Saturday Night Live Writer & Star Peter Aykroyd Dies At 66

Former "Saturday Night Live" cast member and writer Peter Aykroyd has died at age 66. The Emmy-nominated actor and writer often worked with his older brother, Dan Aykroyd ("Ghostbusters," "The Blues Brothers"), on everything from a TV series about the paranormal to films like "Dragnet" and "Coneheads." The death was first reported over the weekend on a "Saturday Night Live" episode hosted by Simu Liu. "SNL" honored Aykroyd with a tribute, playing one of his old short films and ending the show by memorializing him. His brother released a statement to The Associated Press, providing some more details about the cause of death. 

A Tribute to a Talented Comedian

In a brief statement to AP, Dan Aykroyd cited the medical examiner in Spokane, Washington, and said that his brother "succumbed to septicemia from an internal infection precipitated by an untreated abdominal hernia." No further details were provided. 

Peter Aykroyd's death was first reported on "SNL" on Saturday, November 20, 2021. The sketch comedy show played a short film by Tom Schiller he starred in from 1980 called "Java Junkie." The short features Aykroyd playing a man named Joe who becomes addicted to coffee, chugging dozens of cups of bean juice just to get his fix. It's a funny clip that riffs on both "The Twilight Zone" and "Reefer Madness," spoofing the over-the-top nature of both. In addition to playing the clip on "SNL," they also tweeted it to honor the late comedian. 

Aykroyd was born on November 19, 1955, in Ottawa, Ontario, and he followed in big brother Dan's career footsteps, joining the Second City comedy troupe in Toronto, later moving on to "Saturday Night Live." He joined a few months after Dan and fellow original member John Belushi left to focus on their movie careers (and make "The Blues Brothers"). Peter was nominated for an Emmy for best writing on a variety of music programs for his year on "SNL" in 1980. Most of the cast and writing team left "SNL" after the 1979-80 season, and Peter would go on to work with his brother repeatedly over the next 20 years. 

Peter Aykroyd co-wrote the 1991 horror-comedy "Nothing But Trouble" with Dan, and he appeared in "Coneheads," "Dragnet," and "Doctor Detroit." Both brothers had a shared love of science fiction and the paranormal, and together they worked on the Canadian TV series "Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal," which Peter created and Dan hosted. It ran from 1996–2000.