In an essay appearing in Thursday’s issue of Empire, the Ghostbusters star shares a collection of memories spanning from when they first met on the set of Saturday Night Live to the end of their relationship in the early ’80s, when Fisher left him for Paul Simon.
“I grew up as a simple Catholic kid from a government family in Hull, Quebec, so you can imagine how much of a privilege and honor it was for me to have known this one-off, broke-the-mould woman as a great friend,” Aykroyd begins.
He goes on to recall their meeting on SNL, remembering how she and John Belushi became fast friends and how she always made him laugh. They fell in love on the set of Blues Brothers, in which Fisher played Belushi’s character’s deranged girlfriend, and she ended up moving with him “into a penthouse suite in the futuristic, aluminium-clad Astro Tower, which I knew to apologize for,” he writes, explaining, “Carrie had the most refined eye for art and design.”
In Chicago, he says they “obtained blood tests for compatibility from an East Indian female doctor,” and while he does not mention the results, Aykroyd was satisfied enough to propose. “Contemplating marriage,” he gave her a sapphire ring, a gesture she returned by giving him “a Donald Roller Wilson oil painting of a monkey in a blue dress next to a tiny floating pencil.” He kept the painting for years, joking that he only got rid of it when it “began to frighten my children.”
Aykroyd calls Fisher “one of the most brilliant and hilarious minds of our eon.” Remembering a few gems from their time together, he says, “Carrie would say things like: ‘I love tiny babies. When they cry they turn red and look like screaming tomatoes.’ ” Another memorable barb became a permanent nickname, when Fisher told Aykroyd, “You have a jawline, hold your chin up otherwise you look like a tuna.” From that moment on, he answered the phone as “Tuna Neck.”
Dating Fisher introduced Aykroyd to Hollywood high society. Whether it was dinner with her famous mom, Debbie Reynolds, or galavanting around Beverly Hills with her friends (many of whom were also the offspring of other Hollywood elites), Aykroyd writes, “I was embraced in warmly human and Hollywood-glamorous emotional comfort, elegance and excitement.”
He describes one weekend they spent together “in a guest house on Bill Harrah’s legendary Lake Tahoe estate,” a reservation Reynolds had secured for them. Armed with a cache of “original Owsley” — aka LSD — from their friend, comedian Tom Davis, Aykroyd says he and Fisher enjoyed “three days of full-on weeping to Christmas classics.” The weekend, he writes, was “certainly one of the planet’s greatest occasions where LSD was a factor.”
The relationship ended in Martha’s Vineyard, where they were spending the weekend with John and Judy Belushi. Aykroyd and Fisher spent the night in a home Judy Belushi had purchased for him on the island. While it was designed by famed architect Hideo Sasaki, Aykroyd says Fisher described the fixer-upper as looking as if it were “abandoned by Fred and Wilma Flintstone.” The next morning she asked him to drive her to the airport and she flew to New York. Despite her comments about the house, he writes, “Carrie wasn’t shallow, we had a great time.” Unfortunately for Aykroyd, Fisher was also in love with another man: Paul Simon. “She married him,” Aykroyd writes. “But I hope she kept my ring.”