TBT: Dan Aykroyd Asked Carrie Fisher to Marry Him After Giving Her the Heimlich Maneuver
How They Met: Aykroyd met Fisher when she came to host Saturday Night Live in 1978, but they didn't fall in love until they were on the set of the 1980s Blues Brothers. Dan played one of the two brothers, Elwood Blues, while Carrie was the murderous ex-fiancee of John Belushi's character, Jake Blues.
Belushi tried to set them up before filming started, and it apparently worked. "John wanted me to date Danny, so he invited me to his house with Danny there, and then he [John] passed out. That was his idea of a blind date," Carrie said in her biography, A Life On The Edge.
Things took a serious turn when Aykroyd saved Fisher's life after she began choking on a Brussel sprout at dinner one night. The incident ended in an engagement.
"He was forcing me to eat because I was very thin in those days — no longer — and I inhaled a Brussels sprout, and I started choking," she told the Chicago Tribune in 2008. "He thought I was laughing, and then he saw that I was dying, and he did the Heimlich maneuver, and then like 10 minutes later he asked me to marry him, and I thought, 'I better marry him. What if that happens again?' We had rings, we got blood tests, the whole shot."
Why We Loved Them: Aykroyd and Fisher were a quirky couple, and they owned it. The actress would call him "tuna neck," and the comedian referred to her as his "showboat." Carrie once gifted Dan a Donald Roller Wilson oil painting of "a monkey in a blue dress next to a tiny floating pencil." And when it came time to pop the question, Dan proposed with a sapphire instead of a diamond.
When They Peaked: Their relationship was a wild ride from start to finish, but perhaps one of the more crazy happenings occurred when they took LSD together just before the holidays. "Having obtained some original Owsley from our friend Tom Davis, we flew up to Reno, rented a wagon, and checked in for three days of full-on weeping to Christmas classics," Aykroyd remembered in a heartfelt letter he wrote for Empire after Carrie's passing. "Certainly one of the planet's greatest occasions where LSD was a factor."
The Breakup: The pair's whirlwind romance ended just as quickly as it began. Once Blues Brothers had finished filming in 1979, they called off their engagement shortly thereafter while on a trip to Martha's Vineyard.
In his tribute written for Empire, Dan recalled, "The romantic relationship ended the weekend of our final evacuation from Chicago by Lear 24 with Judy and John Belushi to our homes in Martha's Vineyard. It was night. Judy and John went home. Carrie and I went home to a house, which Judy had purchased for me but unseen by me until the moment of our arrival. It was a fixer-upper, mid-century oil-guzzler, albeit designed by Hideo Sasaki." Carrie hated it and reportedly said, "It looks like it was abandoned by Fred and Wilma Flintstone."
The next morning, she flew to New York and back to her ex-boyfriend, singer Paul Simon. "Architectural reservations notwithstanding, Carrie wasn't shallow, we had a great time," Dan wrote, adding that Paul, not the house, was the reason for their breakup. "She was also in love with Paul Simon. She married him, but I hope she kept my ring."
Where They Are Now: Four years after his and Fisher's breakup, Aykroyd married Donna Dixon and they share three daughters together — Danielle, 32, Belle, 28, and Stella, 24. However, just last month, the couple announced they were separating following nearly 40 years of marriage.
"After 39 years as a couple, we are now on separate life paths. We remain legally married, co-parents, co-workers, and business partners," Aykroyd and Dixon said in a joint statement. "This is our choice in loving friendship."
As one of the creative forces behind the original Ghostbusters, Aykroyd not only co-wrote the film but also played Ray Stantz and most recently reprised his role as the character in the 2021 version, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Aykroyd has even more Ghostbuster projects in the works, as well as a Blues Brothers TV series.
Fisher married her old flame Paul Simon in 1983. They got divorced less than a year later but began dating again before splitting up for good in 1991. She then met talent agent Bryan Lourd and the two welcomed a daughter, Billie, in 1992. But the relationship didn't last. They went their separate ways two years after Billie was born.
Carrie was single at the time when she unexpectedly died of cardiac arrest in 2016. Her last movie role before her death was as Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.