That funny, quirky actor who we enjoyed in such blockbusters as Ghostbuster’s, The Blues Brothers, Driving Miss Daisy and too many others to mention – has a secret he’s been harboring for years.
He was diagnosed at age 12 with Tourette’s syndrome, which made his life extremely difficult. He recalls about his diagnosis and his youth, “I was diagnosed with Tourette’s at 12. I had physical tics, nervousness and made grunting noises and it affected how outgoing I was. I had therapy, which really worked, and by 14 my symptoms eased. I also have Asperger’s but I can manage it. It wasn’t diagnosed until the early eighties when my wife persuaded me to see a doctor.”
From WebMD: Asperger’s syndrome, also called Asperger’s disorder, is a type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD). PDDs are a group of conditions that involve delays in the development of many basic skills, most notably the ability to socialize with others, to communicate, and to use imagination.
Tourette’s disorder is a brain condition that starts in childhood. Children with Tourette’s make sounds or movements-such as coughing or twitching-that they can’t control. These are called tics.
Strangely enough, Aykroyd also has some other unusual abnormalities, “… I was born with heterochromia iridum — different coloured eyes, one green, one blue. I also have syndactyly, where two or more digits are fused, I have two toes on each foot webbed almost to the top.”
What is also unique, other than all of the other difficulties this actor has had to deal with, are his strange obsessions. “One of my symptoms included my obsession with ghosts and law enforcement — I carry around a police badge with me, for example. I became obsessed by Hans Holzer, the greatest ghost hunter ever. That’s when the idea of my film Ghostbusters was born.
Perhaps all of this mixed together with a strong character could be what led to the success of Dan Aykroyd – the brilliant comedian, singer, actor and screenwriter that he became.