Date of Birth: July 1, 1952
Before working as a stand-up comedian in various Canadian nightclubs, Aykroyd studied sociology at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he began writing and performing comedy sketches. His success as a comic in school led him to work with the Toronto branch of the famed Second City improvisational troupe. During this time, Aykroyd met comedian and writer John Belushi, who had come to Toronto to scout new talent for "The National Lampoon Radio Hour."
In 1975, both Aykroyd and Belushi were chosen to appear in the first season of Canadian producer Lorne Michael's innovative comedy television series Saturday Night Live. It was as part of the show that Aykroyd gained notoriety for his dead-on impersonations of presidents Nixon and Carter. He also won fame for his other characters, such as Beldar, the patriarch of the Conehead clan of suburban aliens, and Elwood Blues, the second half of the Blues Brothers.
In 1980, he and Belushi reprised their popular SNL characters in The Blues Brothers, a terrifically successful venture that managed to become both one of the most often-quoted films of the decade and a true cult classic. Aykroyd and Belushi went on to team up one more time for Neighbors (1981) before Belushi's death in 1982. Aykroyd's subsequent films in the 1980s ranged from the forgettable to the wildly successful, with all-out comedies like Ghostbusters (1984) and Dragnet (1987) falling into the latter category. Many of these films allowed him to collaborate with some of Hollywood's foremost comedians, including fellow SNL alumni Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Eddie Murphy, as well as Tom Hanks and the late John Candy. He tried his hand at drama in 1989 as Jessica Tandy's son in Driving Miss Daisy and for his efforts won an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Although there were successes during the 1990s, like My Girl (1991), Chaplin (1992), Casper (1995), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) and Antz (1998), there were also flops: The Coneheads (1993), Exit to Eden (1994) and Sgt. Bilko (1996). Similarly, the long-awaited Blues Brothers 2000 (1998) proved to be a great disappointment.
However, Aykroyd continued to maintain a screen profile, starring as Kirk Douglas' son in the family drama Diamonds (1999) and with roles in the big screen blockbuster Pearl Harbor (2001), Crossroads (2002) and 50 First Dates (2004). In 2010 he provided the voice for the beloved title character in Yogi Bear, followed by a supporting role in the comedy The Campaign with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis.
Dan and his wife, actress Donna Dixon, have three daughters.