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Blues Brother Elwood headlines AutoShow gala

Published November 12, 2012

“Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don’t fail me now.”

That’s Blues Brother Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) praying he and brother Jake (John Belushi) make it to the assessor’s office with the tax money before their childhood home, St. Helen’s orphanage, is foreclosed.

Their high-speed journey to Chicago and inevitable police chases set a record for the most cars destroyed in a movie, eventually surpassed by the 100 cars wrecked in the 1998 sequel, Blues Brothers 2000.

No stranger to radar traps in real life, Aykroyd was pulled over as he hastily made his way to the Toronto Honda Indy race in 2011. After explaining that he was headed to Exhibition Place to be the event’s grand marshal, the police officer let him off with a warning, which he thanked her for.

Aykroyd is also a racing fan, vintage car collector and a road warrior who rides a 2003 Police Edition Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

So it seems only natural that the Ottawa-born actor, comedian, screenwriter and entrepreneur would be part of the Canadian International AutoShow’s 40th Anniversary Charity Gala.

The creator of such comical gems as the Coneheads, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and the Bass-O-Matic will be the highlight of the event’s celebrity meet-and-greet reception and also take part in the evening’s revelry.

Having cut his comedy chops on Second City stages in Toronto and Chicago, Aykroyd was an original cast member of Saturday Night Live from 1975-’79.

His acting and writing credits include Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers, and he has appeared in dozens of other movies and television programs.

Aykroyd was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Driving Miss Daisy in 1989, he became a member of the Order of Canada in 2000 and was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2002.

Although he dropped out before completing his university studies in Ottawa about 25 years earlier, Aykroyd was honoured with a Doctor of Literature degree from Carleton University in 1994.

In 1983, he wed Donna Dixon, with whom he had starred that year in the movie Dr. Detroit. The couple went on to work together in the films Spies Like Us and The Couch Trip.

He maintains and visits a long-owned family home in the Kingston area and resides with his wife and their three daughters in the U.S.

Aykroyd was a co-founder of the House of Blues concert series and restaurant chain, and launched his own brand of Ontario wines and spirits, including Crystal Head vodka.

Intrigued by the archaeological mystery of 13 crystal heads, detailed human skull quartz carvings found in regions around the world and believed to be between 5,000 and 35,000 years old, Aykroyd and an artist friend came up with a premium vodka and its distinctive glass head bottle.

The vodka is made from Ontario grains and is distilled and bottled in Newfoundland. Along with owning the Canadian distribution rights to Patron Tequila, he has a collection of signature wines produced in partnership with a Niagara region winery.

His other varied interests include spiritualism, the paranormal and UFOs.

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