James Doohan, Star Trek's 'Scotty', dies at 85

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Doohan 1997

James Montgomery Doohan, the Canadian actor best known for playing the role of Star Trek's "Scotty" the engineer died Wednesday of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was 85 years old.

Now, Doohan's family is hoping to beam him up to the "Final Frontier" that Scotty loved so dearly. The actor had told relatives he wanted his ashes blasted into outer space, as was done for "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry. "He'll be there with his buddy, which is wonderful," said Doohan's agent and longtime friend, Steve Stevens.

At the time of his death, he was living in Redmond, Washington in the United States with his wife and their three young children.

Doohan was born in Vancouver and participated in World War II as a captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery. He lost the middle finger of his right hand at the Invasion of Juno Beach on D-Day, a bloody scene immortalized in the 1998 Steven Spielberg film Saving Private Ryan. Doohan was among the film's greatest supporters, thanking the director for not sanitizing the gore of the actual event.

Doohan as Star Trek character "Scotty" in an autographed photo of him in one of the Star Trek movies. Source: Wikipedia

He started his acting career with a radio appearance at a CBC show and went on to act in several character roles. Doohan had already made a name for himself in the entertainment business as a featured voice actor in Canadian and U.S. radio dramas and motion picture voice-overs due to his knack for picking up linguistically perfect accents. His ability to affect a near-perfect Scottish accent made him a natural for the role of Scotty, according to producers at the time.

When he auditioned for what would become the role of his life in 1966, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry asked him which of the different accents Doohan mastered would best suit the role of Scotty. Doohan respond that he believed "all the world's best engineers have been Scottish". After the original Star Trek series had ended, Doohan found himself typecast and had difficulties getting other roles.

Doohan suffered from Parkinson's as well as Alzheimer's disease. In August last year he received a star on Hollywood's Walk of fame.

After DeForest Kelley, Doohan is the second actor of the original Star Trek cast to die.

He is survived by his wife Wende, with whom he had been married since 1975, and seven children.


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