Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd Headshot

Comedian • Actor • Musician

Birth Date: July 1, 1952

Age: 71 years old

Birth Place: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Partners: Carrie Fisher

Arguably the most formidable talent to emerge from the original ensemble of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), Canadian Dan Aykroyd enjoyed sustained success as a writer, actor and director, decades after his crucial role establishing the groundbreaking late night comedy show. He was beloved for his classic characterizations of white toast-eating Elwood Blues in "The Blues Brothers" (1980), humbled stock trader Louis Winthorpe III in "Trading Places" (1983), and enthusiastic parapsychologist Ray Stantz in "Ghostbusters" (1984), as well as remaining a fixture in American cinema - sometimes taking heat for a misstep in judgment ("Exit to Eden," 1994); other times surprising by taking home an Academy Award nomination ("Driving Miss Daisy," 1989). While continuing to work with younger comedy superstars such as Adam Sandler and Melissa McCarthy, the tireless actor, writer, and musician also evolved into a successful businessman, known the world round for his partnership in the "House of Blues" chain of nightclubs and the founding of his own Canadian winery. But it was his eccentric run on "SNL" during its golden first years - as well as his formidable onscreen partnership with real-life best friend, John Belushi - that would remain perhaps his greatest comedic legacy.

Daniel Edward Aykroyd was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on July 1, 1952 and grew up on a farm in Eastern Ontario that had been occupied by his family for six generations. His father was Canada's Assistant Deputy Minister of Transport and his mother was a secretary, also with the Canadian government. His father was also a psychic researcher, so an interest in the paranormal was bred into the future "Ghostbusters" creator from the word go. Rambunctious, hyperactive "Danny" was born ambidextrous, with two different colored eyes and webbed toes, and being raised by Catholic schools and seminary did little to solve any of his conditions. He learned to play drums, took drama and improv classes, and was active in local theater productions, while always holding down several jobs to finance his freedom. Aykroyd entered Carleton University in 1969 and studied political science and criminal sociology while writing and performing sketches with the college's renowned Sock and Buskin Drama Guild, one of the oldest student-run theaters in North America. At the age of 17, he gained his first professional experience with a short-lived sketch comedy TV show called "The Hart & Lorne Terrific Hour" starring future "SNL" producer Lorne Michaels - a good man to have in your corner during the seventies comedy world.

Aykroyd left Carleton a few years later, moving to Toronto, where he formed a comedy duo with Valerie Bromfield. He landed local TV jobs; first as an actor, writer, and producer for a series of comedy shorts called "Change for a Quarter;" and as co-writer and co-star of the kids show "Coming Up Rosie," whose fellow castmates included John Candy. In 1972, Aykroyd auditioned and was accepted into the famed Second City comedy troupe, a newly formed Toronto offshoot of the successful Chicago theater. He performed with Second City for two years while working as a TV announcer and managing a nightclub, where he first met future co-star and soulmate, John Belushi. The two clicked instantly, and while hanging out one night, Aykroyd put on a blues record that began Belushi's eventual transformation from a metalhead to a diehard Delta fan. In 1974, Aykroyd joined the Second City company in Chicago, where he earned a reputation for his dead-on impressions - most memorably, one of Richard Nixon as a car salesman. That same year Michaels, who had landed a position developing a late night comedy show for NBC, called Aykroyd to come to New York and audition for what would eventually become "Saturday Night Live."
A surprisingly anonymous and protean writer-performer amid a cast that boasted several strong personalities, he specialized in sketch comedy that allowed him to disappear into characters. Aykroyd displayed a flair for inspired mimicry with indelible impressions of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, as well as chef Julia Child. His odd comic creations included the paternal alien Beldar Conehead; E. Buzz Miller, a sleazy late-night cable TV host and his cousin, corrupt maker of children's toys and costumes, Irwin Mainway (who extolled the virtues and defended the safety of the "Bag-o-Glass" toy); and half of two very different "brother acts" - the "wild and crazy" Czechoslovakian brothers (with Steve Martin) and the retro-cool Blues Brothers (with John Belushi). Aykroyd won an Emmy for his writing work on "SNL," but despite the runaway success, both he and Belushi left the show in 1979 amid a deluge of feature film offers.

After making his US film debut in Steven Spielberg's period slapstick epic "1941" (1979), Aykroyd and Belushi co-starred in the gargantuan rock'n'roll comedy "The Blues Brothers" (1980), which Aykroyd co-wrote with director John Landis. Over the next few years, what had began as an "SNL" sketch about a pair of Blues-loving outlaws and their quest to save a Catholic School had grown into several albums, a nationwide live tour, an animated series and two feature films.

Unfortunately, at the same time the hottest comedy team were enjoying their success, drugs began seeping more insidiously into the backstage world - most particularly with Belushi - a man who had no control over his own appetites. While Aykroyd was far from a choir boy when it came to indulging in the accepted drugs of the day, it was Belushi who was growing increasingly out of control. And despite many attempts made by Aykroyd and Belushi's wife, Judy Jacklin-Belushi, they and everyone else who loved the portly comic could only sit back and watch the star begin his fast spin-out. The fabled team would make one more film together - the misbegotten comedy "Neighbors" (1981) before Belushi fatally overdosed in Los Angeles on March 5, 1982. It would take Aykroyd years to get over the loss and the guilt that he had not done more to save his friend.

But oddly enough, after Belushi's death, Aykroyd went on to become an even bigger star on his own terms, becoming a familiar face in '80s film comedy. He sometimes headlined ("Doctor Detroit," 1982; "My Stepmother is an Alien," 1988), but more often than not, shared the lead with comparable comics in a wildly variable series of films - with Eddie Murphy in John Landis' "Trading Places" (1983); Chevy Chase in Landis' "Spies Like Us" (1985); and Tom Hanks in "Dragnet" (1987). Lacking a distinct comic persona, Aykroyd had been most effective in character bits or playing highly stylized characters. A prime example of the former was his splendid comic duet with Albert Brooks in the Landis-directed shaggy dog prologue to "Twilight Zone - The Movie" (1983), while his hilariously uptight Joe Friday in "Dragnet" may have been his most sustained performance. As a screenwriter and performer, however, Aykroyd scored the biggest get of his career with the first multimillion-dollar scare comedy "Ghostbusters" (1984) and its popular 1989 sequel. He co-wrote both with co-star Harold Ramis and shrewdly gave all the best lines to cynical front man Bill Murray - a part he had originally written for Belushi, had he lived.

The late 1980s marked a change in direction in Aykroyd's film career. Now amiably beefy and middle-aged, he effectively transformed his screen image and earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination with his first (mostly) dramatic role as the dutiful son in "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989). Aykroyd became a respected character actor in various genres in '90s Hollywood movies, including a relatively restrained performance as the widowed father of a young girl in "My Girl" (1991) and its 1994 sequel "My Girl 2."
Following Aykroyd's critically despised debut as a writer-director - the atrocious "Nothing But Trouble" (1991) - Aykroyd provided sturdy support to Julie Kavner in Nora Ephron's "This Is My Life;" meshed well with a talented ensemble in the caper "Sneakers;" and even proved an acceptable Mack Sennett in Richard Attenborough's "Chaplin" - all in 1992. In 1993, he scripted and starred in the feature length version of "Coneheads," an appealing, silly family film that offered amusing cameos by a gaggle of "SNL" cast members from different eras. In 1995 and 1996, Aykroyd's list of movies not to see - "Canadian Bacon" (1995), "Celtic Pride" (1996) and "Getting Away with Murder" (1996), among others - made his few tolerable films - "Tommy Boy" (1995), "Sgt. Bilko" (1996) and "My Fellow Americans" (1996) - seem that much better by comparison. Aykroyd got back on track as a truculent assassin in George Armitage's snappy, stylized "Grosse Pointe Blank" (1997), forever pestering John Cusack to join his fledgling hit man's union, before he dusted off his blues outfit for unfortunate "Blues Brothers 2000" (1998), with John Goodman standing in for the late John Belushi. The film did nothing but prove the old adage, you can't go home again. And as much as Goodman gave it a go, it was not the same without Jake Blues.

The former "Not-Ready-for-Prime-Time Player" was ready for prime time in the spring of 1997, when his sitcom "Soul Man" - a spin-off of "Home Improvement" - premiered on ABC. The show cast Aykroyd as a widowed, motorcycle-riding Protestant minister raising four children, and was gone from the schedule by the fall of 1998. Aykroyd served as a creative consultant for the animated "The Blues Brothers" (1998), a mid-season replacement on the UPN Network, and wrote a third "Ghostbusters" film with Harold Ramis, but Bill Murray's lack of interest in doing a third entry left the film idea in limbo for several years.

Aykroyd continued to be a regular presence on the big screen, co-starring in "Diamonds' (1999) with Kirk Douglas and Corbin Allred, as three generations of men in search of a missing stash of gems. Focusing on supporting roles in a variety of genres, he also played Jason Biggs' father in the mild teen romantic comedy "Loser" (2000); one of Gillian Anderson's wealthy suitors in the film adaptation of Edith Wharton's period drama "House of Mirth" (2000); as a military officer in "Pearl Harbor" (2001); a cost-cutting insurance office boss in Woody Allen's "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" (2001); the Arizona governor in Reitman's dismal UFO comedy "Evolution" (2001); and - of all things - as Britney Spears' father in her film debut, "Crossroads" (2002).

After several memorable cameos over the years - especially as Sen. Bob Dole during the 1996 presidential election - Aykroyd at last formally served as host of "Saturday Night Live" in May of 2003. He also began a recurring role as Danny Michalski on his longtime pal Jim Belushi's hit sitcom "According to Jim" (ABC, 2002-09). On the big screen, Aykroyd had a low-profile role as Drew Barrymore's kindhearted doctor in the romantic comedy "50 First Dates" (2004), before reuniting with Jamie Lee Curtis for a fourth time in the predictable holiday hit, "Christmas with the Kranks" (2006). In 2007, Aykroyd appeared in the much-hyped Adam Sandler and Kevin James vehicle "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," while rumors of a "Ghostbusters" sequel - this one CGI animated - continued to swirl. And all the while, Aykroyd managed his "House of Blues" nightclubs around the world, as well as enjoyed longtime wedded bliss with his wife, actress Donna Dixon, and their family. Aykroyd continued to appear in smaller roles in films such as the Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakis satire "The Campaign" (2012), Steven Soderbergh's Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabra" (2011), and Melissa McCarthy's "Tammy" (2014), while taking on voice roles such as the title character in the animated "Yogi Bear" (2010). When Paul Feig finally brought forth the much-anticipated "Ghostbusters" (2016) reboot, Aykroyd signed on as an executive producer and made a cameo as a taxi driver.

Credits

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Actor
Ray Stantz
Movie
2024

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Executive Producer
Movie
2024

The UnBelievable With Dan AykroydStream

Executive Producer
Series
2023

The UnBelievable With Dan AykroydStream

Host
Series
2023

A History of the World in Six Glasses

Host
Docuseries
2023

Zombie Town

Actor
Len Carver
Movie
2023
50%

Access Daily With Mario & Kit

Guest
Show
2022

CBS Mornings

Guest
News
2021

Ghostbusters: AfterlifeStream

Actor
Dr. Raymond Stantz
Movie
2021
64%

Ghostbusters: AfterlifeStream

Executive Producer
Movie
2021
64%

Hotel ParanormalStream

Narrator
Reality
2020

BelushiStream

Self
Movie
2020
91%

Le fantastique Bill Murray

Self
Show
2019

31 Nights of Halloween Fan Fest

Actor
Show
2019

Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters

Actor
Show
2019

Cleanin' Up The Town: Remembering Ghostbusters

Self
Movie
2019

Der fantastische Mr. Murray

Self
Movie
2019

Defend, Conserve, Protect

Narrator
Movie
2019

The ConnersStream

Guest Star
Buddy
Series
2018
93%

Sidelines

Guest
Show
2017

A Capitol Fourth

Music Performer
Show
2017

The World Without Canada

Narrator
Show
2017

Workin' MomsStream

Guest Star
Series
2017

A Nation Soars

Narrator
Show
2016

Bill Murray: The Mark Twain Prize

Guest
Show
2016

Born In Chicago

Narrator
Show
2016

Ghostbusters

Actor
Cabbie
Movie
2016

Ghostbusters

Executive Producer
Movie
2016

Good Fortune

Self
Movie
2016

The Gift of Winter

Actor
Show
2015

Jay Leno's GarageStream

Guest Star
Reality
2015

Komiska genier

Actor
Show
2015

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

Tammy

Actor
Don
Movie
2014

Get On Up

Actor
Ben Bart
Movie
2014

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

Voice
Scarecrow
Movie
2014

The Social

Guest
Show
2013

The Game Changer

Actor
Detective Spencer
Movie
2013

Behind the CandelabraStream

Actor
Seymour Heller
Movie
2013
94%

World War II: Saving the Reality

Narrator
Show
2012

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

Larry King NowStream

Guest
Talk
2012

The Campaign

Actor
Wade Motch
Movie
2012

Art Car: The Movie

Actor
Movie
2012

Born to Explore With Richard Wiese

Guest
Show
2011

Happily DivorcedStream

Guest Star
Series
2011

The Marilyn Denis Show

Guest
Show
2011

The Fran Drescher Tawk Show

Guest
Show
2010

The DefendersStream

Guest Star
Judge Max Hunter
Series
2010
74%

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

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Show
2010

Saturday Kitchen Live

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Show
2010

Mark at the Movies

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Show
2010

Yogi Bear

Voice
Yogi
Movie
2010

Unbeaten

Narrator
Movie
2010

Flip, Flop, and Fly, 40 Years of the Downchild Blues Band

Actor
Movie
2010

Alan Carr: Chatty Man

Guest
Show
2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

Growing Bolder

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Show
2008

Hollywood & Dine

Guest
Show
2008

War, Inc.

Actor
Mr. Vice President
Movie
2008

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and LarryStream

Actor
Capt. Tucker
Movie
2007
14%

Shortcut to Happiness

Actor
Julius Johnson
Movie
2007

etalk

Guest
Show
2006

Entertainment Tonight Canada

Guest
Show
2005

The Martha Stewart Show

Guest
Reality
2005

Living with Fran

Guest Star
Series
2005
0%

The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations Tour

Actor
Show
2004

The Beach Boys: Good Vibrations Tour

Writer
Show
2004

50 First DatesStream

Actor
Dr. Keats
Movie
2004
45%

Intern Academy

Actor
Dr. Cyrill Kipp
Movie
2004

Christmas with the KranksStream

Actor
Vic Frohmeyer
Movie
2004
5%

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

Bright Young Things

Actor
Lord Monomark
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2003

Crossroads

Actor
Pete
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2002

Unconditional Love

Actor
Max Beasley
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2002

According to JimStream

Guest Star
Series
2001

Earth vs. the Spider

Actor
Det. Insp. Jack Grillo
Movie
2001

Pearl HarborStream

Actor
Captain Thurman
Movie
2001
24%

Evolution

Actor
Governor Lewis
Movie
2001

On the Nose

Actor
Dr. Barry Davis
Movie
2001

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

Actor
Chris Magruder
Movie
2001

Stardom

Actor
Barry Levine
Movie
2000

Loser

Actor
Dad
Movie
2000

The House of MirthStream

Actor
Gus Trenor
Movie
2000
82%

Family Guy

Guest Voice
Himself
Show
1999

Family GuyStream

Guest Voice
Himself
Series
1999

Diamonds

Actor
Lance
Movie
1999

Blues Brothers 2000Stream

Actor
Elwood Blues
Movie
1998
46%

Blues Brothers 2000Stream

Producer
Movie
1998
46%

Blues Brothers 2000Stream

Writer
Movie
1998
46%

AntzStream

Voice
Chip
Movie
1998
92%

Susan's Plan

Actor
Bob
Movie
1998

Soul Man

Actor
Rev. Mike Weber
Show
1997

The Arrow

Actor
Show
1997

Grosse Pointe BlankStream

Actor
Grocer
Movie
1997
82%

Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal

Host
Show
1996

Arcoiris

Actor
Movie
1996

Sgt. Bilko

Actor
Col. John T. Hall
Movie
1996

Celtic Pride

Actor
Jimmy Flaherty
Movie
1996

Rainbow

Actor
Sheriff Wyatt Hampton
Movie
1996

Getting Away With Murder

Actor
Jack Lambert
Movie
1996

Feeling MinnesotaStream

Actor
Ben Costikyan
Movie
1996
14%

My Fellow Americans

Actor
President William Haney
Movie
1996

Tommy BoyStream

Actor
Ray Zalinsky
Movie
1995
39%

The Random Factor

Voice
Dexter
Movie
1995

North

Actor
Pa Tex
Movie
1994

Exit to Eden

Actor
Fred Lavery
Movie
1994

The NannyStream

Guest Star
Series
1993

Cityline

Guest
Show
1993

ConeheadsStream

Actor
Beldar Conehead/Donald R. DeCicco
Movie
1993
35%

ConeheadsStream

Screenwriter
Movie
1993
35%

My Girl 2

Actor
Harry Sultenfuss
Movie
1993

This Is My Life

Actor
Arnold Moss
Movie
1992

SneakersStream

Actor
Mother
Movie
1992
80%

ChaplinStream

Actor
Mack Sennett
Movie
1992
60%

Home ImprovementStream

Guest Star
Series
1991

Nothing but Trouble

Actor
Judge Alvin "J.P" Valkenheiser/Bobo
Movie
1991

Nothing but Trouble

Director
Movie
1991

My GirlStream

Actor
Harry Sultenfuss
Movie
1991
50%

Loose Cannons

Actor
Ellis Fielding
Movie
1990

The SimpsonsStream

Guest Voice
Postage Stamp Fellow
Series
1989
85%

Tales From the Crypt

Actor
Series
1989
82%

Ghostbusters IIStream

Actor
Doctor Raymond Stantz
Movie
1989
55%

Ghostbusters IIStream

Writer
Movie
1989
55%

Driving Miss DaisyStream

Actor
Boolie Werthan
Movie
1989
85%

The Couch Trip

Actor
John Burns
Movie
1988

The Great OutdoorsStream

Actor
Roman Craig
Movie
1988
40%

My Stepmother Is an Alien

Actor
Steven Mills
Movie
1988

J'ai épousé une extra-terrestre

Actor
Movie
1988

Caddyshack II

Actor
Capt. Tom Everett
Movie
1988

DragnetStream

Actor
Sgt. Joe Friday
Movie
1987
50%

DragnetStream

Screenwriter
Movie
1987
50%

One More Saturday Night

Executive Producer
Movie
1986

Into the Night

Actor
Herb
Movie
1985

Spies Like Us

Actor
Austin Millbarge
Movie
1985

Spies Like Us

Screenwriter
Movie
1985

Nothing Lasts Forever

Actor
Buck Heller
Movie
1984

GhostbustersStream

Actor
Doctor Raymond Stantz
Movie
1984
95%

GhostbustersStream

Writer
Movie
1984
95%

Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomStream

Actor
Weber
Movie
1984
77%

Docteur Détroit

Actor
Movie
1983

Doctor Detroit

Actor
Clifford Skridlow / Doctor Detroit
Movie
1983

Trading PlacesStream

Actor
Louis Winthorpe III
Movie
1983
88%

It Came From Hollywood

Actor
Movie
1982

Entertainment Tonight

Guest
News
1981

Neighbors

Actor
Vic
Movie
1981

The Blues BrothersStream

Actor
Elwood Blues
Movie
1980
73%

The Blues BrothersStream

Writer
Movie
1980
73%

1941

Actor
Sgt. Frank Tree
Movie
1979

1941: La Folie gagne Hollywood

Actor
Movie
1979

Saturday Night Live: Live From Mardi Gras

Actor
Show
1977

Love at First Sight

Actor
Roy
Movie
1977

Saturday Night LiveStream

Actor
Series
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Guest
Series
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Guest Star
Series
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Host
Series
1975

The Gift of Winter

Actor
Goodly/Rotten
Movie
1974

Amor a la Primera Vista

Actor
Movie
1974

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonStream

Guest
Talk
1962

Today

Guest
News
1952

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