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Whatever happened to Dan Aykroyd?

When Saturday Night Live premiered in 1975, Dan Aykroyd was one of the original cast members, and despite the ensemble's nickname of the Not Ready for Primetime Players, he was just one of the SNL stars who used the show as his breakout gig. After performing a popular musical sketch with castmate John Belushi as the Blues Brothers, the duo took the concept even further and formed an actual band, with a hit album and film to follow. In 1984, Aykroyd cowrote and starred in the massively popular Ghostbusters alongside Ernie Hudson, Harold Ramis, and fellow SNL vet Bill Murray. Later still, he became a co-founder of the House of Blues, a chain of music venues. 

Aykroyd was a frequent presence at cineplexes throughout the '80s and early '90s, but he hasn't worked on any high-profile projects in quite a while. Wondering where Dan Aykroyd has been lately? Turns out he's been busy with a number of different things — and like a true Ghostbuster, he's still just as passionate about all things paranormal. 

Dan Aykroyd still performs with The Blues Brothers Band

In the Blues Brothers film, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd played Jake and Elwood, brothers "on a mission from God" to save the Catholic orphanage where they were raised from foreclosure. In order to come up with the money, they need to bring their R&B band back together and escape the police, Jake's ex-fiancee, and a group of Nazis on their tail. 

But the Blues Brothers Band wasn't just a fictional group — they were a real band, and they were actually rather successful. It may have begun as a joke on Saturday Night Live, but Belushi and Aykroyd genuinely loved performing and singing the blues. Although the band's lineup has never been the same since Belushi's untimely death at age 33, they do still perform. Members have come and gone over the years, but the Blues Brothers Band still has a following; in recent years, Aykroyd has fronted the current version alongside Belushi's brother Jim. 

Dan Aykroyd spread the blues through Elwood's BluesMobile

That SNL skit became bigger than Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi ever imagined, and the whole concept of the Blues Brothers Band took on a life of its own. There were the tours, the albums, the film, and for more than 20 years, Aykroyd hosted the radio show "Elwood's BluesMobile," which he used to showcase the best of blues music for his listeners.  

Aykroyd hosted the show until 2017, when he had to call it quits because his producer, Ben Manila, contracted a serious illness, and needed to step back from work responsibilities while recovering. "Please tip a cold one for us before you continue on your way.  Watch our tail lights as we vanish in the distance, then get back to it," Aykroyd wrote in a farewell address to fans. "Remember:  The blues never dies.  It will never run out of road. That road goes on forever."

Dan Aykroyd helped New Orleans rebuild after Katrina

Although Dan Aykroyd hasn't been spending as much time in front of the camera lately, he's been involved with charitable efforts that keep him busy. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Aykroyd wanted to find a way to help the citizens of New Orleans rebuild their city. He was especially concerned for the first responders who had done so much for the residents left behind, but were struggling themselves to get back on their feet after the storm destroyed their communities. 

By working with the Blueline Foundation, Aykroyd helped fund the rebuilding efforts for first responders. He aimed to help police officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel who were displaced by the storm to settle in affordable housing back in New Orleans. Why was he so invested in this cause? Aykroyd has always loved the New Orleans blues scene, and he wanted to give back to this city. 

"I'm happy to throw my waning days of celebrity behind . . . the organization to bring housing back to first responders and to entice people to come back to this city and make a positive contribution to its recovery," Aykroyd joked in an interview with Nola.com

Dan Aykroyd works with law enforcement

Dan Aykroyd would be the first person to admit that playing a police officer would not make him qualified to work in law enforcement in real life, but after work took him to Jackson, Mississippi, he developed a strong relationship with the local police department. He worked on the James Brown biopic Get On Up in Jackson, and grew to appreciate the city's culture; in 2014, he was actually sworn in as a reserve deputy for the Hind's County Sheriff's office.  

Aykroyd's involvement with the police department isn't as surprising as it may sound. Through the Blueline Foundation, Aykroyd has worked to provide underfunded police departments with the resources they need. "We have rural police departments that call and ask us for laptops. For flashlights. Ballpoint pens, for little things they don't even have the money to buy," Aykroyd told the Clarion Ledger. Through his donations, Aykroyd hopes to make it possible for police officers to have better relationships with the residents of the towns they serve. 

Dan Aykroyd is the co-owner of Crystal Head Vodka

In addition to acting and his charitable efforts, Dan Aykroyd is also the co-owner of the Crystal Head Vodka brand, known for its skull-shaped bottles. In addition to the bottle, Crystal Head's name also refers to a unique filtration process that sends the product through semi-precious quartz crystals called Herkimer diamonds. Aykroyd says that this process makes a difference, resulting in a "smoother" taste in comparison to other vodka brands.

What inspired the brand name and bottle design? Aykroyd was fascinated by the legends about magical crystal skulls that were once in the possession of indigenous tribes around the world. According to some New Age theories, there are 13 such skulls, and they "can be used to project positive energy and enlightenment." Aykroyd also believes that quartz crystals like the ones his company utilizes "promote human healing and well being."

Dan Aykroyd is a big believer in UFOs

Dan Aykroyd is a serious believer in UFOs. During an interview on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Aykroyd displayed encyclopedic knowledge of countless alleged abduction claims, not to mention a confidence that aliens are real and visit us regularly. 

"I think at this point, we can accept that these ships are real, that they're advanced," Aykroyd said. "There's just so much footage, so many reports, so many landing sites... There are many different species."

In addition to claiming several personal UFO sightings, Aykroyd believes that at one point, aliens tried to summon him from his home and reveal themselves to him. One night in 1987, he woke up around 3 AM, convinced that aliens were communicating with him from right outside his house. "I gotta go outside!" Aykroyd remembered shouting to his wife. "They're calling me!...They want me to see!" His wife responded by telling him to go back to sleep — it would seem that she's a bit more skeptical about UFOs. 

Dan Aykroyd is a spiritualist

Dan Aykroyd is a lifelong spiritualist — in fact, his family has a long history with spiritualism, is a religious belief system based on communication between the living and the spirits of the dead. His great-grandfather was a spiritualist, and Aykroyd was raised in the tradition. 

"He channelled all kinds of personalities in the old farmhouse by the lake," Aykroyd told The Telegraph. "And my great-grandfather used to review all the psychic acts that came through our town." Aykroyd claims that the family's farmhouse is still haunted; growing up, he says he and his loved ones saw ghosts and heard strange, unexplainable sounds. 

Aykroyd says ghosts are "a reality of life on this planet," and his belief in ghosts and the paranormal inspired Ghostbusters. In fact, he admits that from his perspective, Ghostbusters is basically "a documentary." He also contributed the introduction to his father Peter Aykroyd's book on their family history with the spiritualist movement, A History of Ghosts: The True Story of Seances, Mediums, Ghosts, and Ghostbusters

Dan Aykroyd is convinced that Bigfoot is real

Clearly, Dan Aykroyd has always been curious about the supernatural, unsolved mysteries, and conspiracies. In addition to his strong beliefs in ghosts and aliens, he also believes that Bigfoot is real. On The Joe Rogan Experience, Aykroyd discussed this last belief at length, explaining that his research has shown him proof of the creature's existence. 

Is there any hard evidence that Bigfoot is lurking in the forests of the Pacific Northwest? Aside from a few reported sightings over the years, most people agree that the answer is no. Despite that, Aykroyd says that he is "one hundred percent" convinced that Bigfoot is the real deal. He also claimed that researchers have found hair that's likely from a Sasquatch-type creature. He's always had an interest in phenomena that can't be explained, and Bigfoot is just another one of those mysteries. 

Dan Aykroyd is basically retired from acting

Although Dan Aykroyd isn't quite ready for retirement, he knows that his days in the spotlight are pretty much behind him — and he isn't about to stage a major comeback. He continues to sign on for parts when they appeal to him, but for the most part, he's totally at peace with the fact that he's not getting as much attention as he used to. He's achieved what he set out to in Hollywood, and now, he's winding down. He wants to pass the torch to up-and-coming actors and directors who are bringing fresh ideas to the table. 

"I don't need fame any more. People are less interested in me in terms of celebrity. I'm happy to see a new generation being the media focus," Aykroyd told The Telegraph. "I'm happy my day is done... I don't want to work any more really in film. I'd have to be called up by triple-A superstars." 

Dan Aykroyd's guest spots on popular shows

In addition to his work in film and radio, as well as his music career with the Blues Brothers, Dan Aykroyd worked on other TV shows after his run on SNL ended in 1979. In the late 1990s, he was the host of Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal, a sci-fi drama based on stories of paranormal activity. He also starred in his own sitcom, Soul Man. Lately, Aykroyd hasn't had any recurring roles on any TV shows, but he's done a few guest spots.

In 2009, Aykroyd voiced a cartoon version of himself on an episode of Family Guy. More recently, he appeared on a few episodes of the sitcom Workin' Moms. He also made a cameo on The Conners and reunited with his Blues Brothers 2000 co-star, John Goodman. As with his film work, it appears that Aykroyd isn't actively searching for television roles, but he's happy to show up when the right ones come along.

Dan Aykroyd played himself in Zombieland: Double Tap

After ten years, the comedy-horror film Zombieland finally received a sequel in 2019, and Aykroyd was part of the cast. Zombieland featured a ragtag group of unlikely survivors trying to make their way trying to make their way across America in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. The humor balanced with gore made for a unique combination, and the film became a cult favorite — thanks in no small part to a cameo appearance from Bill Murray, who played himself in one of the movie's most memorable sequences. 

Many great sequels reuse ingredients from the original with a twist, and Zombieland: Double Tap is no exception. The film, which follows the motley crew from the first movie as they fend off zombies and other survivors, includes Aykroyd playing himself — similar to the "role" played by his old Ghostbusters co-star in the first installment. If there's a third Zombieland, it'll have to feature another SNL veteran. Maybe Chevy Chase?

From Ghostbusters to Ghostbusters 2020

Fans of the original Ghostbusters will be excited to hear that Dan Aykroyd will officially be returning to his role as Dr. Ray Stantz in the upcoming Ghostbusters 2020. The "old guard" from the first film will be meeting some new faces as they fight off paranormal threats — other big names in the cast include Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Ernie Hudson, and Sigourney Weaver. 

The new Ghostbusters follows the story that was left off with Ghostbusters II to some extent — a belated revival designed to satisfy fans frustrated with an attempt to reboot the franchise in 2016. Aykroyd says that while he enjoyed the Ghostbusters reboot, he felt that there were some aspects of the movie that could have been tweaked. He was a fan of the female-led cast, but wished he could have given the crew a little guidance. "Those girls were superb," Akyroyd said. "But I should've been sitting there as a producer watching costs a little bit more."