Dan Akroyd -- am I the last to know?
I was just doing some curiosity research about aspergers on the internet the other day, and I came across one of those "lists" of people who have Aspergers, and noticed that Dan Akroyd has said in an interview that he was diagnosed with "mild" asperger's and Tourette's when he was about 12 years old. For me, knowing this about Dan Akroyd has really impacted my thoughts about the subject.
I think that anyone who has Asperger's or is related to someone with Asperger's has heard of the various lists of people who may or may not have the syndrome -- such as Thomas Jefferson, Bill Gates, Einstein, Steven Spielberg, etc., etc. We can all sit around and speculate about these people and their supposed "aspie" traits, using their lives as a standard for the possibility that a person with asperger's can lead a healthy, successful life. And, besides, I guess that it makes for good chit chat.
But, for me, hearing about Dan Akroyd is different. First and foremost, he very casually mentioned asperger's in his 2005 NPR interview. He, himself, talked about it -- there's no speculation involved. Secondly, I have watched Dan Akroyd's career for years and year -- through his first Saturday Night Live skits to the time period where he was doing a lot of movies like "Driving Miss Daisy". Not only were his later movie choices good, solid "classic" movie choices, but his acting was really quite impressive. His shift over to movies seemed fairly flawless, like he was always meant to do it, whereas Bill Murray's choices (although brilliantly funny at times) have been spotty. I also think that Dan Akroyd is involved behind the camera in some way. But probably what intrigues me the most is that he has been married to Donna Dixon for YEARS. To have a successful marraige as actors is absolutely amazing, but then when you throw in the Asperger's, and all the stuff we've heard about the "problems" with relationships, this seems like a man who deserves some interest.
I just like the idea of a guy like Mr. Akroyd who is just a regular guy in many ways, very unassuming, very charming, super bright and interesting, who has done some extraordinary things in life, and can stand up as a great example that people with Asperger's do have good lives, happy lives, and more importantly, happy families. Listen to the NPR interview, and you'll know what I mean.