Born on July 1, 1952, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Aykroyd had four years of undergraduate study at Carleton University in Ottawa in the fields of psychology, political science and criminology. In addition to those pursuits, he was also active in the college’s Sock and Buskin Drama Guild.
Aykroyd made his foray into showbiz in 1972 with “A Change for a Quarter,” a series of 15-minute comedy shows for a private cable company for which he served as producer, co-writer and actor. That same year, the budding comedian joined the famed Second City Comedy troupe and performed with them in Chicago and Toronto until 1974. During this early period of his career, Aykroyd co-wrote and co-starred in “Coming Up Rosie,” a children’s program for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as well as his first feature film, “Love at First Sight.”
Dan Aykroyd plays Mike Weber, a widowed minister who has a firm grasp on leading his parish but has a more difficult time raising his four rowdy kids in “Soul Man,” Touchstone Television’s newest half-hour comedy from the creators of the long running hit series “Home Improvement.”
Aykroyd describes Mike as “a guy who’s had a little bit of a black past. When he came to the point where he was devoid of moral conscience, he turned to the church for some kind of inspiration.”
As a member of the cast and writing staff of the brand-new “Saturday Night Live” in 1975, Aykroyd helped to forever change the face of television. Forming the Blues Brothers Band with John Belushi, the two recorded their hit Briefcase Full of Blues album in 1979. They went on to star in the hit comedy feature film “The Blues Brothers,” and embarked on a 10-city tour which spawned their Made in America live album. The duo also appeared together in Steven Spielberg’s “1941,” as well as the Zanuck/Brown film, “Neighbors.”
Aykroyd’s many film credits include starring roles in “Trading Places” with Eddie Murphy, “Doctor Detroit,” “The Couch Trip,” “The Great Outdoors,” “My Girl 2,” “North,” “Exit to Eden,” “Tommy Boy,” and “Rainbow.” He created and co-wrote both “Ghostbusters” movies and “Spies Like Us,” and also served as co-writer on “Dragnet” and “Coneheads.” Other credits include “My Stepmother is an Alien,” “Loose Cannons,” “Into the Night,” “Twilight Zone: The Movie” and “Caddyshack II.” In 1986, Aykroyd produced the feature film “One More Saturday Night” for home video and cable markets.
In 1990 Aykroyd was recognized for his dramatic ability with an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Boolie Werthan in “Driving Miss Daisy.” He made his directorial debut in 1991 with “Nothing But Trouble” in which he starred with pals Chevy Chase and John Candy. That same year he took another dramatic turn in “My Girl” with Jamie Lee Curtis, Macaulay Culkin and newcomer Anna Chlumsky. In the fall of 1992 he starred in the feature film “Sneakers” alongside Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, Ben Kingsly and River Phoenix. Later that year he portrayed legendary filmmaker Mack Sennett in the Richard Attenborough film “Chaplin.”
He also appeared in the films “Sgt. Bilko,” “Celtic Pride,” “Feeling Minnesota” and “Getting Away with Murder.” Movie audiences recently saw Aykroyd in “My Fellow Americans” with Jack Lemmon and James Garner, and the Hollywood Pictures “Grosse Point Blank.” During his summer hiatus, he completed work on the feature “Blues Brothers 2000.” The film, written, produced and starring Dan Aykroyd as Elwood Blues, will be released in early 1998.
In addition to his film pursuits, Aykroyd hosts the syndicated television program “Psi Factor” which chronicles paranormal activities. Not limiting himself to performing, Aykroyd is on the Board of Directors for The House of Blues, a restaurant/nightclub/entertainment company he co-founded with Isaac Tigrett (Co-founder of the Hard Rock Cafe). They currently have locations in Cambridge, MA, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Chicago. Aykroyd also hosts the House of Blues Radio Hour.