John Belushi’s Widow, Judy Belushi Pisano, Dies at 73

Judy Belushi Pisano passed away Friday night after a long battle with cancer.

Pisano, who was married to John Belushi from 1974 until his death in 1982, was an artist, actress, author, musician, and producer who is credited with co-creating The Blues Brothers alongside her husband and Dan Aykroyd.

In the years following his death, Pisano dedicated herself to honoring Belushi’s legacy, notably penning a 1990 memoir Samurai Widow under her then-name Judith Jacklin Belushi in response to Bob Woodward’s portrayal of her late husband in his biography Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi.

She also co-wrote the 2005 oral history Belushi, which was compiled from a series of interviews conducted with Belushi’s friends and family shortly after her 33-year-old husband’s death from a drug overdose. In 2020, she shared her tapes of those interviews with filmmaker  R.J. Cutler whose Showtime documentary Belushi painted an intimate portrait of the celebrated Saturday Night Live star.

Pisano’s  death was announced Saturday morning on the official John Belushi Instagram page, which she ran alongside the Belushi estate.

“There was no one like her,” the post reads. “Judy made everyone feel loved. She was nonjudgmental, light, funny, and pure. You could be truly yourself around her, that alone was a gift.”

“As we bid farewell, we pledge to continue her work, ensuring that John’s legacy, and the Blues Brothers will never fade.”

Pisano sat down for an interview with our podcast partners at The Saturday Night Network in November 2021:

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Correction: An earlier version of this post misidentified the director of the 2020 Showtime documentary Belushi. The film was directed by R.J. Cutler.

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