Peter Aykroyd, an Emmy-nominated Saturday Night Live writer and brother of actor Dan Aykroyd, has died at the age of 66, according to family. His death was announced on the latest episode of SNL hosted by Shang-Chi star Simu Liu, where a special tribute was aired.
No cause of death has been revealed as of Monday, Nov. 22, with fans and co-writers writing their condolences on social media to their former friend. He passed away just one day after his 66th birthday.
In SNL’s video tribute, which was also shared as a clip on Twitter, the sketch-comedy show re-aired “The Java Junkie,” a short film that Peter Aykroyd wrote and starred in. In the roughly 4-minute clip, Peter Aykroyd parodies noir films as he runs around town to fulfill his coffee addiction.
Born on Nov. 19, 1955, Peter Aykroyd grew up in Ottawa, Canada, along with his brother Dan Aykroyd. Dan would later go on to be an SNL cast member from 1975-1979, as well as star in The Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters.
Peter, an alum of the Second City improv comedy group in Toronto, later joined SNL as well in 1979 but as a writer, right after his brother left the show. During him time at NBC, he earned an Emmy nomination for “outstanding writing in a variety or music program.”
He wrote 16 episodes for SNL’s fifth season, penning sketches performed by Steve Martin, former Senator Al Franken, Martin Sheen, Elliot Gould, Burt Reynolds, and Rodney Dangerfield. Peter Aykroyd also appeared in many sketches throughout the season, and was considered a “featured player” in the cast.
“So sad to hear that Peter Aykroyd passed away,” wrote former SNL cast member Laraine Newman. “Gilda Radner took me to see him at Second city in Toronto and I was dazzled. What a brilliant improviser.”
He also appeared alongside his brother in films such as Coneheads and Spies Like Us. In the 90’s, Peter Aykroyd led the writing team for “PSI Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal,” a Canadian science fiction show hosted by Dan Aykroyd which ran for four seasons.
“I worked w/ Peter Aykroyd. He was a very funny, really nice guy,” said Alan Zweibel, another former SNL cast member. “[He] contributed to the soundtrack of “Dragnet”-a movie I co-wrote w/his brother Dan Aykroyd. My fondest thoughts & condolences go out to Danny & the Aykroyd family.”
Peter also wrote the film Nothing But Trouble with his brother, where he made a cameo as “Mike the Doorman.” The 1991 comedy starred John Candy, Demi Moore, and Chevy Chase, but did horribly at the box office. The film has since developed a cult following for fans.
Michael KcKean, an SNL cast member in the 90’s, wrote that he was “very sorry to hear that Peter Aykroyd has passed,” calling him a “nice man.”
Earlier this month, with news swirling around Netflix’s decision to keep Dave Chapelle’s comedy special The Closer on streaming despite criticism from the trans community, Dan Aykroyd said that comedians shouldn’t have to pull “any divisive cards to get a laugh.”
“There is more intelligent writing that can happen if you stay away from the offensive material that should be rightly canceled for its hurtfulness,” the Ghostbusters actor told The Hollywood Reporter. “As a writer, you can go to other areas and have successful creative endeavors. Scatological humor is fun. It’s easy laughs.”
Dan Aykroyd also revealed that Coneheads was his favorite that he’s worked on throughout his career, not Ghostbusters. Peter Aykroyd also had a cameo in that film, as the character “Highmaster Mentot.”
“It’s by far the best work I have ever done and will ever do,” he said.
Dan Aykroyd has yet to comment publicly on his brother’s passing.