Dan Aykroyd is a famous comedian and screenwriter of Canadian origin. He is better known for his act of caricature of a number of well-known persons as part of ‘Saturday Night Live’. He is the originator of the concepts of The Blues Brothers, an important part of this late night show. Presently, The Blues Brothers Band is actively involved in various tours for its performance. Starting his acting career through ’The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour’, a television programme, he served as an actor, writer and producer of a number of comedy shots. His meeting with comedian John Belushi is considered as a turning point of his acting career that prospered with his performance in the ‘Saturday Night Live’. He is the recipient of Emmy Award for his writing on ‘Saturday Night Live’. For his notable writing works, his name was nominated later for this prestigious award for two times. Besides being a Spiritualist, he has also developed a deep interest towards paranormal activities, especially UFOlogy. His concern towards parapsychology made him to create successful films like ‘Ghostbusters’, an American supernatural comedy film. Inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame, this comedian’s name was also nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his outstanding performance in ‘Driving Miss Daisy’.
Childhood & Early Life
Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Dan Aykroyd was the son of Samuel Cuthbert Peter Hugh Aykroyd ,a British and Lorraine Helene of French Canadian ancestry. Samuel was a civil engineer besides serving as a policy adviser to Pierre Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister. Dan’s mother was a secretary.
He grew up in a Catholic Church. He was determined to be a priest until the age of seventeen. He attended St. Pius X High School in Ottawa. Later, he studied at St. Patrick’s High School, located in Ottawa.
In 1969, he took admission at Carleton University to study political science and criminal sociology. While attending this University, he used to perform as part of Sock and Buskin Drama Guild, a community based Theatre Company at that university. But he left the University before completing his degree.
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He started his professional career in acting through performing in a sketch comedy television show ’The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour’. After shifting to Toronto, he formed a comedy duo with Valerie Bromfield.
He acted as an actor, writer and producer for several comedy shots and kid shows like ‘Change for a Quarter’ and ‘Coming Up Rosie’, aired on local television of Toronto.
In 1973, he joined the Second City improvisational troupe that provided him the opportunity to work with personalities like Bill Murray, John Candy and Gilda Radner.
At the same time, he used to work as a television announcer and managed a nightclub. When renowned comedian and writer John Belushi was looking for a new talent in Toronto for a radio show titled ‘The National Lampoon Radio Hour’, he met Dan.
Along with Belushi, he featured in the first season of comedy television series ‘Saturday Night Live’ in 1975. As part of this show, he revived the musical act of the Blue Brothers with host James Belushi.
In 1992, in association with several well known persons of Hollywood and music industry, he set up the House of Blues, a chain of 13 live music concert halls to promote African-American cultural contributions of blues music and folk art.
In 1984, his film ‘Ghostbusters’ appeared. The film marks his efficiency as one of its lead actors, co-writers and co-creators. The film was a huge success. He made his directorial debut with ‘Nothing but Trouble’ in 1991. The film did not succeed at the box office.
On March 24, 2007, he made a guest appearance on ‘Saturday Night Live’ as a crying fan of ‘American Idol’ finalist Sanjaya Malakar. He skilfully represented the character of U.S. House Minority leader John Boehner in the show on February 14, 2009.
In the same year, he co-wrote and appeared in ‘Ghostbusters: The Video Game’. His writing works also include his creation of liner notes for blues musician JW-Jones’ album ‘Bluelisted’ in 2008.
He hosts the programme ‘House of Blues Radio Hour’, a weekly show of Jazz FM in the character of Elwood Delaney aka Elwood Blues. At present, he also tours with his Blues Brothers.
From 1975 to 1979, he was a part of ‘Saturday Night Live’ (SNL), an American late-night comedy programme as a writer and actor. He created his individual identity in this show through his lively acting and his outstanding performance as an impersonator.
He made caricatures of celebrities like Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon and Rod Serling in this show. He has also played different types of characters for SNL. One of his most memorable performances in SNL was his presentation of a fake television commercial ‘Super Bass-O-Matic ’76’ sketch.
Together with Belushi, he formed The Blues Bothers in 1978, as part of ‘Saturday Night Live’. Due to the popularity of their combined performances, they executed live gags.
The popularity of The Blues Brothers resulted in the release of a successful album titled ‘Briefcase Full of Blues’ in 1978. In 1980, a film was also made based on their widely acknowledged combined effort.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1983, he married actress Donna Dixon, his co-star in the films like ‘Doctor Detroit’ and ‘The Couch Trip’. They are the proud parents of three daughters. He is a permanent resident of the United States.
This famous comedian was born with syndactyly, a physical condition where two or more fingers are attached together. Moreover, he was born with heterochromia for which he possesses eyes with two different colours. His right eye is green and his left eye is brown.