Jim Belushi

Jim Belushi Headshot

Actor • Comedian

Birth Date: June 15, 1954

Age: 69 years old

Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois

Siblings: John Belushi

Early in his career, James Belushi channeled his gifts for performing into drama. With his start on the Second City stages, the Chicago-based actor sustained a lengthy career with a burly charm that translated across comedy and drama and a voice that boomed unmistakably over animation. His considerable skills were measured against the talents of his iconic big brother, John, but following years of frustration, it was as the titular dad of television's "According to Jim" (ABC 2001-09), that Belushi opted to embrace his flaws in a role that, more than any other, fully reflected his true persona. Following the series' end, Belushi settled into a solid career as a character actor working in both comedy and drama, from low-budget indies to higher profile projects such as Woody Allen's "Wonder Wheel" (2017) and David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" (Showtime 2017), in which Belushi's threatening yet affable Bradley Mitchum became one of the show's most popular characters.

James Belushi was born on June 15, 1954 in Chicago and raised in Wheaton, IL by a pharmacy employee mother and a restaurant owner father, both Albanian immigrants. Belushi was the third of four children, a brood which included older brother John. As a youth, Belushi was left unchecked by his busy parents and nurtured a rebellious streak, often getting in trouble with the local law for small crimes such as underage driving and gasoline theft. It was not until high school, that the middle Belushi found his voice, quite literally. Taking up drama and singing, Belushi did not give up his angry side, but rather had found an outlet for it. He followed that creative path all the way to the College of Du Page, where he took speech and theater courses before moving on to earn a degree in speech at Southern Illinois University.

After college, in 1977, Belushi took up with the famed Second City Troupe and landed on its main stage, a home that had once served as older brother John's training ground. While at Second City, he was mentored by the resident producer Joyce Sloane and director Sheldon Patinkin. Known for his intensity as a performer, Belushi's chucking of his hat at a front row heckler during a Second City performance incurred a lawsuit against the company. In 1978 and 1979, Belushi took his first stab at television acting in Los Angeles with two short-lived comedies - NBC's "Who's Watching the Kids" (1978) and CBS' "Working Stiffs" (1979), co-starring Michael Keaton. He landed the NBC gig after the show's producer, Garry Marshall, saw him perform a two-man act on the subject of tragic artistry at Second City.

Patinkin tapped Belushi for a life-changing local production of playwright David Mamet's "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" at the Apollo Theatre in 1979. It was a vibrant performance, and Belushi followed it up with "Baal in the Twenty First Century" at the Goodman Theatre. His life was speeding up in more ways than one. On May 17, 1980, Belushi married Sandra Davenport and a year later, the couple had a son, Robert. Careerwise, he began to branch out into films with a part in Michael Mann's crime drama "Thief" (1981). But just the younger brother was beginning to come out from under his superstar brother's shadow, tragedy struck. On March 5, 1982, Belushi was appearing at the Shubert Theatre as the Pirate King in a run of "The Pirates of Penzance" when five hours before his call time, he learned his brother John had shockingly died in Los Angeles. A later autopsy revealed a mix of cocaine and heroin - a speedball, administered to him by a hanger-on, Cathy Smith, while Belushi had been staying at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. As expected, the younger brother who idolized the older brother, was inconsolable.

In June of 1983, one year after his death, John Belushi's best friend and frequent co-star Dan Aykroyd and director John Landis, briefly plunked brother Jim into "Trading Places" (1983), a full-on "Saturday Night Live" (1975- ) affair with "S.N.L." vet Eddie Murphy. In October, Belushi himself joined the "S.N.L." cast, once another comedic stomping ground of John. The weight of his older brother's death continued to weigh heavily on both a personal and professional level. Though Belushi had always been in awe of his older brother, it also seemed as though he would never avoid the comparison of their talents - to say nothing of his looks. Two years into his stint as a cast member, and medicating himself with alcohol, Belushi was fired from the show by producer Dick Ebersol towards the end of the 1984-85 season.

While clearing his head and attempting to curtail his abuses, Belushi was working extensively. He had written and starred in a comedy short called "Birthday Boy" for Cinemax and appeared in a diverse string of movies, playing Doctor Rock in Oliver Stone's gritty war drama "Salvador" (1986), Patrick in the musical adaptation of "Little Shop of Horrors" (1986) and various parts in the screwball comedy "Jumpin' Jack Flash" (1986). It was his return to Mamet turf, however, that did the trick. Producers had initially wanted John to play Jim's onstage role in "About Last Night," the big screen version of "Sexual Perversity" several years earlier, but the younger Belushi asked his brother to graciously give up the role that he had already made his own. He did, and Jim Belushi finally had a hit under his belt - a hit in which, despite the charms of leads Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, Belushi ending up stealing every scene.

TriStar Pictures, maker of the film, found another vehicle for his straightforward persona in 1987 with the drama "The Principal." Now a rising star, Belushi teamed up with some high profile names like John Ritter for 1987's action comedy "Real Men" and bodybuilder-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the cop action film "Red Heat" (1987). Two years later, he joined forces with a law enforcement pooch in "K-9" (1989), then re-teamed onscreen with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" co-star Whoopi Goldberg in "Homer and Eddie" (1989).

If John Belushi was the wild child of comedy, Jim's edge was flexible, capable of softening onscreen as he balanced tough comedies like "Taking Care of Business" (1990) with more earnest turns in "Mr. Destiny" (1990), the shy romance "Only the Lonely" (1991) and the kid-friendly "Curly Sue" (1991). For much of the '90s, however, Belushi's output constituted a mix of forgettable projects and near-misses. 1993 saw him as a lead in Oliver Stone's maligned ABC mystery miniseries, "Wild Palms" (1993). He appeared in the crime comedy "Destiny Turns on the Radio" (1995) and the political satire "Canadian Bacon" (1995) with "Only the Lonely" co-star John Candy. Belushi toplined the thriller "Separate Lives" (1995) and then a remake of "Sahara" (1995) for Showtime, before appearing in the Halle Berry Hawaiian adventure, "Race the Sun" (1996). Old pal Schwarzenegger even snagged him as his mall Santa in the holiday comedy, "Jingle All the Way" (1996), but the movie had an underwhelming reception.

As it had done once before, Belushi's busy work life again took its toll on his personal life. His September 1990 marriage to Marjorie Bransfield ended only two years later in April of 1992, but the following year, Belushi rebounded in love with a jewelry shop clerk named Jennifer Sloan. They were married on May 2, 1998, and soon afterwards, a daughter named Jamison was born.

With previous voiceover work on shows such as "Pinky and the Brain" (1995-1998) and "Gargoyles" (1994-1996), Belushi lovingly took on the special task of voicing brother John's famous alter-ego, Jake Blues, in UPN's short-lived animated series "The Blues Brothers Animated Series" (1997). In the fall of 1997, Belushi was then cast as a lead on Steven Bochco's ABC series, "Total Security" (1997), about the world of a high-tech surveillance business. The action drama fizzled quickly, but at the same time, Belushi was also appearing on movie screens in the Tupac Shakur crime drama "Gang Related" (1997). By 1998, Belushi, who had cultivated his own blues band in 1994 called The Sacred Hearts, was flexing his musical chops by playing at least 50 gigs a year. The band was also the in-house act for Chicago's House of Blues, one of the many music venues in the chain Belushi co-owned with Aykroyd.

He already had a familiarity with canine costars, so Belushi returned to his K-9 roots with "K-911" (1999). Following a segue into the studio comedies "Joe Somebody" (2001) and "Return to Me" (2000), he later went back again for a third outing as mainstay Detective Thomas Dooley in "K-9: P.I." (2002). With perhaps his biggest mainstream audience waiting in the wings, Belushi's career reached its highest point when ABC tapped him for a primetime family sitcom in the fall of 2001 - all due to his hysterical performance as the horny, obnoxious husband of Bonnie Hunt in "Return to Me." "According to Jim" (2001-09) focused on "Jim," a caring, but typically opinionated sitcom husband and father. Despite critical slams, Belushi quickly found solace as one of television's most popular, yet imperfect family men. The show reflected more of the true Belushi, now a happy husband and parent, who had so often wrestled with life's intrusions and expectations. He was now into his longest day job in show business, and by April 2003, Belushi's real family had expanded with a son named Jared.

Belushi continued to indulge his fondness for voiceover work while "According to Jim" thrived on the air. He lent his voice to Disney's live action artic adventure "Snow Dogs" (2002), along with an animated revisionist fairy tale, "Hoodwinked!" (2005) and the animated adventure of "The Wild" (2006). In May of 2006, Belushi released his first book, a guide for male living called Real Men Don't Apologize. As 2007 got underway, Belushi's trademark rasp could be heard in director Bob Saget's penguin spoof, "Farce of the Penguins" (2007) and later on in Disney's big screen version of "Underdog (2007).

After the end of "According to Jim," Belushi co-starred in Roman Polanski's political thriller "The Ghost Writer" (2010) and appeared in Garry Marshall's ensemble romantic comedy "New Year's Eve" (2011). Roles in indie comedy "The Secret Lives of Dorks" (2013), family basketball comedy "Thunderstruck" (2012) and horror comedy "Home Sweet Hell" (2015) followed, as well as a supporting role in period piece comedy-drama "Good Girls Revolt" (Amazon 2015-16). After co-srarring in baseball comedy-drama "Undrafted" (2016), Keanu Reeves thriller "The Whole Truth" (2016), western "The Hollow Point" (2016) and indie drama "Katie Says Goodbye" (2016), Belushi returned to TV as part of the cast of David Lynch's "Twin Peaks: The Return" (Showtime 2017). As menacing yet surprisingly affable Las Vegas mobster Bradley Mitchum, Belushi delivered both scares and light comedy, displaying the full range of his skill set. Belushi next appeared in Woody Allen's Coney Island-set period piece "Wonder Wheel" (2017).

Credits

A History of the World in Six Glasses

Self
Docuseries
2023

Gigi & Nate

Actor
Dan Gibson
Movie
2022

Growing BelushiStream

Self
Reality
2020

Fairytale

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James
Movie
2020

BelushiStream

Self
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2020
91%

Today 3rd Hour

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2018

Daily Blast Live

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2017

A Capitol Fourth

Music Performer
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2017

Twin PeaksStream

Actor
Bradley Mitchum
Series
2017

Twin PeaksStream

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Bradley Mitchum
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2017

Wonder Wheel

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Humpty
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2017

Sollers Point

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Carol
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2017

Celebrity PageStream

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News
2016

The Whole Truth

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Boone
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2016

The Hollow Point

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Shepard
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2016

Undrafted

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Jim
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2016

Katie Says Goodbye

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Bear
Movie
2016

Good Girls RevoltStream

Actor
Wick McFadden
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2015
71%

Show Me a HeroStream

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Angelo Martinelli
Miniseries
2015

Building Belushi

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2015

Expedition UnknownStream

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2015

Home Sweet Hell

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Les
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2015

Eloise's Rawther Unusual Halloween

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2014

The 7DStream

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Coach Coachy
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2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

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2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

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2014

Stan Lee's Mighty 7

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2014

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

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Cowardly Lion
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2014

The Secret Lives of Dorks

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Bronko
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2013

Thunderstruck

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Coach Amross
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2012

The Rosie Show

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2011

Dr. Steve

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2011

Cougars, Inc.

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Dan Fox
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The Talk

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The DefendersStream

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Nick Morelli
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2010
74%

CBS Fall Preview

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The Ghost Writer

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John Maddox
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2010

Lopez Tonight

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2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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2009

Snow Buddies

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Bernie
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2008

Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King

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Glob
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2008

Today With Kathie Lee & Hoda

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The Better Show

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Once Upon a Christmas Village

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Santa Claus
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Underdog

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Dan Unger
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Rachael Ray ShowStream

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Handy Manny

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The Wild

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Benny
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Casper's Scare School

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Alder
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Hoodwinked!

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The Woodsman
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Tugger: The Jeep Who Wanted to Fly

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Tugger
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Fatherhood

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Once Upon a Crime

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I'm With Her

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ESPN's Blunderful World of Sports

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Real Time With Bill MaherStream

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2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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Easy Six

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Elvis
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2003

A Scooby-Doo Christmas

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Robbie the Reindeer in Hooves of Fire

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Santa Claus / Tapir
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2002

Robbie the Reindeer: Hooves of Fire & Legend of the Lost Tribe

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Robbie the Reindeer in Legend of the Lost Tribe

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2002

Less Than PerfectStream

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2002

One Way Out

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Harry Woltz
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2002

K-9: P.I.

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Mike Dooley
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2002

According to JimStream

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Jim
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2001

According to JimStream

Director
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2001

According to JimStream

Executive Producer
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2001

Live With Regis and Kelly

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2001

Un Padre Cuidadoso

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2001

Joe Somebody

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Chuck Scarett
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2001

Return to MeStream

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Joe Dayton
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2000
62%

Who Killed Atlanta's Children?

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Pat Laughlin
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2000

The Early Show

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1999

The Daily Show With Jon StewartStream

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1999

Made Men

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Bill Manucci
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1999

K-911

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Det. Mike Dooley
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1999

Justice

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Frank Spello
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1999

El Florentino

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Billy Belasco
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1999

Hôhokekyo tonari no Yamada-kun

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Takashi Yamada
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1999

The Nuttiest Nutcracker

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Reginald
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1999

Blacklash

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Frank Spello
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1998

Angel's Dance

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Stevie "The Rose" Rosellini
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1998

Total Security

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1997

The View

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1997

Dog's Best Friend

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Skippy
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1997

Living in Peril

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Harrison
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1997

Retroactive

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Frank
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1997

Gang Related

Actor
Det. Frank Divinci
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1997

Babes in Toyland

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Gonzargo
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1997

Gold in the Streets

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Mario
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1997

Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off

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Phil Palmfeather
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1997

Bad Baby

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Dad
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1997

Hey Arnold!Stream

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1996

Mighty Ducks: The Animated SeriesStream

Voice
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1996

Race the Sun

Actor
Frank Machi
Movie
1996

Jingle All the WayStream

Actor
Mall Santa
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1996
19%

The Pebble and the Penguin

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Rocko
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1995

Destiny Turns On the Radio

Actor
Tuerto
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1995

Sahara

Actor
Sgt. Joe Gunn
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1995

Separate Lives

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Tom Beckwith
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1995

ERStream

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Dan Harris
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1994

Royce

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Shane Royce
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1994

Parallel Lives

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Nick Dimas
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1994

The Building

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1993

Wild Palms

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The Larry Sanders ShowStream

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1992
100%

Huellas de Rojo

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Rastros de Rojo

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Once Upon a Crime

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1992

Diary of a Hitman

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Shandy
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1992

Traces of Red

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Jack Dobson
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1992

Expediente de un Asesino

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1992

RugratsStream

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Santa Claus
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1991

Only the LonelyStream

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Sal Buonarte
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1991
65%

The Palermo Connection

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Carmine Bonavia
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1991

Curly Sue

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Bill Dancer
Movie
1991

Filofax

Actor
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1990

Taking Care of Business

Actor
Jimmy Dworski
Movie
1990

Mr. Destiny

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Larry Joseph Burrows/Narrator
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1990

Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe

Actor
Principal Latimer
Movie
1990

K-9 chien de flic

Actor
Movie
1989

Dimenticare Palermo

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Carmine Bonavia
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1989

K-9

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Dooley
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1989

Homer & Eddie

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Homer Lanza
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1989

Red Heat

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Det. Sgt. Art Ridzik
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1988

The Principal

Actor
Rick Latimer
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1987

Real Men

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Nick Pirandello
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1987

Aliados Inusuales

Actor
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1987

El Director

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1987

Salvador

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Doctor Rock
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1986

About Last NightStream

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Bernie
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1986
61%

Jumpin' Jack FlashStream

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Sperry Repairman/Furious Cab Driver/Injured Cop
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1986
27%

Little Shop of HorrorsStream

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Patrick Martin
Movie
1986
91%

The Man With One Red Shoe

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Morris
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1985

Trading PlacesStream

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Harvey
Movie
1983
88%

ThiefStream

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Barry
Movie
1981
80%

Working Stiffs

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Ernie O'Rourke
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1979

CBS News Sunday Morning

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1979

Who's Watching the Kids?

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Burt Gunkel
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1978

Laverne & ShirleyStream

Guest Star
Series
1976

Saturday Night LiveStream

Actor
Series
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

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1975

Today

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News
1952

News aboutJim Belushi