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Dan Aykroyd Biography,Career,Business ventures,Awards and Personal Life

About Dan Aykroyd

Daniel Edward Aykroydis a Canadian-American actor, comedian, producer, screenwriter, musician and businessman. He was an original member of the “Not Ready for Prime Time Players” on Saturday Night Live (1975–1979). A musical sketch he performed with John Belushi on SNL, The Blues Brothers, turned into an actual performing band and then a highly successful 1980 film, also called The Blues Brothers. He conceived and starred in Ghostbusters (1984), which spawned a sequel “Ghostbusters II” and eventually an entire media franchise. In 1990, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the 1989 film Driving Miss Daisy. He starred in his own sitcom, Soul Man, from 1997–98. Aykroyd is also a successful businessman, having co-founded the House of Blues chain of music venues and the Crystal Head Vodka brand.

Aykroyd was born on Canada Day July 1st 1952 at The Ottawa Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He grew up in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, where his father, Samuel Cuthbert Peter Hugh Aykroyd, a civil engineer, worked as a policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. His mother, Lorraine Hélène (née Gougeon), was a secretary. His mother was of French Canadian descent and his father of English, Irish, Scottish, Dutch and French ancestry. His brother, Peter, is also an actor.

Aykroyd was born with syndactyly, or webbed toes, which was revealed in the film Mr. Mike’s Mondo Video and in a short film on Saturday Night Live titled “Don’t Look Back In Anger.” Aykroyd was raised in the Catholic Church, and until age 17 he intended to become a priest. He attended St. Pius X and St. Patrick’s high schools, and studied criminology and sociology at Carleton University, but dropped out before completing his degree. He worked as a comedian in various Canadian nightclubs and ran an after-hours speakeasy, Club 505, in Toronto for several years.

Dan Aykroyd Career

He worked as a comedian in various Canadian nightclubs and managed an after-hours speakeasy, Club 505, in Toronto for several years. He worked with Second City Stage Troupe in Toronto and started his acting career at Carleton University with Sock’n’Buskin, the campus theater/drama club. Married to Donna Dixon since 1983, he has two daughters. His parents are named Peter and Lorraine and his brother Peter Aykroyd is a psychic researcher. Dan received an honorary Doctorate from Carleton University in 1994 and was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1998.

Dan met John Belushi in a Chicago speakeasy that was a favorite night spot of his and put on a blues record to play in the background while he and Belushi discussed the possibility of Aykroyd joining Saturday Night Live (1975). Not only did they hit it off and become good friends, Belushi became fascinated with the blues that was being played in the background because, to Aykroyd’s surprise, the Chicago-born Belushi was primarily a fan of heavy metal. Aykroyd’s familiarizing Belushi with blues music eventually led to them forming their popular “Blues Brothers” act, with a little input from then SNL music director Howard Shore.

Simultaneous with his work in Saturday Night Live, Aykroyd played the role of Purvis Bickle, lift operator at the fictitious office block 99 Sumach Street in the CBC Television series Coming Up Rosie. After leaving Saturday Night Live, Aykroyd starred in a number of films, mostly comedies, with uneven results both commercially and artistically. His first three American feature films all co-starred Belushi. The first, 1941 in 1979, directed by Steven Spielberg, was a box office disappointment. The second, The Blues Brothers in 1980, which he co-wrote with director John Landis, was a massive hit. The third, Neighbors (1981) had mixed critical reaction but was another box-office hit.

One of his best-received performances was as a blueblood-turned-wretch in the 1983 comedy Trading Places, in which he co-starred with fellow SNL alumnus Eddie Murphy as well as Jamie Lee Curtis.

In the early 1980s, Aykroyd began work on a script for the film that eventually became Ghostbusters, inspired by his fascination with parapsychology. The script initially included a much greater fantasy element, including time travel, but this was toned down substantially through work on the script with Harold Ramis (who became a co-writer) and director Ivan Reitman. Aykroyd originally wrote the role of Dr. Peter Venkman with Belushi in mind, but rewrote it for Bill Murray after Belushi’s death. Aykroyd joked that the green ghost, later known as “Slimer”, was “the ghost of John Belushi” and was based on Belushi’s party animal personality. Ghostbusters was released in 1984 and became a huge success for Aykroyd, who also appeared as one of the lead actors; the film earned nearly US$300 million on a US$30 million budget.

Aykroyd’s next major film role was in the 1985 spy comedy film Spies Like Us, which like The Blues Brothers was co-conceived and co-written by Aykroyd, and directed by Landis. Aykroyd had again intended for Belushi to be the other lead in the film; the part was instead given to SNL alumnus Chevy Chase. The film was intended as an homage to the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road to …” movies of the 1940s to 1960s. Bob Hope made a cameo appearance in the film. 1987 saw the release of Dragnet, which Aykroyd co-starred in (with Tom Hanks) and co-wrote. The film was both an homage and a satire of the previous Dragnet series, with Aykroyd playing Sgt. Joe Friday as a police officer whose law-and-order attitude is at odds with modern sensibilities.

Dan Aykroyd Business ventures

In the year 1992, Aykroyd and Hard Rock Cafe co-founder Isaac Tigrett founded the House of Blues, a chain of music venues, with the mission to promote African-American cultural contributions of blues music and folk art. Many other music and Hollywood personalities helped to finance it at its start. It began as a single location in Cambridge, Massachusetts, although other locations quickly followed, starting with a venue in New Orleans in 1994. In 2004 House of Blues became the second-largest live music promoter in the world, with seven venues and 22 amphitheaters in the United States and Canada. It was bought by Live Nation in 2006.

In 2007, Aykroyd and artist John Alexander founded Crystal Head Vodka, a brand of high-end vodka known for its distinctive skull-shaped bottle and for being filtered through Herkimer diamond crystals. Aykroyd is also part owner of several wineries in Canada’s Niagara Peninsula as well as the company that distributes Patrón tequila in Canada.

Dan Aykroyd Photo

Dan Aykroyd Photo

Dan Aykroyd Personal life

Aykroyd was briefly engaged to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher. He proposed to her on the set of The Blues Brothers (1980), in which she appeared as a spurned girlfriend of John Belushi’s Jake Blues who was trying to kill both brothers. The engagement ended when she reconciled with her former boyfriend, musician Paul Simon. In 1983, he married actress Donna Dixon, with whom he starred in the movies Doctor Detroit (1983), on whose set they first met; Spies Like Us (1985); and The Couch Trip (1988). They have three daughters, Danielle, Stella and Belle. He maintains his Canadian roots as a longtime resident of Sydenham, Ontario, with his estate on Loughborough Lake, thought to be his summer home.

Aykroyd described in a 2004 NPR interview with host Terry Gross as having been diagnosed in childhood with Tourette syndrome (TS) as well as Asperger syndrome (AS). He stated that his TS was successfully treated with therapy. He described additional details about his conditions in a 2013 DailyMail.com interview when he stated that “I was diagnosed with Tourette’s at 12. I had physical tics, nervousness and made grunting noises and it affected how outgoing I was. I had therapy which really worked and by 14 my symptoms eased. I also have Asperger’s but I can manage it. It wasn’t diagnosed until the early Eighties when my wife persuaded me to see a doctor.”Finally, in 2015, he stated during a HuffPost Show interview with hosts Roy Sekoff and Marc Lamont Hill that his AS was “never diagnosed” but was “sort of a self-diagnosis” based on several of his own characteristics.

He is a former reserve commander for the police department in Harahan, Louisiana, working for Chief of Police Peter Dale. Aykroyd would carry his badge with him at all times.

Dan Aykroyd Awards

In 1977, Aykroyd received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy-Variety or Music Series for his collaborative work on Saturday Night Live. In 1994, he received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Carleton University. In 1999, Aykroyd was made a Member of the Order of Canada. He was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2002.

Dan Aykroyd Movies and TV Shows

  1. Tammy (Movie)
  2. Get On Up (Movie)
  3. Behind the Candelabra (TV Show)
  4. Legends Of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (Movie)
  5. Happily Divorced (TV Show)
  6. The Campaign (Movie)
  7. The Defenders (TV Show)
  8. Yogi Bear (Movie)
  9. According to Jim (TV Show)
  10. War, Inc. (Movie)
  11. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (Movie)
  12. Living with Fran (TV Show)
  13. 50 First Dates (Movie)
  14. Christmas With The Kranks (Movie)
  15. Bright Young Things (Movie)
  16. Crossroads (Movie)
  17. Earth Vs. The Spider (Movie)
  18. Pearl Harbor (Movie)
  19. Evolution (Movie)
  20. The Curse Of The Jade Scorpion (Movie)
  21. Saturday Night Live (TV Show)


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