Dan Aykroyd has enjoyed a three decades long career in the entertainment business starting as a writer and performer on his local cable access station in 1970. He originated the show with his then partner Valri Bromfield. The program was fifteen minutes long and titled "Change For A Quarter."
Dan was born in Ottawa, Ontario Canada on July 1, 1952 (Canada Day) to parents of mixed heritage - a French Canadian Catholic mother and an English Canadian Anglican father. Both worked as public servants for the Canadian Federal Government. His maternal grandfather was a career Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sergeant. This stimulated in Dan a life long interest in law enforcement. He majored in sociology studying criminology and deviant psychology at Carleton University for four years. Writing papers on outlaw motorcycle gangs and Michigan Cosa Nostra families he also held a summer position as a Clerk 5 with the Canadian Penitentiary Service in the Solicitor-General's office. There Dan composed a standard manual for the deployment of correctional personnel in emergency situations. He also had jobs with the Canadian Department of Transport as an airport runway load-tester and at the Department of Public Works as a highway surveyor and flex-track/ATV assistant mechanic in the sub-Arctic.
Leaving University without a degree Dan moved full time to Toronto in 1972 to work for Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters Director) and Moses Znaimer at the ground breaking City-TV. In the summer of 1970 he had first performed on CBC network television as a writer/actor for producer Lorne Michaels in the Great Canadian Humour Test TV Special. Lorne was also the host and did a stand-up routine with a partner in his own network show.
Dan was awarded a Doctorate in Literature (Honoris Causa) from Carleton University in 1997 for recognition of his Saturday Night Live writing and for the nine produced screenplays on which he shares co-writing credits - LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT, BLUES BROTHERS, SPIES LIKE US, DRAGNET, GHOSTBUSTERS, GHOSTBUSTERS II, CONEHEADS, NOTHING BUT TROUBLE (VALKENVANIA), BLUES BROTHERS II. He also contributed uncredited material to the films NEIGHBORS and THE GREAT OUTDOORS.
Dan Aykroyd is also a Grammy and an Oscar nominee. The Grammy nomination was for Best New Artist 1979 for the triple platinum selling BRIEFCASE FULL OF BLUES record album which he recorded with his then partner John Belushi. The Oscar nomination was for his performance as Best Supporting Actor in the Best Picture of 1989 - Driving Miss Daisy. In total, the films with which Mr. Aykroyd has had principal associations have grossed close to one billion dollars worldwide box office. (A copy of his extensive filmography is attached). He was awarded an Emmy for his writing on the Saturday Night Live show starring Sissy Spacek.
n his persona as Elwood Blues he performs on seven CDs - BRIEFCASE FULL OF BLUES, BLUES BROTHERS MOVIE SOUNDTRACK, MADE IN AMERICA, BEST OF THE BLUES BROTHERS, DANCING WITH THE BLUES BROTHERS, BLUES BROTHERS - LIVE FROM CHICAGO, RHINO ESSENTIAL -THE BLUES BROTHERS. In total approximately five million units have been sold.
Dan was invested with the Order of Canada, being made a member of the Order in 1999 wherein he received a Vice-Regal decoration from the Governor General of Canada which is given to prominent Canadians who "desire to make a better country."
Until late 2002 Dan Aykroyd was a sworn Captain in the Reserve at the Department of Police in the City of Harahan, State of Louisiana. He served in an advisory capacity with the Reserve for four years and received a citation for youth anti-crime education.
During Dan's transition job from University to full-time professional entertainment in the early 70's he worked as a contract motor courier to the Royal Mail Service of Canada. He joined the pioneering Canadian Union of Postal Workers as an active member in 1969. He is a member of the Association of Canadian Television Radio Artists, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America and is a subscribing benefactor to the American Society for Psychical Research and the Mutual U.F.O. Network.
In 1983 he co-ventured as an investor with the co-founder of Hard Rock Cafe International, Mr. Isaac Tigrett to open U.S. outlets of the famous British American establishment in New York, Dallas and Washington, D.C. It was at the
New York's Hard Rock Cafe Inaugural Concert that Dan reconvened the original Blues Brothers band for the first time since the death of his partner John Belushi aka Jake Blues.
Performing thereafter in the Elwood Blues Revue Mr. Aykroyd opened the Supreme Court of Rock n' Roll Hard Rock in Dallas Texas in 1985. Mr. Tigrett sold the Hard Rock Cafe International Company to British entrepreneur Robert Earl in 1989.
Dan then recruited Jim Belushi to perform as Jake's blood brother Zee (Zurashayda) for a benefit concert underwriting Carleton University's Alumni fund in 1997 in the Opera Chamber at the National Arts Center in Ottawa Ontario Canada.
Mr. Aykroyd and Mr. Belushi have since performed as Elwood and Zee Blues for audiences at private and corporate events as well as for sold out audiences in casinos around the U.S. They have also performed to open House of Blues venues in America.
The House of Blues Entertainment Inc. was founded in 1993 by Mr. Isaac Tigrett, Mr. Aykroyd and Mr. Laurence Bilzerian. There are House of Blues concert hall/ restaurant/ retail stores in Los Angeles, California; New Orleans, Louisiana; North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Orlando at Disney West Florida; Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resorts in Nevada; Anaheim at Disneyland, California, Cleveland, Dallas and Houston. House of Blues Entertainment Inc. was acquired by Live Nation, the country’s largest live-entertainment and venue-management company, in 2006. As Elwood Blues, Dan hosts the 10 year running House of Blues Radio Hour which is syndicated on 180 radio stations through the United Stations Radio Networks.
After numerous live musical performances with both the original Blues Brothers Band and with the house band for House of Blues, the Sacred Hearts; Aykroyd and Belushi have decided to employ the talents of their current band in an entirely different way.
Several years ago they began an active search for material outside of what they were performing from the traditional Blues Brothers CD repertoire and the result was the.
HAVE LOVE WILL TRAVEL REVUE' in which Aykroyd and Belushi work as co-emcees, vocalists and dancers. "The songs and our band are the stars. We are there in service to these classic American songs" says Aykroyd. "Whereas the Blues Brothers sound is a Chicago-Memphis fusion, Have Love Will Travel has Cali-Texas-Louisiana infusion" adds Belushi. "
Aykroyd holds the rights to Patron Spirits which he is currently distributing throughout Canada. Patron Tequila is the number one selling tequila in North America and he hopes to do the same in his native country of Canada.
In December 2005, it was announced that Dan Aykroyd would be entering the wine business in Canada with his investing and partnering with Toronto-based Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits LTD.
Since this announcement, Dan Aykroyd, along with his partners, has launched several wines bearing his name including the Dan Aykroyd Discovery Series and the Dan Aykroyd Signature Reserve VQA Vidal Icewine. The former was named Canadian Wine of the Year by the Wine Council of Canada this year.
In June 2007, a major press conference was held where it was announced that Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits would build The Dan Aykroyd Winery in the heart of Canada’s wine region in Niagara.
The $12 million, 45,000-square-foot winery will feature a multi-level hospitality building and will pay tribute to the region’s terrain and to Dan Aykroyd’s 30-plus years of work in film and television by showcasing some of his favorite memorabilia throughout the building.
The success of his spirit business in Canada prompted Dan to enter the U.S. marketplace in December 2008 when he partnered with Jean-Charles Boisset whose family estate has been producing wines for centuries.
Dan has also launched Crystal Head Vodka which is produced in Newfoundland and it is a very pure spirit filtered through Herkimer Diamonds and designed by artist John Alexander.