Actor Jim Zulevic dies of heart attack at age 40

I love Chicago comedy. The artists are funny, intelligent, have a great work ethic and a strong point of view. In L.A. it’s easier to find good pizza than those qualities.”?Jim Zulevic (1965-2006), in a 2005 interview.

Chicago lost a darling Saturday, Jan. 7, when Jim Zulevic died from an apparent heart attack shortly before he was due to host his weekly radio show.

A native of Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, Jim Zulevic was a mainstay of Second City, an accomplished performer and writer of television, film and radio, a gifted stage director, a respected teacher, and a director of award-winning films. In February he would have turned 41.

“I’m stunned by the news of Jim’s death,” said Tim Kazurinsky, veteran screenwriter and comic actor of Second City and “Saturday Night Live” fame. “I just did his [radio] show and was reminded of what a funny and lovely man he was.”

“His death creates a sudden and painful emptiness in the Second City family,” said Tim O’Malley, creator of Second City-produced “Godshow” and a contemporary of Mr. Zulevic.

O’Malley affectionately recalled Mr. Zulevic’s “ear for classic comedy” that contributed to the wild success of the 1997 Second City review “Paradigm Lost,” which also starred Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch.

As a teen, Mr. Zulevic studied improvisation with legendary Second City teacher Donny DePollo. He majored in theater at Columbia College, an environment he remembered affectionately as “incredibly supportive and creative.”