How much is Dan Aykroyd worth?
|Date of Birth:
|July 1, 1952 (age 70)
|6 ft (1.85 m)
About Dan Aykroyd
When one thinks of Dan Aykroyd, the Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters come to mind immediately. For the slightly more mature, they will remember Dan as a cast member of The Not Ready For Prime Time series on Saturday Night Live.
Aykroyd’s wealth increased with the release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The movie that was released in 2021 earned $204.4 million at the box office, from a budget of $75 million. The success of the original movies is how Aykroyd originally became a household name all over America. It is also to thank for a large section of his net worth. Dan Aykroyd earned an estimated $250 million from the first two Ghostbuster movies, after adjusting for inflation and deducting estimated tax and so on.
Aykroyd’s earnings were incredible for Ghostbusters because the script was being fought over by multiple studios. Eventually Columbia Pictures pitched irresistible terms that had Aykroyd earning 7.5% of the gross revenue at the box office, an almost unheard of deal. It was actually a full 30% cut out for the writers, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis. Plus the director, Ivan Reitman, was also cut into that amount. The amount included all video sales too which turned out to an astronomical amount. It was about $200 million each, after adjusting for inflation.
For Ghostbusters II each of the four received a $6 million dollar advanced payment and they were given a deal that stipulated a split of 35% of the gross. While it was not as successful Aykroyd earned a net worth around that time of about $200 million after deducting likely liabilities.
Outside of Ghostbusters, Aykroyd is most well known for being an actor and comedian, as well as a musician. But he is also a businessman, who owns the House of Blues music venture and is behind the growing Crystal Head Vodka brand. He is also part owner of the company that owns the exclusive distribution rights to Patron tequila for the entire country of Canada. Dan Aykroyd’s owns Wine, an Ontario-based distillery/vineyard. Allegedly he got the idea for the name from Paul Newman.
As an avid blues fan, he hosted a nationally syndicated radio show “House of Blues” as his The Blues Brothers (1980) character Elwood Blues. (above video Rawhide scene from The Blues Brothers).
All of the big blockbuster success was a marked change for Aykroyd as he accustomed from living in rural Canada. “I grew up on the edge of a national park in Canada – timberwolves, creeks, snow drifts. I really did have to walk home six miles through the snow, like your grandparents used to complain. My first jobs were all civil service. At 14, I worked for the Canadian National Railways. At 16, I worked for the Canadian Penitentiary Service” Dan Aykroyd
Dan was originally hired as a writer for the series The Not Ready For Prime Time for Saturday Night Live. He became a cast member even before the series was premiered. His talent for writing, impersonations, eclectic interests, and eccentricities led a cast member of the famous Monty Python to say that Dan was the only one who was capable of becoming a member of Monty Python because of his ability to write and get fully into the characters he played. His ability to write about highly unusual topics and make them funny won him an Emmy Award for writing in 1977.
When Dan met John Belushi, a co-member of SNL, he introduced Belushi to Blues music. Belushi was primarily a rock fan then. The meeting sparked a collaboration that led to the birth of the Blues Brothers characters, and with encouragement from SNL then music director, the Blues Brothers sketch was premiered on SNL, with Aykroyd and Belushi as the Blues Brothers duo.
But the Blues Brothers did not remain as only a sketch, it grew into a real blues band composing and releasing albums and performing concerts till today. The band was bolstered by the 1980 film The Blues Brothers which Aykroyd wrote.
This was a huge commercial success, eclipsed only by The Empire Strikes Back in the week that it opened.
Around 1982, Aykroyd was planning on starring alongside John Belushi in a film adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, however Belushi died from a combined drug intoxication on March 5, 1982.
Two years later in 1984, Aykroyd had recovered from the death of his friend and co-written and starred in Ghostbusters. It was supposedly somewhat of a tribute to his family’s belief in astrology, mediumship and spirituality. “My great-grandfather, Sam Aykroyd, was a dentist in Kingston, Ontario, and he was also an Edwardian spiritualist researcher who was very interested in what was going on in the invisible world, the survival of the consciousness, precipitated paintings, mediumship, and trans-channeling,” Aykroyd has said.
Ghostbusters was so successful that it spawned an entire media franchise and became an international phenomenon.
Outside of the Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters, Dan proved his mettle in acting, winning a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in the 1989 Driving Miss Daisy. His later films and directorial efforts did not meet with critical or commercial success, as did the second installment of Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, released in 1988.
This is when Dan Aykroyd had started to become very, very rich. Having already earned tens of millions in the movie business. Dan Aykroyd said, “I bought an island in 1987. It’s in one of the lakes in Canada. I went around it in my boat and went to the real estate office anbd bought it. It’s the best $65,000 I’ve ever spent. My family camp on it and we have great times there.”
In 1992, Aykroyd appeared in the movie Sneakers along with Robert Redford and River Phoenix. Aykroyd became close friends with Phoenix before his death a year later. He can even been seen wearing the shirt of Phoenix’s band, Aleka’s Attic, in the movie.
He was going to star opposite John Belushi in a film adaptation of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” until Belushi’s death put an end to that.
Nobody in Aykroyd’s family had artistic or musical ties. His father was a very successful civil worker, who was so good at his job that he even worked directly for the Canadian Prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, at the time.
His mother worked as a secretary. His teen years and his twenties were full of mental twists and turns. His first calling in life, or so he felt at the time, was that of a priest. But he decided against it in the end. Instead entered a college and became very interested in criminology. After a year or two, he switched to sociology. But, in the end, he didn’t finish college and dropped out. Akyroyd has struggled with both Tourette’s Syndrome and Asperger’s. The symptoms had mostly subsided by the time he was 14 but he still has some struggles.
While some sources still state that Dan was married in the 1970s to a woman calld Maureen Lewis and had three sons (Mark, Lloyd and Oscar). This is not actually true. The people mentioned never existed and there was no marriage. What happened was that before Aykroyd became famous, he had filled out a questionnaire from the publishers of Who’s Who. In it he made up a phony biography complete with a wife and kids.
Much of the remainder of his net worth has been earned from his other movie appearances, various investments and commercials. In 2015, Aykroyd appeared in a State Farm insurance commercial along with Jane Curtin, as the Coneheads, talking to “Jake”, a State Farm agent.
SNL and The Blues Brothers
Belushi and Aykroyd created a comedy sketch on Saturday Night Live called the Blues Brothers. It was about two orphans who were joined by their common love for blues music. Dan states that he and Belushi spitballed the idea literally upon their first meeting. It turned out that both of them were talented musicians and backed by some core SNL crew, the sketch came to life.
Soon after a few sketches on SNL, the Blues Brothers became a real band and were performing gigs all over New York and the rest of the States.
This led to the creation and realization of their first real album. It was a raging success and sold over three million copies in the US alone. Those figures made it one of the highest-selling blues records of all time. Due to the popularity that couldn’t be stopped, movie studios wanted to make a movie out of the sketch and band. That happened in 1980 when the movie The Blues Brothers was released. The film cost $27.5 million to make but grossed $115.2 million in worldwide box office sales.
Aykroyd was the youngest cast member of the original Saturday Night Live (1975 – ) cast. He left SNL in 1979 and did not actually host it again until the 2002-2003 season finale.
His next hit, Ghostbusters came in 1984 which would be an even bigger commercial success. The film was made on a similar budget as The Blues Brothers but grossed much more, $295.2 million worldwide. Ghostbusters became an international media franchise phenomenon with toys, clothing, and all sorts of other spin-off products under its name.
While the production company owns the franchise, Aykroyd retains certain rights to the franchise. It is speculated that he has earned the major majority of his net worth through his part in the franchise.
He and Bill Murray resumed their “Ghostbusters” roles to visit a terminally ill child who was a big fan of the film and more than anything wanted to meet them.
Other interests: Aykroyd is not just a man who knows how to tickle your funny bone, he has also directed movies and co-founded the House of Blues, in 2007 which is now a major promoter of Blues music. In 2007 he released Crystal Skull Vodka with an initial investment of just $600,000; the company’s revenue have been reported at $50-80 million in 2018.
We estimate Dan Aykroyd is worth $200 million dollars as of 2023. In recent years, although he has said that he didn’t want to be in the limelight anymore, he also said he would not say no if the script or the part offered was right for him. In 2019, Dan was in Zombieland: Double Tap which quickly became a cult favorite. And everyone waiting with bated breath for him to reprise his role as Dr. Ray Stantz in Ghostbusters 2020, which was a notable success scoring 62% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Aykroyd has used some of his wealth in conservation efforts. He has said on the subject, “We have the most beautiful planet – the Rockies, the purple fields of the United States, the Lake District, the Pyrenees, the turquoise seas of the tropics.”
His amazing rise to the top of the entertainment world started with Saturday Night Live. He was initially hired as a writer and paid $240 dollars a week. But, he quickly made the ensemble cast and became one of its biggest stars. His ability to write and act, especially in comedies received a lot of praise. One of the biggest compliments he has ever received was when the cast of Monty Phyton called him the only non-Brit who could play or be a Phyton.
“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. I’m happy my day is done. It’s over.” Dan Akyroyd
His two largest grossing films, the Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters have made him an international film star and one of the most recognized faces of his time.
His original idea for Ghostbusters (1984) was for it to be set in the future. There were to be armies of Ghostbusters fightings hordes of ghosts.
When we look at the life of Dan Aykroyd it is evident that the man has unique talents. He is able to take the most mundane subject matter and turn it into a side-splitting comedy sketch, for example, his Super Bass-O-Matic ’76 sketch in which he played a salesman for a food blender that could turn an entire seabass into liquid!
He also had the business sense to capitalize on his talents, which saw him transform the Blues Brothers into a real band releasing albums, playing concerts, and then into a movie.
Dan Aykroyd was not only a brilliant writer, but he could also sing and act. He was amongst the chorus of the charity hit We Are The World in 1985.
Until 2018, he hosted the internationally syndicated radio show Elwood’s BluesMobile, formerly known as House of Blues Radio Hour, as Elwood Blues, his character in the Blues Brothers.
In those days Aykroyd and Belushi accomplished something that will probably never be repeated. They had the number one TV show, the number one record in the country, and they were the stars of the number one movie. The majority of people wouldn’t accomplish something like that if they lived 100 lives, but Belushi and Akyroyd managed it in a span of two years.
Four years later, Aykroyd co-wrote and starred in Ghostbusters, and we all know what a success it has been till today.
Aykroyd’s Total Net Worth
After starting out earning $240 per week on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s, Aykroyd earned over $125 million dollars from Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. He has also earned another $170 million from his other acting appearances, when combined with his writing and producing credits, as well as all of the appearances that he has made as himself.
In total, it is estimated that Dan Akyroyd’s career earnings are $295 million dollars. Of that amount that amount, he will have been taxed about 49% given the years of his earnings. His earnings from his first role in Ghostbusters will have been taxed at 50% federally, before even having paid California state tax. However he also earned incredibly well through low tax years when federal taxes were 28% in the later 80s and 35% for most of the 2000s. He will have also saved on tax deductibles and with other legal tax considerations.
After tax, it is estimated that Akyroyd’s career earnings are at around $150.45 million, having paid $144.55 million dollars in taxes.
Dan Akyroyd married Donna Dixon in 1983 and they remain together. They have three children together, Vera Sola, Belle and Stella Aykroyd. In his personal life Dan has mostly been interested in spirituality and has never found himself in any trouble, professional or personal. Instead he has been investing his money, into real estate, a startup and other investments.
In real estate, Aykroyd has purchased, sold and leased properties in California. He has also purchased a property in Pacific Palisades in 2001, a $14.5 million mansion for himself. As well as sold a number of properties around the $3-4 million dollar mark.
Aykroyd and John Alexander founded Crystal Head Vodka in September 2008. Three years later the prominent new brand with distinct skull shaped bottles was reportedly earning $50 million dollars in annual revenues. Today that number is said to have increased, Aykroyd’s share of the company is valued at around $80 million and he is speculated to have earned around $20 million in after-tax income, possibly more. However it being a private company exact accurate figures, including profit margins, have not been made public. It may be that the revenue figures have likewise been inflated.
It is estimated that Aykroyd may have spent $10-12 million dollars on himself and his family during his career. That includes personal losses and miscellaneous payments that he will have needed to pay. However, he has likely earned some $40 million dollars from his other investments, after deducting costs, losses and other expenses. Therefore, it is estimated that Dan Akyroyd’s net worth is somewhere in the region of $280 million dollars.
The Canadian comedian Dan Akyroyd has accomplished many things in his life. He was one of the key cast members during the transformative years of SNL when it was reaching new heights and popularity. He, together with John Belushi, created a sketch that would win over both the musical and cinematic world by storm.
In 2002, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Medal from the Canadian Governor General in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Canadian Governor General in Sydenham, Ontario, Canada.
Akyroyd is and has been one of Hollywood’s most talented stars, and we hope to see more of him in the years to come. He has also spoken on a number of supermundane topics. For example he has said, “I believe in the survival of consciousness after death.”