- it's probably why he died, the combination.

KING: Did he try hard to stop, Dan?

AYKROYD: He did, many times, many times.

PISANO: Well, the last year of his life, until the last two months, he had been very straight.

AYKROYD: There were some pressures on him, the "Joy of Sex" movie, he didn't want to be in a diaper, and yet he'd had the full backing of Paramount and Michael Eisner, and Penny Marshall, who directed him. You know what, maybe he'd made the movie and trusted -- I don't know. But there was that...

KING: He wasn't going to do it?

AYKROYD: He didn't want to. He thought he didn't want to do that. That was a big pressure on him. And, of course, at that time in Hollywood, there was a lot of powders and pills around anyway. And I must honestly say, I don't think the woman wanted to kill him any more than Judy or I did, but, you know, she did.

KING: She went to jail.

AYKROYD: She went to jail for manslaughter, and she did lethally inject him, and misjudged the dose.

KING: Did you know her?


AYKROYD: She was Gordon Lightfoot's (ph) consort for a while, the great, Canadian writer...

KING: So that was not a romantic intoxication (ph)?

AYKROYD: No, no, no.

PISANO: She popped up in his life in the last month.

AYKROYD: She was kind of working the strip there for a while, but...

KING: Were you ever tempted, Dan?

AYKROYD: Well, you know, in my college years, of course, we did everything. I mean, we tried it all. But that wasn't my thing. I didn't like the powders or pills. I'd like a nice red wine or Canadian cold beer...

KING: Were you ever tempted?

PISANO: Again, we tried things. It was different. Some people get addicted, and some don't.

KING: Did you see signs early? Did you see any in high school?

PISANO: No. Actually, he was a straight arrow. He didn't drink.

KING: Never was drinking?


PISANO: Not in high school.

KING: Did it affect his work, Dan?

AYKROYD: Not really.

KING: Did he ever come to work on a high?

AYKROYD: There was one show. I believe it was the show where he had -- we did a thing at Rhode Island School of Design or something, and we did a concert there, and he fell off the stage doing the samurai, and he hurt his knee. So he was on painkillers one day, and when we did the show -- was it with Karen Black or somebody? He was playing a Russian emperor...

PISANO: The painkiller thing.

AYKROYD: That was rough, because he was working and he was crippled. And so he was hurting ...

PISANO: It was a legitimate fall. He was working.

AYKROYD: But, you know, none of us ever worked high on camera there, never. Maybe writing, you'd light something up when you writing in that back then, but on the camera, you couldn't do that. It's too precise -- the work's too precise.

KING: I had the honor of being in "Ghostbusters."


KING: You put the scene there with the vat of cigarettes. The vat of cigarettes was the first thing shot that day in New York...

AYKROYD: Ah, thank you.

KING: But you had to change that. Did you have to change it much to suit?

AYKROYD: Sure, well, you know -- once John was gone, everything stopped, of course. My whole life stopped. Here I am, I'm 29, he's 33. We've got hit records, going on to a hit movie. Our life is amazing. We're planning an empire to build, and then my partner's gone. So I just -- everything stopped for me, and it took a while to kind of re-crank a bit. And it was really Harold Ramis (ph) and Ivan Reitman (ph) and I that sort of said, Murray's the man. And then we were able to build ...

KING: Did it change much to suit Murray?

AYKROYD: Well, yes, of course. It was really a Belushi-tailored character. Very physical, very ...

KING: So Murray changed it.

AYKROYD: Oh, yes. Once you have that kind of different dynamic in a talent, you're going to write for that particular skill or that type of energy. So you can't really compare the old ...

KING: Was it hard for you to see it?

PISANO: It was a little sad for me, yes, knowing -- there was also "Spies Like Us," he was supposed to be in with Dan. So, I mean, you know, like Danny just said for himself, for me, everything just changed. And also -- and Danny was and still is a wonderful part of my life, but he was in it a lot more before as Dan's partner.

KING: You two are very close, though.

PISANO: I think Danny is one of the best men that I know.

AYKROYD: Ah, well, you know ...

PISANO: Well, you are.

AYKROYD: You know, Judy was instrumental in the whole tone and feel of the "Blues Brothers," the book she wrote, her art covers, her picking the songs with us, reminding us of certain ethos and certain elements of spirit in Chicago. And she put this, oh, you can't leave this out, you've got to have -- she was as much a collaborator as John was.

KING: We'll ask about "The Blues Brothers" in a moment with but we'll ask about the "Blues Brothers" in a moment with Judy Belushi Pisano and Dan Aykroyd.

We'll be right back.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That woman is asking me to call the cops.

BELUSHI: You wouldn't do that to me, would you man?

AYKROYD: He just got out of Joliet he's on parole. You can't call the cops on him, man.

BELUSHI: We're putting the band back together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said no, absolutely not.

BELUSHI: Yo. How much for you wife? Ha ha ha ha HAYNES: !


KING: How did the Blues Brothers -- you said it was the first thing you designed together.

AYKROYD: Well, in Toronto, yes, we were listening to a blues record, Downchild Blues Band. He said what's this? I said, well, this is local blues. He said, the blues, oh yes, we've got a lot of that in Chicago. I said, well, you should know about it. He said I'm into heavy metal and Grand Funk and, "We're an American band." He loved that song, remember.

And I said, well, I'll show you some blues, you show me some heavy metal. And we listened to this record, and Howard Shore was there, the guy who just won an Oscar for the "Lord of the Rings," and he was in Toronto that night. He said, you could call the band the Blues Brothers.

And, wow, bing, this is before "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE." KING: Well, neither of you are musicians.

PISANO: John played drums.

KING: You weren't singers. You weren't dancers.

AYKROYD: He played drums. He played drums. Not, really, no. We had to learn how to do it...

PISANO: Yes, he was a dancer.

AYKROYD: We had to learn. Once we ...

KING: But was a put on, wasn't it?

AYKROYD: Well, it was a tribute to this R&B and soul and stacks volt music...

KING: But everybody laughed when they watched it.


AYKROYD: Hello, I hope you like our show, I'm Elwood. This is my brother Jake.



AYKROYD: They laughed because, sure, the music -- but also I think people saw we had respect for the music, you see. And we had Steve Crawford and Doc Dunn, Otis Redding's guitar player.

KING: So the music was honest?

AYKROYD: The music was honest ...

KING: What you did was funny, though.

AYKROYD: Yes, we weren't the greatest vocalist, dancers, or harp players, or anything, but we were good showmen.

PISANO: They were great frontmen, too.

AYKROYD: That's right.




PISANO: A lot of it was really, like he just said, wanting to put the music out and saying, wow, people should start listening to this.

KING: Where was the first place they did it?

AYKROYD: We played with Willie Nelson at the Lone Star Cafe, and he was our first backup band. He said, come...

KING: What? He was your backup band?

AYKROYD: Willie Nelson and Mickey Rafael said, I'll back you guys up and you can come and try some material out, and I'll be your backup band. And there we were in the suits, we tried it out there, we did that two nights, I believe. And then Duke Robillard, we did a gig with, and then we recruited from the "Saturday Night Live" band, when we began to warm up for the audience, and then we did the Carrie Fisher show, I think as the Bs -- was that it, the first time?

PISANO: Yes ...


KING: And wasn't that on "Saturday Night Live"

AYKROYD: That was -- was it Carrie Fisher the first show?

PISANO: I'm not sure who the host was, but Paul Schaffer introduced you and ...

AYKROYD: I think the big thing was, Steve Martin said, come and open for me. What a generous, gorgeous man he is.

PISANO: At Universal Amphitheater.

AYKROYD: Come and open for me at the Universal Amphitheater. Recorded the record and it went triple platinum back in 1979. And, you know, I still do that today with his brother. Jimmy his Brother Z, the blood brother of Jake Blues, and we play for mostly private events, but we still get to do the music. Not with the movie band, but with a great Texas-California band...

KING: How did the movie do?

AYKROYD: The movie made -- the first movie made about $75 million and then got scooped by "Airplane," which came along, which was the Zucker brothers movie...

KING: That was funny.

AYKROYD: But it was a hit. Although it cost a lot of money, it was a hit, and today, of course, it's a good revenue stream for Universal, I think.


AYKROYD: It's a 106 miles to Chicago. We've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.


AYKROY: The second movie didn't do so well. It had some problems, but it was a million-selling record. And also, I think, Universal is very happy with the DVD and VHS...

KING: You did a book him, right?

PISANO: I did a book, "Blues Brothers: Private," which was a compendium of the first -- it was a file. It told their stories in file form. The nun had kept a file on them. If you look into the book carefully, you'll see things like that Elwood is forging things from early on. The nun should have signed it, but it's Elwood.

AYKROYD: It was a brilliant piece of work. It really was, and it helped kind of with our characters.

KING: You did not like the Woodward book, right?

AYKROYD: Well, I thought that he left it to his assistants to kind of finish. He was off to other things. Now, Woodward has written some great American political pieces of analysis, but he sort of dismissed a few things, got a few things wrong and I think he missed the essence of really how smart and really great John...

KING: He was concentrated certainly on the drug...

AYKROYD: On the exesses, yes, yes.

PISANO: It wasn't really a portrait of John. It was a portrait of a drug addict. I think he showed what someone goes through, but it really wasn't about John. When I read it, it felt like someone else.

AYKROYD: I couldn't like that book, no matter how good it was.

KING: Because you knew him?

AYKROYD: Just because he's my partner and I'm just going to take a stand like, sorry, anything you're writing, I can't...

KING: First famous person out of "Saturday Night Live" was Chevy Chase, right?


KING: Was he the first one to ...

AYKROYD: He was there. He was only there a year, but the degree of his fame was in the fourth month of being in New York with him, I would be walking down the street, "Mr. Chase, Mr. Chase." I looked the guy who was carrying his briefcase.

PISANO: Pushed you out of the way, right?

AYKROYD: No, I loved him.

KING: Did it happen close to the falls?

AYKROYD: The falls: an update.

PISANO: And he said, I'm Chevy Chase, you're not.

AYKROYD: And he was a real star, and he still is today -- handsome, tall. He had that WASPy kind of ...

PISANO: It's pretty funny. He worked with John on a stage show. Before "Saturday Night Live," they did "National Lampoon Lemmings."

He's a funny guy, he works real well.

AYKROYD: And we had Lorne Michaels, the genius behind it all, who just spotted talent all the way down the line and has created an institution that's going to last forever. I mean, that's like the "Today Show," or "Nbc Nightly News."

KING: Did that work from the start?

AYKROYD: We didn't know. The first night, we had George Carlin and we had a wonderful time and...

PISANO: It took a few shows. At first there were so many elements, and the cast -- and you were a relatively small percent of the time, because they were films, Albert Brooks and...

KING: Yes, Albert Brooks had ...


KING: The Muppets.

PISANO: The Muppets are on. There were like 12 different energies.

AYKROYD: It was an old-time variety show, but Lorne said, I want at least seven shows. I'm not going to just do one. I want seven.

KING: We're going to take a break. We'll be back with Judy Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Judy is now Judy Belushi Pisano and we are honoring his Walk of Fame star to the late John Belushi. We'll be right back.


STEVE MARTIN, ACTOR: Maybe we can just pull on the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

BELUSHI: Hi mom! Hi dad! I'm not in a coma anymore.

Oh, what were you doing? Are you pulling the plug on me?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Buddy, the doctor told me you were a vegetable.

MARTIN: I, for one, am baffled.




BELUSHI: In 1962, in college in 1962 and there's a fraternity house, the animal house of the campus. Everyone knows what an animal house is. I mean, they're the guys who like to have a good time and like to set back some brews. And they like music and...




KING: "Animal House" grossed $141 million in 1978. That would be equivalent today to $360 million. How did that come about?

PISANO: Well, Lampoon got a deal to do a movie, and they got Harold Ramis, Doug Kenney, and Chris Miller to write it. And they had worked with John, so they had him in mind for Blu. And by the time they were done, "Saturday Night Live" had been going some, so the studio wanted John. But in order to do the movie, they had to have a bigger star. And so who'd they get? Who's the professor?

AYKROYD: Donald Sutherland.

PISANO: Donald Sutherland.

KING: He was a bigger star, then.

PISANO: Yes, he became essential ...

KING: Oh, yes, from Klute and from ...

PISANO: ... to this happening.

KING: You were on "Saturday Night Live," right? You were a writer.

PISANO: Well, briefly, I was a writer.

KING: But you were also in "Animal House."

PISANO: I'm in "Animal House." I dance with John and I sit on the stairs when Stephen Bishop is playing the guitar ...

KING: Why did that movie work so well, because it was wild?

PISANO: I think because it hit a nerve with people in how the party scene was with the fraternities. And actually, it was sort of meant to be a little bit of an anti-fraternity movie...


CROWD: Toga, toga, toga, toga, toga, toga, toga, toga!


KING: Did you like it right away?

AYKROYD: I was actually offered the part of D-Day, which Bruce McGill went on to play. I just couldn't leave "SNL." With John gone, I didn't want to leave Lorne. I didn't want to leave Lorne. And I said to John, I would have loved to have played the part, ride a motorcycle up stairs. But I have to stay, and we've got to build.

So we stayed, and Davis and I went on to write the Coneheads things, some of the best stuff. And it was a good decision that I made.

KING: Did you come up with the Coneheads?

AYKROYD: Well, it was Lorne and me and Lorraine and Jane and Davis, yes.


MARTIN: Hey, isn't this the drink the astronauts took to the moon?

AYKROYD: Astronauts to the moon, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!


KING: How did you even think of that?

AYKROYD: Just looking at TV and going, you know, our heads are awfully short. We should add a little bit to it.

KING: Did Belushi have a favorite character, by the way, on "Saturday Night Live."

PISANO: And he liked the Samurai.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked for 1 button and there's 6 buttons for each sleeves. I mean, that's 5 buttons too many. I distinctly said 1 button.





BELUSHI: (PRETENDING TO SPEAK JAPANESE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, wait a minute, don't take it seriously.


AYKROYD: His impressions were amazing. Lee J. Cobb, Brando, the Godfather ...

KING: Kissinger.

PISANO: Truman Capote.

AYKROYD: Kissinger, Truman Capote. He loved doing all that, the Joe Cocker impression was amazing.




KING: Was he popular among the cast? Was John...

AYKROYD: Oh, yes, he was magnetic. I mean, he was a little tough on the ladies, because he's an alpha male, typical American type, and I think...

KING: Did that bother you, Judy?

AYKROYD: Some friction there ...

PISANO: There was some friction. That wasn't true of all of his career.


BELUSHI: Right now, I got this druken, Irish junky who wants to kill me, because of what I said about his mother being in terminal dream land, you know? Oh, pal, one thing -- leave me alone! One thing!


PISANO: He worked very well with the women on stage. Gilda on stage and he were brilliant together. He worked well with Blair Brown (ph) in "Continental Divides."

KING: I love that movie.

PISANO: But, for whatever reason it's been made kind of ...

AYKROYD: See, Jane Curtin's a strong lady, and I don't know, presented kind of a challenge in some ways to him ...

KING: They clashed? AYKROYD: A little bit, yes, but I think they worked it out in the end. I think so. I mean, Gilda and he had -- and Lorraine, they had this kind of wrenching kind of relationship. It was just a lot of sort of topsy-turvy kind of debating points on comedy, the way to play things and you don't know this, or you know this -- and he would also support them when they were doing great stuff.




KING: Do you still watch the show?

AYKROYD: Today's show? I sure do. I actually had the pleasure of actually being the host for Chris Katan's last show and getting to do a piece he wrote. And I love it. I love it. I love the new cast. I love Amy and Rachel. They're really strong women and really, really funny and really great.

KING: Was it a happy marriage?

PISANO: Well, yes. In general, it was a very happy marriage. We had a lot of good times, a lot of strength between us. We shared a partnership, and there were difficulties, but those also make you stronger as you go through them.

KING: Did you want children?

PISANO: I had just begun to be that place where I wanted children, yes.

KING: Did John want to be a father?

PISANO: Not yet, I don't think. He was afraid. He was afraid.


PISANO: The responsibility, I guess. He -- one time we talked about he said he liked being the only child.

AYKROYD: You know, John was really, really good to his family. He bought his dad a ranch and his mom and they had everything they ever needed. And he was concerned about them and visited.

He had a big, big heart, Larry. He had a big heart. He had a big brain. He was a smart businessman, and he had a big, big heart. He didn't suffer the darker fools well, but he -- and ultimately ...

KING: Would he have been a good guest on this show?

AYKROYD: Oh, yes, you could have bounced -- I think you could have bounced around from science, religion, philosophy, theater, movies ...

PISANO: Yes, he probably would have been.

AYKROYD: He would have done impressions. He would have -- oh, yes, absolutely.

PISANO: That's true. He didn't do a lot of interviews.

AYKROYD: You talk about everything here. The range. He would have been able to cover the range beautifully.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you miss the improvisation thing at all, nowadays?

BELUSHI: I miss the group thing, the group comedy. I miss that, working with a group. I always liked that. I never could work alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody bouces it off eachother.

AYKROYD: Yes. We aren't standups.

BELUSHI: It's a nice feeling.

AYKROYD: We don't have that facility, so no...

BELUSHI: I miss that. And I miss working in front of an audience.


KING: He was very smart.

AYKROYD: Very smart.

KING: So it must have been confounding to you that a man with all these things would have an addictive habit. To his close friends, his wife, it must have been confounding.

PISANO: Yes, we were pretty confounded.

AYKROYD: Yes, we did everything we could. And we intervened when we could. But each man, each woman, you're captain of your own ship.

And then the pain didn't come out for me, really, until after the funeral, at my house in Martha's Vineyard, and everybody was gone, and I had given the motorcycle escort and everything. And the snow started to fall, Larry. The snow, the beautiful white snow, and the irony of all that, and I got down on my knees. And I wept and I prayed for the crossing over of his soul, and I think ultimately he did cross over. I felt that today.

KING: You believe that, right?

AYKROYD: Oh yes, yes. The soul energy does not get destroyed.

KING: We'll be right back with Judy Belushi and Dan Ackroyd. Don't go away.


CHEVY CHASE, ACTOR: I'm just sorry. I just hope people get to see his work in reruns and all the stuff he did, watch him do -- watch him do our version of Star Trek. Get a tape of that or something. That's just one of a kind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We at NBC have decided to, unfortunately, cancel Star Trek.

BELUSHI: Fire at my command.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On your way out, you can pass the cashier's desk and pick up your checks.

BELUSHI: Set phasers to stun. Fire!

AYKROYD: Nothing's happening, Jim, I can't understand it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look boys, do me a favor and return these things to the property department, OK?

BELUSHI: Try kill.

AYKROYD: It's still not working, Jim, it's not working.



KING: You mentioned the -- we're back with Judy Belushi Pisano and Dan Aykroyd. We're saluting the Walk of Fame -- finally a star on the Walk of Fame for John Belushi. Much too late, but still deserved.

PISANO: Everything in its own time.

KING: What is this with -- do you believe he's in contact with you?

PISANO: Well, I believe he's with me.


PISANO: He's a part of my life and always will be. I think that the energy doesn't die. I think that it goes on, and I don't have an exact example.

KING: Does it bother your husband?

PISANO: No, my husband knows that I love him and that we have a strong marriage ourselves, and that's my past. The fact ...

KING: The fact what? PISANO: He's doing a show now called ...

AYKROYD: In fact, he has written his worst nightmare is the resurrection of Jake Blues. Picture Judy's husband as a -- he's an old word, Renaissance guy. He's into opera. He's into food and Tuscan cooking. His uncle's the chief of police in Venice. He has old world roots. He is so cultured and well read. And we corrupted him and made him a bluesman. And we decided, there are so many replicators and imitators out there of the Blues Brothers. Some are good and some are bad.

We thought, we've got to have control of this. We've got to put on a show that captures the warmth of the first movie and the relationship between me and John and do something that serves the image in a way where we have some control over the quality. So we have the "Blues Brothers Revival" opening in Chicago on April 20. It's a jubilant gospel celebration, resurrection type musical, with amazing songs. We're going to break new talents and singers and musicians, and the two guys who are doing Jake and Elwood, I hear, are just fabulous.

KING: What are you calling it?

AYKROYD: "Blues Brothers Revival."

PISANO: "Blues Brothers Revival."

KING: All right, back to the spirit world. You say you believe in what?

AYKROYD: It's not so much that the spirits come back to contact us, although I think if you call on someone that you've loved, that you do get an inspiration. But Issac Tigrett, co-founder of the House of Blues, said to me, he's the devotee of Cy Barba (ph), you know, the avatar, guru in India. And he said, look, I want to do an intervention on your friend John. I had a dream he wasn't happy, he was in a bad region. And he mentioned a name to me, a name of someone he loved. And I said, oh, yeah, what was that? He said, Nana (ph). How would Isaac know that that's what John called his grandmother?

And I said, that's what he called his grandmother. He said, he wants me to do help him cross over into the light. So Isaac did a meditation with this woman that he worked with here in Los Angeles, and they had a vision of John, you know, extricating himself from bad circumstance, call it Limbo or the Badda (ph) region, Purgatory. And they were able to cross him over into the light.

And just that one thing, how would Isaac know after a meditation what John's grandmother was called by John himself? I never told him that. He didn't know that. He didn't know John that well. I met Isaac after John died. So there's a verification that there's a continuum there.

KING: What do you think the biggest change has been, as you see? What do you think of, generally, television today? AYKROYD: You know, we thought in the '50s that we became attention-deficit babies because of '50s TV. Now, look at these kids that are coming up. It's the onslaught of the media. It's really causing a lot of dysfunction among youth.

KING: What do you think John would have thought of all this?

AYKROYD: He would have loved the availability of sports channels, because he watched sports -- he was an athlete. That guy could run ...

KING: Oh, really?

AYKROYD: He could throw a ball.

KING: Despite the fact that he was a little overweight?

PISANO: Yes, that's why Jake moved so well. He was a big football player in high school.

AYKROYD: Yes, I mean, you see him dancing in the "Blues Brothers" movie.

KING: That's right, he's light on his feet.

AYKROYD: Yes, yes.

KING: Back with our remaining moments with Judy Belushi Pisano and Dan Aykroyd, this wonderful hour, right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Belushi is on his way to a gold medal in the decathlon. They're setting the bar at seven feet. Here's his approach. And he did it! Belushi scores a goal. Now he's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) world record. He's making his move during the final approach. He's kicking it in. He's got it! (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Unbelievable. What a day for John Belushi!

BELUSHI: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for that day, and I've downed a lot of doughnuts. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) doughnuts. They taste good, and they've got the sugar I need to get me going in the morning. That's why these little chocolate doughnuts have been on my training table since I was a kid.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: War's over man. Wormer (ph) dropped the big one.

BELUSHI: What? Over? Did you say over? Nothing is over until we decided it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forget it, he's rolling.

BELUSHI: And it ain't over now! Because when the going gets tough, the tough get going! Who's with me? Let's go! Come on.


KING: We're back with Judy Belushi Pisano and Dan Aykroyd. Coming some other bases in John. Did he like doing movies?

PISANO: He loved doing movies. It's really what he hoped to do as an actor is to make movies.

KING: He wanted to put television behind him and be a movie ...

PISANO: Well, he never thought he'd do television in the beginning.


PISANO: He had some -- an offer to do something on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" when he was young and he chose not to do it.

KING: Like a regular on a sitcom?

PISANO: Well, it was a role that could possibly become a regular, that kind of an offer. And he didn't want to do television. And when he heard Danny and Gilda and Michael O'Donoghue, who was hired as a writer for "Saturday Night Live," and the people who were going he thought, well, this is going to be different.


BELUSHI: The feds are watching me. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is investigating me. The USPC (ph) is after me about this horse thing.


KING: Were you encouraging him to do it?

AYKROYD: Oh, yes. Well ...

KING: You were on before him, or you all started together?

AYKROYD: No, no. John and I were sort of hired almost last, because Lorne wasn't sure. He saw John and I walk into the office, and he saw a fused unit right there. And that was, like, oh boy, they've already gotten together. Are there going to be problems here, is there a cabal going? But ultimately he decided to hire us, and it bore itself out well.

KING: What was the first thing John did on "Saturday Night Live?" PISANO: The opening.

AYKROYD: The opening ...

PISANO: It was the first opening.

AYKROYD: The wolverine. The old man.

PISANO: Wolverine. I want to teach.

AYKROYD: I want to teach my -- the Michael O'Donoghue piece about ...

PISANO: Feeding fingers.

AYKROYD: Feeding fingertips to the wolverines.



BELUSHI: I would like.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To feed your fingertips.

BELUSHI: To feed your fingertips.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the wolverines.

BELUSHI: To the wolverines.


KING: What was your first piece?

AYKROYD: It was a piece where I broke into a couple's house to sell them a home security system. And I remember standing there and going, boy, if this goes, we're -- it's all over and we'll have great careers. If this dies, we're really done, and I'd better buy some snowplows. And it worked out OK.

PISANO: When we were young, John did promise me if the acting thing didn't work out by the time he was 30, he'd quit and get a real job.

KING: How did you keep from laughing doing "Saturday Night Live."

AYKROYD: That was sometimes pretty tough, but we rigidly enforced that discipline. That was sort of a little badge of honor amongst the Not Ready for Primetime Players that we never broke up ...


KING: ... break up, which he'd physically break up on camera. AYKROYD: We, because of Second City and the training there, we were trained at Second City and in the Committee and in the Groundlings, these groups, to stay with the scene and stay with the integrity and the belief of the scene, and don't break up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a sharp little guy and we're expecting a lot from you, little fellow.

BELUSHI: Can we cut the condescending crap and play a game?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you say, Joe.


AYKROYD: I remember we had a little trouble with Frank Zappa, because my cone was melting, and it was coming down like this. And he was going, Aykroyd, your cone's melting, and I said, you know, please don't break character. But by then, we were all kind of smiling at that one.

KING: Who made John laugh?

PISANO: Danny, Billy.

AYKROYD: Billy, all his friends.

KING: Who outside of "Saturday Night Live"?

PISANO: I think I made him laugh.

AYKROYD: The olds, the greats. Phil Silvers ...


KING: Bilko, he must have loved Bilko.

AYKROYD: Yes, Bilko, loved Bilko, all the greats. You know, Danny Thomas, I mean, all the greats, all the ones that we loved, the '50s sitcoms ...

PISANO: Kind of liked Sellers.

AYKROYD: Sellers, yes.

KING: Did he consider himself a physical comic?

AYKROYD: Oh, yes, he was aware of his physical nature.

KING: He wasn't a standard ...

AYKROYD: No, you see, there's really no "Saturday Night Live" alumni really, except maybe for Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin, are standups, nor from Second City. We're scene players, is what we like to think of ourselves, as scene players, not standups, although the two are sort of cousins.

KING: At Second City, you would be thrown an idea and do it, right?

AYKROYD: Yeah, you would be thrown an idea and you'd make up -- you'd cook up something backstage with three or four people, come back six minutes later and do a scene in a bus station with a baseball and a clown, or whatever they'd thrown out as a suggestion. It was wonderful training.

KING: Was automatically Jonathan Winters your hero?

AYKROYD: Amazing, yes, Jonathan Winters.

PISANO: Yes, John could easily -- he had an album of his when he was a kid and he memorized it and would stand in front of the mirror.

AYKROYD: Absolutely, another great.

PISANO: ... and work through a routine.

KING: Robin Williams.

AYKROYD: Robin Williams is the greatest living monologist right now. I'd say him and Chris Rock. But he is the greatest living monologist. He is one of the smartest people, and so funny.

KING: Oh, yeah. How about his movies?

AYKROYD: I love Robin Williams.

KING: They get panned and they do well.

AYKROYD: Well ...

KING: He plays evil, he plays funny ...

AYKROYD: I think we all have. We've all had that, but this is a giant, giant talent, Robin Williams.

KING: Why didn't you follow up "Dragnet"?

AYKROYD: You know what?

KING: You and Hanks were a riot.

AYKROYD: Hanks and I -- we submitted a script, and the studio was very hard on it. And I looked at it, and it would just -- didn't kind of -- didn't measure up, you know, and we just decided not to do it.

KING: Hanks and you played off each other.

AYKROYD: I still today have a great relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department because of that.

KING: Did you like being Joe Friday?

AYKROYD: I sure did. I liked -- although I was an old hippy myself and I was kind of, I'm going to get back at him because he tweaked the hippies in the '70s and stuff. When I started to do it, I realized what a giant talent as a writer he was.

KING: Jack Webb.

AYKROYD: Did you know him?

KING: Met him once at ...

AYKROYD: At the Cock & Bull he used to sit and drink at on Sunset and sitting there ...

KING: But we used to think that was realistic.

AYKROYD: Yes, yes. Sure, sure, yes.

KING: He would talk like that, in short sentences.

AYKROYD: But his writing was fantastic, you know, shut up -- sit down unless you're growing. It's a great line.

KING: What was John's scheduled to do when he died? "Ghostbusters," right?

PISANO: Well, first, "Spies Like Us." And he was supposed to be working on ...

AYKROYD: It was "Joy of Sex," "Spies Like Us." It was "Joy of Sex," which was going to get "Noble Rot" made, which was a film written by Don Novello, Father Guido Sarducci.

KING: I know him well.

PISANO: With John.

AYKROYD: And it was about the wine business. And of course the title, please, we could have all changed that title, right, Judy? But "Noble Rot" refers to ...

KING: Noble rot?

AYKROYD: Noble rot refers to the rot that you get in some wines that produces a great vintage and a great wine. It's ...

PISANO: If the rot happens, it's usually there, but sometimes it's ...

AYKROYD: But sometimes you get that noble rot.

KING: Good rot.

AYKROYD: Good rot. That's right. And so it was about the wine business, and it was a really, really funny script, and then he was lined up to do some of the things that I went on to work with other collaborators on.

KING: He was scheduled to do no television, though, right?


KING: He didn't want to do it -- if he never did it again, it wouldn't bother him.

AYKROYD: We did a special ...

PISANO: With Steve Martin?

AYKROYD: Yes, we did the Beach Boys special.

PISANO: And the Beach Boys, and we had a Richard Pryor show.

AYKROYD: We were California highway patrolmen, and we went and arrested Brian Wilson and made him surf, because he'd written all those surfing songs, but never surfed. So we made him go surfing.

KING: Thank you so much.

PISANO: Thank you. It was lovely.

AYKROYD: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Judy Belushi Pisano, Dan Aykroyd. We salute you, John, and they hear you.

I'll be back in a minute to tell you about the weekend. Don't go away.


KING: Thanks for joining us on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We have an exciting weekend of programming on LARRY KING, weekend, Saturday and Sunday, and back live on Monday night. And we thank Judy Belushi Pisano and Dan Aykroyd for joining us.

Stay tuned for "NEWSNIGHT" with Aaron Brown. Good night.


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