Dan Aykroyd (born 1.7.1952)
Dan Aykroyd is a Canadian comedian and actor. He rose to fame with his performances on Saturday Night Live and as cast member of The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters.
Dan Aykroyd: Childhood
Dan Aykroyd was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, the Canadian capital. His father, Samuel was a civil engineer and his French Canadian mother Lorraine was a secretary. He was born with webbed feet (as was revealed in a Saturday Night Live sketch, 'Don't Look Back In Anger') and different coloured eyes.
Aykroyd was expelled from St. Patrick's College, when his show-and-tell piece was a pig dressed up as the Pope. He later dropped out of his criminology course at Carleton University.
Aykroyd's comedy career began in a number of Canadian nightclubs. He later joined The Second City comedy troupe and found work in the National Lampoon's stage shows.
Dan Aykroyd: The Breakthrough
Aykroyd's big break came on Saturday Night Live. For the show's first four seasons (1975-79), Aykroyd was a writer and a cast member. Monty Python's Eric Idle has commented that Dan Aykroyd was the only Saturday Night Live cast member that was capable of joining Monty Python. This was largely due to his comic timing, as well as his impersonations of well-known figures such as Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Aykroyd received an Emmy award in 1977, for his work on the program. In 2003, Aykroyd returned to the show to host that season's finale.
Dan Aykroyd: Life Beyond Saturday Night Live
When Aykroyd first met John Belushi, he put on a blues record in the background. This fuelled the material for their Blues Brothers act. The band released their first album Briefcase Full of Blues in 1978 and continue to tour, with original members, Lou Marini, Steve Cropper, Donald 'Duck' Dunn' and Eddie Floyd. Belushi died in 1982, just weeks before they were due to present the 'Visual Effects' Academy Award.
The House of Blues was co-founded by Aykroyd in 1992, with the purpose of promoting blues and folk music of African-American origin. The company was sold to Live Nation in 2007. Until the sale, it had been the second biggest promoter of live music in the world.
Dan Aykroyd went on to star in a number of comedy films, with varying results. Notably, he starred alongside his friend John Belushi, in The Blues Brothers, 1941 and Neighbors. One his more critically acclaimed performances was in the comic-drama, Trading Places.
Perhaps his biggest success, the film Ghostbusters featured Aykroyd as writer, creator and lead actor. It was his interest in parapsychology that led to the film's creation.
In 1989, Dan Aykroyd won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, for his role in the film Driving Miss Daisy.
Later on in his career, Aykroyd showed a tendency for taking small roles in major studio productions. He appeared as a neurologist in 50 First Dates and as a signals analyst in Pearl Harbour.
Building on the Ghostbusters legacy, Dan Aykroyd announced in 2007 that he would be providing his voice for a CGI sequel to the previous Ghostbusters films. In addition to this, he will be featured in a Ghostbusters video game.
Dan Aykroyd: Personal Life
Dan Aykroyd has previously been engaged to the actress Carrie Fisher (Star Wars). In 1983, he married the actress Donna Dixon. He appeared in a number of films with Dixon, including The Couch Trip, Spies Like Us and Doctor Detroit. The pair have three daughters, Danielle (b.1989), Belle Kingston (b.1993) and Stella Irene August (b.1998).
In 2006, Aykroyd signed a deal with Niagara Cellars, who own four vineyards in the Niagara area of Canada and will sell red and white names that bear Dan Aykroyd's name.