Daniel Edward Aykroyd, comedian, actor, screenwriter (b at Ottawa, 1 July 1952). Dan Aykroyd majored in sociology and was active with student theatre groups at Carleton University. He later became a member of the Second City comedy troupe in Toronto. He gained major television exposure in his variety of characters created for Canadian Lorne Lorne Michaels' Saturday Night Live between 1975 and 1980, including Elwood Blues and Beldar, one of the alien coneheads. He played Elwood in the highly successful film version of The Blues Brothers (1980), opposite the late John Belushi, an actor with whom he was often associated. He reprised the character in Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) as well as co-writing the screenplays for both films.
Dan Aykroyd in Avro Arrow
Aykroyd returned to Canada from Hollywood to star in the CBC miniseries The Arrow (1997), his first Canadian production in more than 20 years. He played Crawford Gordon, the president of A.V. Roe Canada Ltd., who created the Avro Arrow.
In the Movies
Dan Aykroyd has demonstrated his range and versatility as an actor in numerous films, culminating in the role of Miss Daisy's (Jessica Tandy's) son in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), which earned him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. He made his debut in the Canadian film Love at First Sight (1974). Other films include Steven Spielberg's 1941 (1979); Neighbors (1981); Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983); Ghostbusters (1984), as actor and co-screenwriter; Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984); Dragnet (1987); My Girl (1991); Celtic Pride (1996); Grosse Pointe Blank (1997); the animated Antz (1998); and Susan's Plan (1998).
Aykroyd appeared in Diamonds (1999) with Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall; Stardom (2000), directed by Denys Arcand; The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001), directed by Woody Allen; Ivan Reitman's Evolution (2001); and Bright Young Things (2003), Stephen Fry's adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel, Vile Bodies. Aykroyd directed Nothing But Trouble (1991), starring John Candy and Chevy Chase.
Naturally Dan Aykroyd has also been seen in films that were badly reviewed or poorly received by audiences. These have included Exit to Eden (1994); Getting Away with Murder (1996); Crossroads (2002), singer Britney Spears' film debut; Unconditional Love (2002); Christmas with the Kranks (2004); and White Coats (2004). His 2 films with Adam Sandler, 50 First Dates (2004) and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007) were undistinguished.
He has won 4 Emmy Awards: 1 shared with co-writers on SNL, 1 for supporting actor for Tuesdays with Morrie and 2 for his voice contributions to The Simpsons.
Change of Direction
He has become associated with wine-makers, partnering with Niagara Cellars in 2006 and releasing his Signature Reserve wines. His Vidal Ice Wine received the 2008 Ontario Wine Award for "Wine of the Year."
Honours at Home
Dan Aykroyd received an honorary Doctorate of Literature from Carleton University in 1994 and was named a member of the Order of Canada in 1998. In 2002, he was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.