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.
Dan moved full time to Toronto in 1972 to work for Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters Director) at City-TV. In 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.
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.
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. The films with which Mr. Aykroyd has had principal associations have grossed close to one billion dollars worldwide. He was awarded an Emmy for his writing on the Saturday Night Live show starring Sissy Spacek.
Dan was invested with the Order of Canada, which is given to prominent Canadians who “desire to make a better country.” 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 establishment.
House of Blues Entertainment Inc. was founded in 1993 by Mr. Isaac Tigrett, Mr. Aykroyd and Mr. Laurence Bilzerian. As Elwood Blues, Dan hosts the 20 year running Elwood’s BluesMobile Radio Hour (formerly House of Blues Radio Hour) which is syndicated on 180 radio stations through the United Stations Radio Networks. House of Blues was sold to Live Nation Entertainment in 2006.
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, Dan Aykroyd entered the wine business in Canada with his investing and partnering with Toronto-based Diamond Estates Wines & Spirits LTD.
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. The success of his spirit business in Canada prompted Dan to enter the U.S. marketplace in December 2008 with his Crystal Head Vodka which is produced in Newfoundland. CHV won the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition. The award winning vodka is renowned for being filtered through Herkimer Diamonds and contains no additives. The beautiful glass bottle was designed by famed artist John Alexander and is made by the renowned Bruni Glass Company.