On the morning of March 5, 1982, John Belushi traced the last circle of his hell with white powder. He was 33 years old. To the pace that he had dragged on for days, he added a couple of Quaaludes, a medicine with a sedative effect that calmed him down a bit, although not enough to make him fall asleep. That’s why he allowed himself to be stung without resistance by a shot of speedball, an effective mix of coke and heroin. The result was deadly of necessity.
As the journalist Robert “Bob” Woodward tells us in the book ‘Like a motorcycle’ (Kultrum), John Bellushi spent his last night snorting, getting into one of the Chateau Marmont suites without stopping. For those who don’t know yet, the Chateau Marmont is a gothic-looking hotel where Howard Hughes used to masturbate glued to the glass windows. Hughes lived in one of those luxurious rooms overlooking a swimming pool where the tanned bodies of Hollywood stars plunged.
Robert de Niro and Robin Williams snorted through that hotel, and through Belushi’s room, the night before the fatal outcome. Neither of the two actors liked the woman who was with Belushi. It was about Cathy Smith, a kind of groupie who alternated her functions with those of a camel. At that point, Cathy Smith was famous for having worked with the Rolling Stones and with The Band, the folk rock group that dedicated the song The Weight to her, a classic that appeared on the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider and is part of of the counterculture imaginary.
Cathy Smith was very well connected in the environment. If you needed something, she could get it for you. From poison to sex, the latter generously, as Robert “Bob” Woodward continues to tell us in his book. According to him, the appearance of Cathy Smith was as important in John Belushi’s life as in his death, since it was she who prepared the artist’s last shot for him. He did so before getting behind the wheel and driving out of the hotel in a car that didn’t belong to her.
A few hours later, when Belushi’s personal trainer – karateka Bill Wallace – arrived at the Chateau Marmont and didn’t see Belushi’s car, he flinched. “Shit,” he said. He knocked several times on door number 3. Seeing that no one answered, he didn’t think twice and entered with his own key. What happened next is recounted in detail by Woodward, as befits the journalist who on his day brought down the Nixon presidency along with his colleague from The Washington Post, investigative reporter Carl Bernstein.
Bill Wallace found Belushi’s body on the bed. He was in a fetal position and his lips were purple. A part of his tongue hung out. From that moment, John Belushi became a legend that is still alive today. With this, the fat man from the Blues Brothers, the comedian from Saturday Night Live, the man who made a virtue of excess, will continue to come back to life in our imagination every time we see someone in a black suit, a matching narrow tie, a Fedora hat and some Wayfarer model glasses to finish off the outfit.
Good books are those that leave a trail of questions floating above our heads. An example of this is the biography of Belushi that Woodward traces with an agile pulse. After reading it, a lot of questions arise whose answer is left blowing in the wind, just as Bob Dylan sang in that hymn that he himself performed accompanied by The Band during the first months of 1974, on a legendary tour that Cathy Smith followed very closely. up close, loaded with love and drugs.