Producer and widow of John Belushi was 73

Judy Belushi Pisano, the widow of legendary comedian John Belushi who preserved and protected his legacy for decades, died Friday after a long battle with cancer. She was 73.

News of Pisano’s death was reported Saturday by the MV Times news outlet, which covers Martha’s Vineyard, where Pisano spent much of her later years. Her death was also confirmed on John Belushi’s official Instagram account.

Pisano was married to Belushi, the larger-than-life star of “Saturday Night Live,” “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers,” from 1973 until his death from a drug overdose in 1982. Pisano endured the worst of Belushi’s infidelities and addiction struggles, but she devoted much of her life to honoring his memory. She was a producer on numerous later “Blues Brothers”-related projects and had a hand in the 2020 Showtime documentary “John Belushi.”

John Belushi is buried on Martha’s Vineyard. Pisano first came to the island off the coast of Massachusetts in 1974 on the advice of a friend, MV Times reported.

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“Today our hearts are heavy as we say goodbye to our sweet Judy. Her unwavering dedication and creative genius alongside Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi gave birth to The Blues Brothers, a timeless testament to the power of music and laughter,” Belushi’s Instagram post read. “In the years following John’s passing in 1982, Judy honored his life and championed his legacy and the Blues Brothers brand. As we say goodbye, we pledge to continue her work and ensure that John’s legacy and The Blues Brothers will never fade. There was no one else like her. Judy made everyone feel loved. She was nonjudgmental, light, funny and pure. You could truly be yourself around her, and that alone was a gift.”

Pisano was working as a radio producer in New York in the mid-1970s, when her husband’s star began to rise with his work with the comedy troupe Second City and when he was part of the inaugural cast of “Saturday Night Live” in 1975. She had uncredited roles in Belushi’s two box-office hits, 1978’s “Animal House” and 1980’s “The Blues Brothers.” In 1990, she married Victor Pisano, but the union ended in divorce in 2010.

RJ Cutler, writer-director and executive producer of the documentary “Belushi,” called Pisano a “fearless” and down-to-earth person.

“I couldn’t have enjoyed working with Judy more when we were making ‘Belushi.’ She was smart, funny, wise, honest and it was a pleasure to spend time with her,” Cutler said Variety. “And talk about fearless. Working with Judy was one of the best experiences of my career because knowing her stimulated your spirit, lifted your soul and filled your heart. May her memory be a great blessing.”

According to MV Times, Pisano was active in the arts on the island and often organized events related to the Blues Brothers. “On the island, she held a screening of the film ‘John Belushi: Dancing on the Edge’ to benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and a show with Daniel Aykroyd, the other Blues Brother, to benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse,” the MV Times reported.

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