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Daniel Edward Aykroyd, C.M. (born July 1, 1952 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) is a comedian, actor and screenwriter.
Rise to Fame
His father, Samuel Cuthbert Peter Hugh Aykroyd, was a policy adviser to Pierre Trudeau's government; his mother, Lorraine Gougeon, was French-Canadian. He attended Catholic high schools (St Pius X and St. Patricks), He was briefly expelled from St. Patricks. Aykroyd studied criminology at Carleton University, leaving before he completed a degree. He worked as a comedian in various Canadian nightclubs.
Aykroyd went on to gain experience in the Second City comedy troupe and in the National Lampoon stage shows. He gained fame on the American TV show Saturday Night Live from 1975 to 1979 where he was known for his impersonations of celebrities like Julia Child and Tom Snyder and for his recurring roles as a huckster, a male prostitute, and high-bred but low-brow critic Leonard Pinth-Garnell.
He was born with syndactyly (webbed toes) and heterochromia — the condition of having two-different colored eyes. In an interview with Terry Gross, he described himself as having Tourette syndrome that was successfully treated with therapy when he was a preteen, as well as Asperger's syndrome. The latter manifests itself in a fascination with police work, and Aykroyd carries a police badge at all times.
In 1977 he received an Emmy Award for writing on SNL; he later received two more nominations for writing, and one each for acting and Outstanding Comedy-Variety series. He received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for Driving Miss Daisy.
Aykroyd was good friends with John Belushi, who recruited him for Saturday Night Live. According to Aykroyd, it was his first meeting with Belushi that helped spark their popular Blues Brothers act. When they met in a speak easy Aykroyd frequented, Aykroyd put on a blues record to play in the background, and it stimulated a fascination with Blues in Belushi, who was primarily a fan of heavy metal despite being a Chicago native. Dan educated John on the finer points of blues music and, with a little encouragement from then SNL music director Paul Shaffer, it led to the creation of their Blues Brothers characters.
Belushi and Aykroyd were scheduled to present the first ever Visual Effects Award, but Belushi died only a few weeks prior to the ceremony. Though devastated by his friend's death, Dan presented the award alone, remarking from the stage "My partner would have loved to have been here to present this, given that he was something of a visual effect himself."
Dan originally wrote the role of Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters (1984) with John Belushi in mind, but rewrote the part for another famous SNL player, Bill Murray, after Belushi died. Dan used to joke that the green ghoul Slimer was "the ghost of John Belushi", based on the similar party animal personality.
For a time, Aykroyd was engaged to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher. She hosted the Saturday Night Live episode in which Aykroyd and Belushi gave their first polished performance as the Blues Brothers. Fisher also had a cameo in The Blues Brothers as the mysterious woman trying to kill "Joliet" Jake Blues (John Belushi).
In 1992, Aykroyd, along with many other notable music and Hollywood personalities, founded the House of Blues. Its mission is to promote African-American cultural contributions of blues music and folk art. As of 2004, it was the second-largest live music promoter in the world, with seven venues and 22 amphitheaters in the United States and Canada.
He has been inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame and maintains his Canadian roots as a longtime resident of Kingston, Ontario. In 1994 Aykroyd received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Carleton University. In 1998, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Aykroyd married actress Donna Dixon in 1983. They have three children.
Love at First Sight (1977)
The Blues Brothers (1980) (also writer)(coattail rider)
It Came from Hollywood (1982) (documentary)
Doctor Detroit (1983)
Trading Places (1983)
Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Ghostbusters (1984) (also writer)
Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)
Into the Night (1985)
Spies Like Us (1985) (also writer)
Dragnet (1987) (also writer)
The Couch Trip (1988)
She's Having a Baby (1988) (Cameo)
The Great Outdoors (1988)
Caddyshack II (1988)
My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988)
Ghostbusters II (1989) (also writer)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Masters of Menace (1990)
Loose Cannons (1990)
Nothing But Trouble (1991) (also director and writer)
My Girl (1991)
This Is My Life (1992)
Coneheads (1993) (also writer)
A Century of Cinema (1994) (documentary)
My Girl 2 (1994)
Exit to Eden (1994)
The Random Factor (1995) (voice only)
Tommy Boy (1995)
Casper (1995) (Cameo)
Canadian Bacon (1995) (Cameo)
Sgt. Bilko (1996)
Getting Away with Murder (1996)
Celtic Pride (1996)
The Arrow (1996)
Feeling Minnesota (1996)
My Fellow Americans (1996)
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