Ghostbusters: Dan Aykroyd’s hidden disability inspired movie – ‘Can hear myself barking’

Today, July 1, 2022, iconic Hollywood star Dan Aykroyd turns 70-years-old. The incredible actor was not only the genius mind behind the Ghostbusters series, but also starred in The Blues Brothers, penned Coneheads, and played the children’s favourite Yogi Bear.

While Ghostbusters is of course his biggest project to date, he has been very open about his conditions throughout the years, including his Tourette’s, and a debilitating phobia.

At age 12, Aykroyd was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome. The NHS website defines it as a condition that causes a person to “make involuntary sounds and movements called tics”.

“I had physical tics, nervousness,” Aykroyd revealed in 2013. “And I made grunting noises and it affected how outgoing I was.”

While Tourette’s Syndrome can be something that stays with people for life, Aykroyd added: “I had therapy which really worked and by 14 my symptoms eased.”

Despite his easing symptoms, Aykroyd confessed in a 2013 interview with Strombo that he can still “feel” it.

“I still hear myself barking sometimes,” he said. “Alone, you know? You know you’ve got something when you’re doing it.”

But decades later, long after he had reached adulthood, Aykroyd was diagnosed with yet another ailment: Asperger’s Syndrome.

“I can manage it,” Aykroyd explained. “It wasn’t diagnosed until the early Eighties when my wife persuaded me to see a doctor.”

Asperger’s Syndrome is defined as a “developmental disorder” that is “a form of Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD]”. Nationwide Children’s.org says: “Young people with Asperger’s Syndrome have a difficult time relating to others socially and their behaviour and thinking patterns can be rigid and repetitive.”

However, it was Aykroyd’s version of Autism that eventually spurred him on to write Ghostbusters.

He explained in another interview that his Asperger’s led him to become “obsessed” with certain topics.

“I became obsessed by Hans Holzer, the greatest ghost hunter ever,” he recalled.

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Aykroyd teamed up with Ramis, Bill Murray, Rick Moranis and Sigourney Weaver to release the 1984 hit.

Although the movie had a relatively meagre budget of $25-30 million, it earned more than $295 million at the box office. It was the second-highest-grossing film of the year – being beaten only by Beverly Hills Cop.

Ghostbusters sparked a multi-billion dollar franchise with its endless string of toys, TV shows and video games.

Even its theme song was successful. The track of the same name, by Ray Parker Jr, reached number one in the singles charts.

In 2015 it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

Aykroyd has also been open about another ailment he suffers from: an unusual phobia.

The actor once announced he suffers from Trypophobia.

He said: “I have a fear of looking at small holes. For instance, a sunflower after the seeds have been extracted would give me the shivers.”

Ghostbusters is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video now.

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