Dan Aykroyd has enjoyed a successful career in many aspects of the entertainment industry. This actor, musician, comedian, and filmmaker has worked in both film and television, and both in front of and behind the cameras. The level of success he has achieved during his career means that he is now estimated to have a personal net worth of $135 million. So, how did Dan Aykroyd get so rich?
Aykroyd was born on July 1, 1952, in Ontario, Canada. After leaving high school, he briefly attended Carleton University where he studied criminology and sociology. However, he soon realized that the academic life was not for him and dropped out. Instead, he began performing stand-up on the local comedy circuit. He also ran his own after-hours speakeasy for several years in Toronto, Canada. At the same time, Aykroyd began to build his career in music. Much of this was done in Ottawa, especially at a club called The Owl. Aykroyd then got his first professional experience alongside Lorne Michaels in a sketch comedy series called The Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour.
The comedian’s career didn’t really take off until he appeared in an episode of Saturday Night Live in 1975 as one of the original cast members. Originally, he had been hired as a writer for the series, but it was decided that he was perfect for this show. At that time, he was the youngest member of the cast. He remained a part of the show until 1979. Around the same time, Aykroyd formed The Blues Brothers Band with his close friend John Belushi, who was also a cast member of Saturday Night Live. Their band also included Steve Cropper, Lou Marini, Alan Rubin, and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn. In 1978, the band released the album ’Briefcase Full of Blues’, which became one of the highest-selling blues albums ever as it sold 3.5 million copies. The band raised their popularity in the hit 1980 film ‘The Blues Brothers’ and the 1998 sequel ‘The Blues Brothers 2000. The band still tour together to this day.
Although Aykroyd was originally known for his appearances on Saturday Night Live and as a member of The Blues Brothers, he has actually made most of his money from his work in films. He is especially well known for his comedic performances. His first three features films all also starred John Belushi. The first of these was the 1979 Steven Spielberg film ‘1941’. ‘The Blues Brothers was the second film in which both Aykroyd and Belushi appeared. In 1981, they both appeared in ‘Neighbors’. Aykroyd then began to appear in films that did not co-star Belushi. ‘Trading Places’ was the first of these in 1983. This also starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Eddie Murphy. Aykroyd was highly praised for his performance in this film. By the early 1980s. Aykroyd was a very famous actor and he was in demand to appear in films. He was also a budding screenwriter and began to work on scripts. One of these was for ‘Ghostbusters’, in which he also starred. This 1984 film is one with which people often associate Dan Aykroyd.
The 1980s were a busy period in Aykroyd’s life as he appeared in multiple films during this decade, while also continuing to perform with his band. Some of the films in which he appeared during the 1980s include ‘Spies Like Us’, ‘Dragnet’, ‘Ghostbusters II’, and ‘Driving Miss Daisy’. For the latter, Aykroyd was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. Wanting to become more involved in the filmmaking process, Aykroyd turned his hand to directing. His directorial debut was ‘Nothing but Trouble’, which was released in 1991. This film had an excellent cast, including John Candy, Demi Moore, and Chevy Chase. Despite the great line-up and Aykroyd’s vast experience in the film industry, this movie was a flop.
During the 1990s, Aykroyd starred in many films, although many of them were unsuccessful. Two of the movies that were a hit in the box office and that received great reviews from the critics included ‘Tommy Boy’ and ‘Grosse Pointe Blank’. In this decade, the actor also made many television appearances. His work during the 2000s included ‘The Curse of the Jade Scorpion’, ’50 First Dates’, ‘Antz’, and ‘Pearl Harbor’. According to Wealthy Gorilla, Dan Aykroyd is now worth $135 million, and he is in 17th position on their wealthiest comedians in the world list. He has predominantly made this money from his acting career. Most recently, this has included a cameo role in the 2016 remake of ‘Ghostbusters’, of which he was also an executive producer. However, he has also made money through several business ventures.
His first business venture was to open a chain of music venues called House of Blues along with Isaac Tigrett, the founder of the Hard Rock Café chain. The aim of the music venues was to promote the cultural contributions to blues music and folk art by African Americans. At first, they opened just one venue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. However, they quickly expanded to New Orleans and then to other locations across the United States. Now, there are seven venues and 22 amphitheaters throughout the United States, making House of Blues the second-largest live music promoter in the world.
This was not Dan Aykroyd’s only business venture. He also co-founded a company called Crystal Head Vodka with artist John Alexander in 2007. This is a high-end brand of vodka that is filtered through Herkimer diamond crystals. It is distinctive because it comes in a bottle that is in the shape of a skull. In his personal life, Dan Aykroyd has been married to actress Donna Dixon since 1983. The couple met when they were filming ‘Doctor Detroit’ together. They have since worked with each other in several more films. Aykroyd and Dixon have three daughters together; Danielle, Stella, and Belle. The family lives on a huge estate on Loughborough Lake in Sydenham, Ontario.
Written by Allen Lee
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