Top 10 Dans

It is Dan Week! And as this Dan Week is coming to a close, we must honor the Dans that came before us. So we've created a list of the top 10 Dans, Daniels, and Dannys.

There were only a few rules: 

  1. The person had to primarily be known as "Dan".
  2. The person had to be famous enough to have a Wikipedia article written about them. 
  3. They had to have done at least one awesome thing during their lives.

10: "Dandy" Dan Daniel

"Dandy" Dan Daniel was an American radio disc jockey. He started off his career as a DJ for the Armed Forces Radio at the age of 17. He worked for many different radio stations throughout his career in places like Houston, Minneapolis, and New York City, where he worked for WCBS-FM until 2002. 

The Bad: He wasn't actually named "Dan". He was born Vergil Glynn Daniel. Which was enough to push him to the back of the list.

The Awesome: His nickname was Triple D. He routinely would use 3D or D3 or D^3 in his signatures. He may not have been a 100% Dan, but for the majority of his life, he was known only as "Dandy" Dan Daniel.

#9: Dan Brown

Dan Brown is an American author best known for writing The Da Vinci code. He actually started his career as a musician, and wrote a children's album called SynthAnimals (which is suspiciously hard to find). It was through his "music career" that he both met his wife, AND created an album called Angels & Demons (which he would later steal the logo for and use for his book of the same title).

The Bad: There is literally a Wikipedia page entitled Criticism of The Da Vinci Code which is full of criticisms including: its factuality, religious disputes, historical disputes, scientific disputes, allegations of plagiarism, and bad writing. None of this is helped by Dan Brown repeatedly claiming that 99% of the book is true.

The Awesome: Dan Brown's house is freaking awesome. It is filled with ancient art, secret passageways and hidden doors. His library is filled with his own books in 50 different languages, more secret compartments, and beautiful architecture. He basically gets to live in one of his books. 

#8. Dan DeCarlo

Dan DeCarlo was an American cartoonist. He's most well known for his work on the Archie Comics characters, creating the artistic style that is very widely recognized. He was drafted into the Army during WWII where he painted mascots on the noses of airplanes. Aside from Archie, he most notably helped create both Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Josie and the Pussycats (who was named for his wife Josie DeCarlo).

The Bad: Many of the comics that Dan DeCarlo created have not aged well at all. He was a cartoonist for men's magazines, and looking at some of his work with a 21st century lens, is cringewothy at times.

The Awesome: Leading up to the filming of the live action version of Josie and the Pussycats Dan DeCarlo sued Universal Pictures over the rights to the character Josie (which again was named for his wife). He lost, but took his case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He lost, but then took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. They rejected it on December 11, 2001. Dan would die a week later. In some sort of karmic justice, the film ended up losing over $15 million dollars.

#7: Dan Reynolds

Dan Reynolds is an American musician who really likes hitting big drums. Sometimes he hits big drums as the frontman and lead vocalist of Imagine Dragons. Before he liked to hit big drums he was an Eagle Scout. He hits big drums despite having "ankylosing spondylitis" which sounds like a joke dinosaur name until you read about how painful it can be.

The Bad: Dan Reynolds is a Mormon. I mean, that's not all that bad, but they believe some really interesting and slightly terrifying shit. They also have a group called the "Strengthening Church Members Committee," the purpose of which is to collect and file letters to the editor, other writings, quotes in the media, and public activities of church members that may be publishing views contrary to those of the church leadership. Dan better watch his music or else he may be excommunicated.

The Awesome: At a time when "popular rock music" seems like an oxymoron, Imagine Dragons has seen some pretty big success. Their first two albums peaked at #2 and #1 on the Billboard charts. Hopefully Dan Reynolds will continue to hit big drums for many years to come.

#6 Dan Savage

Dan Savage is an American author, journalist and activist for the LGBT community. He is probably most known for his syndicated relationship and sex advice column, Savage Love. This column first ran in the back pages The Onion's print editions. His writings are usually quite entertaining but also relatively inflammatory. 

The Bad: Dan Savage has most recently come under a lot of fire for his discussions around the transgender community, leading to protests surrounding his use of "transphobic slurs". He has even been glitter bombed on three separate occasions because of this.

The Awesome: First of all, Dan Savage created the It Gets Better project in response to growing numbers of suicides by gay teens. The idea was that if they just knew that it gets better, they wouldn't take their lives. Many celebrities created videos as a part of the project, including President Barack Obama.

Secondly, Dan Savage also created a new word. In response to Senator Rick Santorum's comments on homosexuality, Savage created the word Santorum, which reffers to "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes a byproduct of anal sex." Simply wonderful.

#5 Dan Rather

Dan Rather is an American newsman. He is most famous for anchoring the CBS Evening News for 24 years. His main accomplishments include his numerous Emmy Awards, seven Peabody awards, and being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2004.

The Bad: What people will actually remember Dan Rather for is controversy. Starting early on with his attitude toward Nixon, he has been accused of liberal bias. In 2005, he reported on President G.W. Bush's Vietnam record, using papers that ended up having a faulty source. This ended his career with CBS, and earned him a drop in the "Dan Rankings".

The Awesome: Ratherisms. Dan Rather has some amazing quotes that he's accumulated through his years as an anchor including: "This race is shakier than cafeteria Jell-O.", "This thing is as tight as the rusted lugnuts on a '55 Ford.", "This race is hotter than a Times Square Rolex.", "If a frog had side pockets, he'd carry a hand gun.", "The presidential race is swinging like Count Basie." and "If you try to read the tea leaves before the cup is done you can get yourself burned." Awesome.

#4. Lieutenant Dan Taylor

Lieutenant Dan Taylor is a from the documentary Forrest Gump. Lt. Dan was a commanding officer in Vietnam that came from a long line of men who had served and died in WWII. He lost his legs during combat and blamed Forrest for not letting him die like his ancestors.

The Bad: Lt. Dan frequently doubts Forrest and is jealous of Forrest's medal of honor. After his return home, Lt. Dan succumbs to alcoholism and depression.

The Awesome: After the events of the film, Lt. Dan is an initial investor in both the Bubba Gump Shrip Company and Apple Computers, has received prosthetic legs, and a Vietnamese fiancee. His life did a complete 180. He also smokes Black and Milds like a goddamn boss.

#3: Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, and writer. He is famous for his time on Saturday Night Live, being half of The Blues Brothers and a member of the Ghostbusters. He also is a very successful businessman, having started The House of Blues, having his own line of wines called Dan Aykroyd Wines, and founding the Crystal Head Vodka brand.

The Bad: Blues Brothers 2000Blues Brothers 2000 was a sequel to the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. BB2000 was missing a key ingredient, John Belushi, who was the other half of the Blues Brothers. Without Belushi, the film can be best described by Roger Ebert: "The film is lame comedy surrounded by high-energy blues." It lost somewhere in the range of $14 million. Two years later, a video game version for the Nintendo 64 was released by the same company that made Superman 64. It was not well received. Since then, many of Aykroyds films have been flops, leading some to believe in the John Belushi Curse. Akyroyd is tied for most "Worst Supporting Actor" Razzie Awards.

The Awesome: Aykroyd was in some incredible movies. Not counting Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers, he was in Trading Places, Spies Like Us, The Great Outdoors, and Driving Miss Daisy (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award). He also is largely responsible for the expansion of Patron Tequila into Canada. He even is a credited participant in the recording of "We Are the World."

#2: Dan Marino

Dan Marino is a former NFL quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. He is widely considered to be one of the best quarterbacks of all time, having set many NFL records and having won many awards (including Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, NFL Man of the Year, NFL Rookie of the Year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and NFL Offensive player of the Year). He also was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

The Bad: He never won a championship. He still remains fifth on the list of most wins by a starting quarterback, but his record in playoff games was 8-10, including the last game of his career where his team lost 62-7. It was the worst loss in AFC Playoff history. While he was one of the best, his lack of wins also kept him from the top of our list.

The Awesome: Dan Marino played a pivotal role in the 1994 American comedy, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Dan Marino played "Dan Marino" a quarterback for the Miami Dolphins who had been kidnapped as a part of a revenge plot. Although the film may appear rather dated now and was panned by critics at the time, it still was extremely popular and brought in 7x more money than it cost to make. Dan Marino was a key part of that.

#1: Dan Castellaneta

Dan Castellaneta is an American actor, voice actor, and comedian. He is most well known for his role as the voice of Homer Simpson, the patriarch in the television series The Simpsons. For the role, he has received four Emmy awards. Because of the voice-over role, he is hardly recognized in public, even though he plays the longest standing role on television.

The Bad: Castellaneta replaced Robin Williams as the Genie for the Aladdin sequel The Return of Jafar. This was an iconic role for Robin Williams, who declined participation in the sequel because of his feud with Disney over his voice being used in marketing. Castellaneta did his best, but it wasn't enough. Critic David Nusair said: "Castellaneta does the best he can with the material, but generally comes up short (particularly when compared with Robin Williams's manic performance from the original)." Castellaneta even described replacing Williams as "sort of like stepping into Hamlet after Laurence Olivier did it, how can you win?"

The Awesome: Despite this, Castellaneta has continued his role on television, and played perhaps the most crucial and critical role of his career in the 1996 film Space Jam. He plays a Knicks fan who can't believe how terribly his team is doing. Even as his wife notices suspicious activity from what is quite obviously 5 aliens in a trenchcoat, he insists that she be quiet. His part in one of the most iconic films of its time certainly cements his place as "Top Dan."