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James Doohan

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Real World article
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James Doohan
James Doohan
Birth name: James Montgomery Doohan
Date of birth: 3 March 1920
Place of birth: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Date of death: 20 July 2005 (age 85)
Place of death: Redmond, Washington, USA
Character(s): Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott (Primary character; see Appearances)
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James Montgomery Doohan (3 March 192020 July 2005; age 85) portrayed Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on Star Trek: The Original Series and the first seven Star Trek movies. He also appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics" and in the archive footage used in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations". His work as Scotty ranged over a twenty-nine year period, with his first being in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and his last appearance being in Star Trek Generations.

Early life & World War II

Doohan was born in March of 1920 in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, nineteen-year-old Doohan enlisted as a gunner in the Royal Canadian Artillery. After rising through the ranks to Sergeant, he won a place at Officer Training School, becoming a Lieutenant in the Thirteenth Field Regiment.

On 6 June 1944, Doohan, by then promoted to Command Post Officer (Captain), was among the Canadian forces sent to take Juno Beach in Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion. He was in command of 120 men. That night, Doohan was hit by machine-gun fire when returning to his command post, sustaining wounds in the leg, right hand and chest – a cigarette case caught a bullet that would otherwise have killed him – and lost the middle finger of his right hand (because of this injury, outside of rare occasions, Doohan would conceal that portion of his right hand in film shots.) "I was twenty-four," Doohan wrote in his book Beam Me Up, Scotty, "And if the Germans had been marginally better shots, I wouldn't have seen twenty-five."

After convalescing in England, Doohan became a qualified pilot at 43 Operational Training Unit, Andover, England, winning Air Observation Post pilot's wings in early 1945. He was posted to 666 (AOP) RCAF Squadron, where he flew the AUSTER Mark V aircraft, a dangerous, low-level flight tasking for artillery officers who photographed enemy positions, and directed artillery fire from the air. Although 666 (AOP) RCAF Squadron was not sent into battle, the unit was stationed at Apeldoorn, Holland, through the summer of 1945 to conduct "air taxi" duties, as documented in the 1945 publication (and 2006 republication), Battle History 666 (Calgary: Abel Book Company, 2006), and in the 2002 publication entitled Canada's Flying Gunners, by Col. Dave Fromow.

Radio and early television

After the war, Doohan started work in radio, but quickly branched out into TV, movies, and plays. By the 1950s, he had moved to America and had begun appearing as a guest star in minor television shows and movies. By the 1960s, he had credited guest star roles on such historic shows as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Have Gun Will Travel, The Virginian, and Gunsmoke. His roles in these series also had Doohan coming into contact with several future Star Trek actors, including Skip Homeier and Keith Andes who appeared with Doohan in an episode of The Outer Limits.

Star Trek

Doohan's special ability to do multiple accents originated from his time as voice actor on Canadian radio and this specialty landed him in the role of Scotty in 1966. Director James Goldstone and producer Gene Roddenberry asked him to read some lines from the script of TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", proposing for the role of the not named Chief Engineer, doing different accents. Doohan did several ones, including a German and Italian, from which he finally choose Scottish, citing Scotsmens great engineering skills. (The World of Star Trek) At around this same time, Doohan did a Scottish accent in the pilot of the Western Iron Horse which was directed by Goldstone, who co-created that series with Stephen Kandel, the writer and producer of that show's pilot. Steve Ihnat also appeared in that episode. The only other time Doohan did a Scottish accent prior to the debut of Star Trek was in a 1963 episode of the sitcom Hazel entitled "Hazel's Highland Fling".

A skilled voice actor, Doohan contributed many voices to both the original series and the animated series, including (among others) Lt. Arex. Doohan also created the first words of the Klingon language, Klingonese, which was later expanded by Marc Okrand. He also helped to shape some words and sounds for the Vulcan language.

After Star Trek

After the end of the Star Trek TV series in 1969, Doohan spent the 1970s performing various roles in television and film, in an attempt to continue his acting career. During this time, Doohan appeared in the 1971 films Pretty Maids All in a Row and Man in the Wilderness as well as guest starring on the TV series Marcus Welby, M.D., Tarzan and the Super 7, and Return to Peyton Place.

Between 1973 and 1974, Doohan returned to the role of Scotty in Star Trek: The Animated Series. He would later be cast as "Commander Canarvin" in the 1978 science fiction series Jason of Star Command. This series used several musical scores from the Animated Series and co-starred Sid Haig as the main protagonist.

Star Trek films

LeVar Burton and James Doohan
Doohan with LeVar Burton during filming of "Relics" in 1992.

Doohan was propelled back into the role of Scotty in 1979, with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In the 1980s, he appeared as guest star on the hit shows Magnum, P.I., MacGyver, and Fantasy Island, but by 1982, with the release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Doohan was effectively typecast as Scotty and spent the rest of his career appearing in the remaining major Star Trek films along with a few minor roles in various television shows.

In 1991, Doohan appeared in a cameo role on the remake film Knight Rider 2000. The next year, he reprised his role of Scotty for the episode "Relics".

Later life

Doohan's last on-screen role as Scotty was in 1994 when he appeared in Star Trek Generations. By the 2000s, Doohan's age had limited his activities but he kept busy speaking at colleges and Star Trek conventions. In July 2004, Doohan announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in addition to his existing Parkinson's disease and diabetes, and would be withdrawing from public life. His final public appearance took place on 31 August 2004, at the ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Doohan's last credited film role was as a judge in a 2005 direct-to-TV sci-fi/horror film entitled Skinwalker: Curse of the Shaman.

Doohan lost his battle with Alzheimer's disease, complicated by pneumonia, at 5:30 a.m. on 20 July 2005 - a fitting date, as July 20 was the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, arguably the greatest engineering achievement in human history. He was 85 years old. He died at his Redmond, Washington, home with his third wife Wende by his side. He asked his family to have him cremated and his remains shot into space. After nearly two years of delays, this wish was finally granted: his ashes were launched into space on 28 April 2007 from New Mexico. [X]wbm More of his ashes were launched into space on board the first SpaceX Dragon capsule launched towards the International Space Station on 22 May 2012. [1]

He left behind a total of seven children from his three marriages; his most recent, Sarah, was born in 2000 when he was 80 years old.

Doohan was among those to receive tribute in the 2006 Memoriam reel at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. The reel used a scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture in which Kirk tells Scotty, "Thank you, Mr. Scott," to which Scott replies, "Aye, sir."

Several costumes and costume components worn by Doohan in Star Trek were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including a stunt version of his undershirt. [2]

Appearances as Scotty

Doohan family, The Motion Picture
Montgomery, James, and Christopher Doohan in 1978

Additional roles

Voice roles

Books

  • Beam Me Up, Scotty
  • The Flight Engineer series:
    • The Rising
    • The Privateer
    • The Independent Command

Star Trek interviews

External links

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