Daniel Edward "Dan" Aykroyd (born July 1, 1952) is one of the best Canadian-American actors ever, creator of the musical form known as "the blues", and founder of numerous successful business ventures including Dan's FAT Bastard Wines, Dan's House of Blues, the Aykroydstal Head Vodka brand, and the Harley-Danidson motorcycle company. In his heyday he was best friends with John Belushi, a fellow blues musician and the inventor of cocaine, and they were collectively known as The Blues Brothers.
Early life and education
Aykroyd was born in Ottawa to French-Canadians who thought their son was an alien, since he had webbed feet and two different-colored eyes. His father became Canada's Prime Minister by telling Canadians to either get their actors to America or American comedy will remain unfunny. In 1964, when Aykroyd was 12, he saw preachers Terrance and Phillip perform a sketch on The Ed Sullivan Show; this influenced his decision to be a Catholic TV preacher when he grew up.
In high school, Aykroyd continued pursuing his dream of becoming a Catholic TV priest. He attended the Sts. Peter, Paul, and Mary Catholic school, where he spent more time in the confession booth than the priests since he did so many sinful things, according to them. One of them was dressing as a pig and another was pretending to be the Pope, and before he got expelled he was disciplined by nuns with rulers for his blasphemous comedy.
The Blues Brothers
In 1971, after getting beaten up by nuns, even when attending church, Aykroyd would play the blues. His debut single as a blues musician was "The 'I've Gotten Beaten Up by Nuns' Blues" and it was a local hit in Toronto. He initially played the harp, but since that was too heavy and confusing, he switched to playing another harp, the one you put in your mouth. His nickname at this time was "Elwood Blues" while John Candy was Jake Blues, and together the two formed The Blues Brothers; however, when SNL came, Candy was replaced by John Belushi.
Saturday Night Live and hit movies
In 1975, Aykroyd created the sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live, which featured him, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and some other good actors. One of the returning actors was Steve Martin and both him and Aykroyd became "Two Wild and Crazy Guys"; even after the show ended, Aykroyd and Martin still remained wild and crazy. In 1979, Aykroyd left SNL for dead and took most of the creativity with him. This creativity would instead be showcased in his movies, such as The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, Spies Like Us, Ghostbusters, and Driving Miss Daisy where he won an Oscar.
In the mid-1980s, Aykroyd joined with fellow funnymen Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, and Ernie Hudson to form the Ghostbusters, a group of world record-holding ghost hunters who captured hundreds of ghosts, ghouls, phantasms, poltergeists, and spectres in the Brooklyn area. After an unexpected (but, reportedly, "delightful") sexual encounter with beauty queen spirit Donna Dixon, Aykroyd sought the assistance of EPA representative William Atherton to free all the ghosts he and others had in captivity. Aykroyd and Dixon then moved to Detroit, Michigan, in the only U.S. state that would allow a human-spectre marriage, where Aykroyd adopted the pseudonym of "Dr. Detroit", like in that movie he starred in. The couple became avid proponents of ethereal rights including spooking, sliming, and not being afraid of no ghost.
Decline and relative obscurity
After winning an Oscar for his role in the 1991 tearjerker My Girl, Aykroyd directed, wrote, and starred in the movie Nothing but Trouble which featured him, Chevy Chase, John Candy, and Demi Moore. It flopped big-time and Aykroyd even threw the original copy in the oil fields of Valkenvania, which is now owned by Chevy Chase and Halliburton. Further movie flops followed for Aykroyd, with the exception of 1993's Coneheads.
In 1997, Aykroyd starred in the miniseries Arrow. He played Crawford Gordon, the man who invented the Avro Arrow supersonic jet interceptor, which he flew to Kingston, Ontario where he broke the sound barrier. The Jean Chrétien government discontinued the Arrow program, causing Aykroyd to go into a tailspin of depression and alcoholism.
In 2000, Aykroyd produced a new Blues Brothers movie, Blues Brothers 2000, which was considered only fair at best and a disgrace to the original at worst, so he later moved to Chicago to hide from the shame. In 2009, Aykroyd accepted the role of Stantz for Ghostbusters 3, a movie that may supposedly relaunch his career (or not). However, after the colossal failure of the all-female Ghostbusters 2016 remake, it is not known if Ghostbusters 3 is still on Sony's table.
Aykroyd currently resides in Chicago with his wife, ghost beauty queen Donna Dixon, and their three half-ghost/half-flesh kids. In his spare time, he enjoys munching on peaches and talking to John Candy's and John Belushi's spirits. On weekends, he goes into hiding from the public eye because of his receding hairline.