'Woman of Mystery' Who Killed John Belushi Dead at 73

Cathy Smith spent 15 months in prison for injecting comedian with fatal drug dose
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2020 12:00 PM CDT
Woman Who Gave Belushi Fatal Drug Dose Dead at 73
This July 27, 1978, file photo shows actor John Belushi at the opening night party for "Animal House" at the Village Gate in New York City.   (AP Photo, File)

The Globe and Mail calls her a "notorious, colorful footnote in pop culture history" and a "woman of mystery." To the rest of the world, Cathy Smith was best known as the one-time girlfriend of Gordon Lightfoot who injected the drugs that ended up killing comedian John Belushi. Now, Smith's own death has been announced. The resident of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, died Aug. 18 at age 73. No official cause of death has yet been given, though she was said to have been in declining health over the past few years. Born in 1947 in Ontario, Smith quit school at 16, gave up a baby for adoption after getting pregnant at 17, and took a waitress job at a Toronto music venue. She met Lightfoot in the late '60s, and the two had a tumultuous affair (he was married when they met) until the mid-'70s, which is when he wrote his hit "Sundown," inspired by their stormy relationship.

After their breakup, Smith sang backup, worked for the Rolling Stones, and dealt drugs in Los Angeles. She ended up in a crowd that included Belushi, and she spent the last five days of his life with him. She admitted that, on March 5, 1982, before she left his bungalow, she'd injected him with the speedball that killed him. First charged with second-degree murder, Smith pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and served 15 months in prison. While there, she taught computer skills to other inmates, including members of the Manson Family. She was released in 1988 and deported to Canada, where she took a job in Toronto as a legal secretary, per Deadline. Smith saw Lightfoot one more time, at a 2014 concert in Vancouver. "I truly believe they were the love of each other's life," a friend who attended the concert with Smith tells the Globe. (More obituary stories.)

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