Date of Birth : Jul 1st 1952
Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning Canadian/American comedian, actor, screenwriter, and musician. He was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live, an originator of the Blues Brothers (with John Belushi), and has had a long career as a film actor and screenwriter.
Aykroyd was raised in the Catholic religion and had intended to become a priest until the age of seventeen. He attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute, St Pius X, and St Patrick’s, where he was briefly expelled from the latter: he dressed up a pig to look like the pope and brought it to school for show and tell. He went on to study criminology and sociology at Carleton University but dropped out before completing. He worked as a comedian in various Canadian nightclubs and ran an after-hours speakeasy (Club 505) in Toronto for several years. Aykroyd went on to gain experience in The Second City comedy troupe and in the National Lampoon stage shows. While working with Second City, Aykroyd moonlighted as the announcer for Citytv in Toronto.
He was known for his impersonations of celebrities like Jimmy Carter (talking a talk-show caller down from a bad acid trip), Richard Nixon, Julia Child (in an oft-replayed sketch where she cannot stop bleeding after cutting herself while cooking), Tom Snyder, and others. He was also known for his recurring roles, such as Beldar, father in the Coneheads family; with Steve Martin, one of the “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” Czech brothers; sleazy late-night cable TV host E. Buzz Miller 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, perhaps the retail leader of the “Bag-o” series of toys); Fred Garvin – male prostitute; and high-bred but low-brow critic Leonard Pinth-Garnell. He also co-hosted the Weekend Update segment for a season with Jane Curtin, coining the famous catchphrase “Jane, you ignorant slut” during point-counterpoint segments.
Aykroyd’s talent was recognized by others in the highly competitive SNL environment: when he first presented his famous “Super Bass-O-Matic ’76” sketch, a fake commercial in which a garish, hyper pitchman (modeled after Ron Popeil) touts a food blender that turns an entire bass into liquid pulp, “to the ‘Bass-O-Matic’ was so exhilaratingly strange that many remember sitting and listening, open-mouthed … Nobody felt jealous of it because they couldn’t imagine writing anything remotely like it.”
The Blues Brothers was a legitimate musical act, releasing the hit album Briefcase Full of Blues, in 1978, and performing live gigs. The Blues Brothers continue to tour today, featuring original members Lou Marini, Steve Cropper, Alan Rubin and Donald “Duck” Dunn, along with vocalist Eddie Floyd.
In 1992, Aykroyd, along with many other notable music and Hollywood personalities, founded the House of Blues. Its mission is to promote African-American cultural contributions of blues music and folk art. As of 2004, it was the second-largest live music promoter in the world, with seven venues and 22 amphitheaters in the United States and Canada. Aykroyd also contributes his voice to the weekly House of Blues Radio Hour, which he hosts in the character of Elwood Blues.
After leaving Saturday Night Live, Aykroyd starred in a number of mainly comedy films, with uneven results both commercially and artistically. When starting out in the film industry Aykroyd would star with his old friend Belushi in three films, The Blues Brothers, Neighbors and 1941. One of his best-received performances was as a blueblood-turned-wretch in the 1983 comic drama Trading Places; a notable flop was in the earlier 1941 (director Steven Spielberg received the brunt of the criticism, but Akyroyd’s performance as an Army Sergeant was either played straight or completely manic).
For a time, Aykroyd was engaged to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher (who hosted the Saturday Night Live episode in which Aykroyd and Belushi gave their first polished performance as the Blues Brothers, and had a role in the Blues Brothers film). He has been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame and maintains his Canadian roots as a longtime resident of Kingston, Ontario, with his estate on Loughborough Lake. In 1994 Aykroyd received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Carleton University. In 1998, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
As of 2006, Aykroyd has entered a partnership with Niagara Cellars, which owns four wineries in the Niagara region. They will be marketing a series of red and white wines under his name. He is also considering a beer and vodka label with the Coneheads name.
Aykroyd is a lifetime member of and official Hollywood consultant for the Mutual UFO Network. He is also a Reserve Commander for the Police Department in Harahan, Louisiana, working for Chief of Police Peter Dale. Aykroyd carries his badge with him at all times.