As an original member of the "Saturday Night Live" cast, Dan Aykroyd introduced himself to the world with characters like Beldar Conehead, Julia Child, and his Jimmy Carter impersonation was one of the first of many presidential imitations on the long-running sketch comedy show. Together with his friend and partner-in-crime John Belushi, Dan rocketed to popularity thanks to the success of the show, and quickly found himself writing and starring in major motion pictures.
This May, Aykroyd will return to the small screen on TV Land's original sitcom "Happily Divorced." The veteran actor, comedian and vodka distiller (seriously!) will take a guest starring role as a potential new love interest for one of the stars of the show, Fran Drescher. We thought it might be fun to take a look back at Dan's long career and highlight some of his most memorable roles.
Boolie Werthan in "Driving Miss Daisy" - What makes this performance from Aykroyd so unique is that it's a much more serious or dramatic role than most of what he's done in films and television. He showed his range playing the son of Daisy Werthan, played by Hollywood icon Jessica Tandy. The film gave Aykroyd a chance to work with not just Tandy, but another legend of film, Morgan Freeman. Dan more than held his own, and gave a heartwarming performance that earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Louis Winthrope III in "Trading Places" - Films in which one person's life is "traded" with another's have been made by the handful. What makes this film so great is that it was made in 1983 when both Aykroyd, playing a super-snobby investment banker, is forced to trade lives with a young, and super-talented Eddie Murphy as a street con artist. The two were definitely at the top of their game, and both gave tremendously funny performances, leading the way towards box-office success.
Roman Craig in "The Great Outdoors" - Writer and director John Hughes created some of the most popular and legendary films of the 1980s. In this movie, John Candy plays a man whose vacation is turned upside-down when his in-laws show up at the cabin he's staying in with his family. Aykroyd is the cocky brother-in-law that drives Candy mad, and it's obvious that the two knew each other very well, because there was a level of intimate knowledge of each other's timing that really made this film very funny and popular among movie goers.
Ray Stantz in "Ghostbusters" - In terms of his film career, Aykroyd will likely be forever tied first and foremost to that of Dr. Raymond Stantz, one of the four members of the Ghostbusters. With co-stars Harold Ramis and Bill Murray, Dan helped create a cultural phenomenon as the bookish and quirky Ray. It also needs to be mentioned that he created the characters and co-wrote the script with fellow Buster Ramis. The film was a box-office bonanza and led to a sequel and a cartoon spin-off.
Elwood Blues in "The Blues Brothers" - Also written by Aykroyd, "The Blues Brothers" was a high-octane, laugh-a-minute film that also starred some incredibly talented musicians and featured amazing musical numbers. As one-half of the duo that also featured his best friend Belushi, the film takes the viewer on a ride all the way from Joliet Prison to a fantastic final, show-stopping musical number, and all the while Elwood gets to say some of the best lines in the film, including perhaps the most famous when asked by a lady if the pair are policemen. "No ma'am, we're musicians."
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