animal-house

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Happy Birthday, JOHN ADAM BELUSHI - January 24, 1949 - March 5, 1982

The night that I went to New York to see the National Lampoon Show, Doug Kenney was sitting in the audience with me. We were looking up at the stage, and he said, “Brian, he’s got a great face for the screen. Billy, he’ll always work. Gilda, everyone will love Gilda. But your brother,” he said, “your brother’s gonna be a big star.” - Jim Belushi 

The night that Animal House opened, he got me to drive around with him to movie theaters to see all the mania. When we got to the Sutton we were going in just as people were coming out. All these kids who’d just seen Bluto on the big screen suddenly walked right into him outside the lobby. They went crazy. They were all asking for his autograph; one of them gave him a bottle and asked him to break it on his head. John was so excited about it, in a way that only a kid would be. - Mitch Glazer 

When he did Cocker, he would spin, spin and go down - Whack! - And it was two hundred pounds hitting the floor. He’d spit beer up in the air, get himself covered with it. He didn’t care too much. John and I were both very physical, but John, I found, was more willing to hurt himself. Whenever John took a fall, he hit his head. I think he even knocked himself out once. He really went all the way for something. - Chevy Chase 

He just didn’t have limits, with anything. If you gave him a loaf of bread, he’d eat the whole loaf of bread. If you gave him a bag of drugs, he’d do the whole bag of drugs. If you put four cats on him, he’d play with all four cats. It didn’t really matter what it was. - Janis Hirsch 

One of the curious things about John was that the self-confidence he exuded onstage was not a facade. There’s nothing more important to getting people to laugh than being confident of what you’re doing. You have to be massively committed to being funny, and John was. Everything about John was massive. Yet, at the same time, he also had a massive vulnerability. - Tony Hendra 

John was, and still is, the only actor I’ve ever auditioned whom I not only immediately fell in love with, but immediately put into the main company. No serving time in the touring companies or any of that. He had something that you can’t learn in school. Call is charisma, call it magnetism, he had it. - Bernie Sahlins

John was an icebreaker for a lot of people. He was the first one to go from Chicago to New York, and he got everybody out. He was the force; people gravitated to him. - Bill Murray 

When John was performing he was in total control. If he were going to fling himself across the stage, he had to know what he could do it and not hurt himself or others. I think he could do that easily. You could see how he worked. I think the center of his cyclone was always pretty calm. - Robin Williams 

John could make people laugh by raising an eyebrow, but I think it would be less than giving him due to suggest that’s as far as his talent went. He also was really good at impersonations, and he struggled long and hard over them. If you spent half an hour with John, he could do an impression of you. He had an actor’s craft, and he worked at it and made significant choices about what he did. He certainly made it all seem effortless, but then that’s the trick, isn’t it? - Anne Beatts 

One night, John and I had gone to see a blues group and we ended up sitting and talking for a couple of hours. He was trying - in a protective, big brotherly way - to share with me his experience of what it was like to be famous, and just how disappointing it was. How, as a performer, you’ve yearned for the attention, you’ve yearned for the spotlight, you’ve yearned for people to like what you do, and then at some point everything you’ve ever longed for turns into this thing that’s very difficult. It was the most real conversation I ever had with him. - Karen Allen 

John was the Thing That Wouldn’t Leave, the guy who wouldn’t take a hint that it was time to go to bed. Late one night he and Mitch Glazer showed up, unannounced, at my apartment on Riverside Drive. They were drinking out of brown paper bags. Eventually, Mitch left and John passed out on my bed. So I called Judy just to let her know that I had him in possession. It was only in the morning after he left that I went over and looked in the brown paper bag. It was a carton of milk. - Laraine Newman 

John was a caring person, a gentleman from the get-go and a class-A cat who was into the music. I know for a fact that the Blues Brothers movie and soundtrack helped people like Aretha Franklin and myself reach the young kids who might not have known we existed. As far as commercial interest in R&B is concerned, John helped get the ball rolling again. Man, we owe him. - Ray Charles 

At that point, John and Harrison Ford were my only two screen kisses, and John’s is still the best. - Carrie Fisher 

With some movie stars people just stare into their faces. John was so antic that that never happened. But one day I saw him sitting alone in this rare moment of stillness, and it was one of those moments when you see somebody and you think, I know who you were when you were a little kid. I know who you were when you were growing up. And it was that moment, for me, when he stopped being “Belushi.” I sort of went, “Oh, right, I get it. You’re that guy.” - Blair Brown 

“I love you,” was the last thing he said [to me]. And then he was gone. - Judy Belushi

Dazed and Confused, at its heart, is a movie about high school kids whining and being stoned for 90 minutes, and yet it still managed to become one of the biggest cult hits of the ‘90s and launched the careers of both Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck, which is a dubious but undeniable distinction. This is even more noteworthy considering that just about every member of the cast treated it like one extended teenage fuck party. And no, the cast of Dazed and Confused didn’t bother to sober up once the cameras started rolling. They figured the best way for their characters to appear stoned was to actually be stoned, because when you’re making a film about ultra-high teenagers, authenticity is everything.

The craziness started before the movie even began filming, when McConaughey managed to get cast without even knowing he was auditioning. He just happened to run into the casting director at a bar, and the two got along so well that they wound up getting kicked out for being too loud and rowdy, officially marking the first time that people in a public setting became tired of Matthew McConaughey.

Those not fortunate enough to run into the casting director at a hotel bar had to earn their stripes at the “casting pizza party,” a free-for-all where all the potential actors were gathered together to try out for just about every role. One part of the audition process involved pairing the actors off and having them make out with each other, because this is a critical part of the storytelling process. According to Jason London, who was eventually cast in the lead, he and every other guy got to make out with “like, three different girls each.”

5 Famous Movies That Were Insane Parties Behind the Scenes

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Happy Birthday Donald Sutherland - July 17