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Dan Aykroyd (1952)

Daniel Edward Aykroyd

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  Summary  

Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd, CM is a Canadian comedian, actor, screenwriter, musician, winemaker and ufologist. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.

  Biography  

 early life
Aykroyd was born on July 1, 1952, at the Ottawa General Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He grew up in the Canadian capital, where his father, Samuel Peter Aykroyd, a civil engineer, worked as a policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. His mother, Lorraine Hélène (née Gougeon), is a secretary, of French Canadian descent. His brother, Peter, also became a comedy actor. Aykroyd was born with syndactyly , which was revealed in the movie Mr. Mike's Mondo Video and in a short film on Saturday Night Live (Don't Look Back In Anger). He was also born with heterochromia . His right eye is green and his left eye is brown.

Aykroyd's great-grandfather, Samuel Augustus Aykroyd (1855–1933), a dentist, had been a mystic and had been involved in Spiritualism, which would greatly interest Aykroyd, who stated that "All that stuff was hanging around the old farmhouse I grew up in, so I was kind of steeped in it".

Aykroyd was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, and had intended to become a priest until the age of seventeen. He attended St Pius X and St Patrick's. He went on to study 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 in Toronto for several years.

Aykroyd's musical career was initially developed in Ottawa, particularly through his regular attendances at Le Hibou, a club that featured many blues artists. He describes these influences as follows:

...there was a little club there called Le Hibou, which in French means 'the owl'. And it was run by a gentleman named Harvey Glatt, and he brought every, and I mean every blues star that you or I would ever have wanted to have seen through Ottawa in the late 50s, well I guess more late 60s sort of, in around the Newport jazz rediscovery. I was going to Le Hibou and hearing James Cotton, Otis Spann, Pinetop Perkins, and Muddy Waters. I actually jammed behind Muddy Waters. S. P. Leary left the drum kit one night, and Muddy said 'anybody out there play drums? I don't have a drummer.' And I walked on stage and we started, I don't know, Little Red Rooster, something. He said 'keep that beat going, you make Muddy feel good.' And I heard Howlin' Wolf . Many, many times I saw Howlin' Wolf. As well as The Doors. And of course Buddy Guy, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. So I was exposed to all of these players, playing there as part of this scene to service the academic community in Ottawa, a very well-educated community. Had I lived in a different town I don't think that this would have happened, because it was just the confluence of educated government workers, and then also all the colleges in the area, Ottawa University, Carleton, and all the schools—these people were interested in blues culture.

 other work
Concurrent 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 , with uneven results both commercially and artistically. He co-starred with Belushi in three films, The Blues Brothers, Neighbors and 1941. One of his best-received performances was as a blueblood-turned-wretch in the 1983 comic drama Trading Places; a notable flop was in the earlier 1941 (director Steven Spielberg received the brunt of the criticism, but Aykroyd's performance as an Army Sergeant was either played straight or completely manic).

Aykroyd originally wrote the role of Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters with Belushi in mind, but rewrote the part for Bill Murray after Belushi died. Aykroyd used to joke that the green ghost (who would later come to be known as "Slimer") was "the ghost of John Belushi", based on the similar party animal personality. Ghostbusters became a huge success for Aykroyd as a co-creator, co-writer, and one of the lead actors; the film's inspiration came from Aykroyd's fascination with parapsychology.

Aykroyd participated in the recording of "We are the World" in 1985.

Aykroyd was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for 1989's Driving Miss Daisy. He was the second SNL cast member to be nominated for an Oscar, the first being Joan Cusack .

His directorial debut was 1991's Nothing but Trouble. It starred Demi Moore, Chevy Chase, John Candy and Aykroyd sporting an oddly phallic prosthetic nose. The film was a critical and box office flop. Other films starring Aykroyd in the 1990s, included Exit to Eden, Blues Brothers 2000, and Getting Away with Murder; these were also poorly received. He also made an uncredited appearance in the Michael Moore film, Canadian Bacon as a motorcycle cop.

In 1994, Akroyd made a guest appearance in an episode of the sitcom The Nanny as a refrigerator repairman. In 1997, Aykroyd starred in a short-lived sitcom on ABC called Soul Man. The show lasted one season. In the 2000s, Aykroyd's film appearances have tended to be small character parts in big-budget productions, such as a signals analyst in Pearl Harbor and a neurologist in 50 First Dates. In 2001, Aykroyd starred in the Woody Allen film, The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

In February 2007, Aykroyd revealed that he would be providing voice-acting for a Ghostbusters III CGI project, though these rumours were clarified later on, that the CGI project was a next-gen video game that was currently in production. In 2009, Aykroyd along with Harold Ramis, wrote and appeared in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, which also featured Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, William Atherton, and Brian Doyle-Murray. On June 14, 2009, GameStop used an outgoing phone message pre-recorded by Aykroyd to invite pre-order customers to the launch event at 10 p.m.

Aykroyd wrote the liner notes for fellow Ottawa born blues musician JW-Jones' album Bluelisted .

In 2009, Aykroyd contributed a series of reminiscences on his upbringing in Canada for a charity album titled Dan Aykroyd's Canada.

Most recently, Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase guest starred in the Family Guy episode "Spies Reminiscent of Us". He also hosts the nationally-syndicated radio show House of Blues Radio Hour under his Blues Brothers moniker Elwood Blues.

Aykroyd appeared in two February 2011 episodes of CBS' The Defenders, which starred Jim Belushi. This information was announced November 29, 2010.

 personal life
Aykroyd is a naturalized citizen of the United States. In 1983, he married actress Donna Dixon, with whom he starred in the movies Doctor Detroit, Spies Like Us, and The Couch Trip. They have three daughters: Danielle Alexandra, Belle Kingston , and Stella Irene August . He maintains his Canadian roots as a longtime resident of Sydenham, Ontario, with his estate on Loughborough Lake.

Aykroyd described himself as having mild Tourette syndrome that was successfully treated with therapy when he was a preteen, as well as mild Asperger syndrome.

As of 2006, Aykroyd has entered a partnership with Niagara Cellars, which owns four wineries in the Niagara region. They will be marketing a series of red and white wines under his name. He spent a good amount of time in 2009 promoting his own Crystal Head Vodka, with his interest in the paranormal coming through with the drink's unique skull-shaped bottle. He is also considering a beer and vodka label with the Coneheads name.

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.

Aykroyd helped Dale start the Blue Line Foundation. They are redeveloping flood damaged lots in New Orleans and helping first responders buy them at reduced prices. Coastal Blue Line LLC, hopes to eventually to rebuild 400 properties in New Orleans.

In a recent radio interview with the Hill-Man Morning show, Aykroyd said if he could forget one film he did it would be Exit To Eden.

 Beliefs
Aykroyd considers himself a Spiritualist, stating that:

I am a Spiritualist, a proud wearer of the Spiritualist badge. Mediums and psychic research have gone on for many, many years... Loads of people have seen , heard a voice or felt the cold temperature. I believe that they are between here and there, that they exist between the fourth and fifth dimension, and that they visit us frequently.

His great-grandfather, a dentist, had been a mystic who had corresponded with author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the subject of Spiritualism, and who was a member of the Lily Dale Society.

Other than Spiritualism, Aykroyd is also interested in various other aspects of the paranormal, particularly ufology. He is a lifetime member of and official Hollywood consultant for the Mutual UFO Network. In 2005, Aykroyd produced a DVD titled, Dan Aykroyd: Unplugged on UFOs. In it, he is interviewed for 80 minutes by UFOlogist David Sereda where he discusses in depth every aspect of the UFO phenomenon, and reveals specifically that they are blue, not green, but appear that way because of a filter.

On September 29, 2009, Peter Aykroyd, father of Dan Aykroyd, published a book entitled, A History of Ghosts. This book chronicled the family's historical involvement in the Spiritualist Movement, to which Aykroyd readily refers. Aykroyd wrote the introduction and accompanied his father on a series of promotional activities, including launches in New York City and Toronto, an appearance on Larry King Live and various other public relations initiatives. Aykroyd also read the introduction for the audio version of the book.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Dan Aykroyd", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.