Father Geek here... Our beloved Scotty, James Doohan, the engineer of the Starship Enterprise on the original "Star Trek" TV series and movies who never failed to answer the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died today, Wednesday, at the age of 85 about 5:30 a.m. at his Redmond, Washington home with his wife Wende, at his side. The cause of death was pneumonia complicated by advanced Alzheimer's disease.
James Montgomery Doohan was born March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia. At 19, James joined the Canadian army, becoming a lieutenant in artillery. He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.
After the war Doohan on a lark enrolled in a drama class in Toronto. He showed promise and won a two-year scholarship to New York's famed Neighborhood Playhouse, where his fellow students included Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Richard Boone, among others. Doohan already had a career as a character actor when he answered the cattle call for a role as an engineer in a new space-opera-adventure on NBC in 1966. A master of dialects from his early years as a radio voice actor, he used seven different accents in the sesson before he settled on the Scotsman.
The series attracted an enthusiastic following of science fiction fans, especially among teenagers and children, but a shortsighted NBC canceled it after only short three seasons. When the series' first life ended in 1969, Doohan found himself typecast as Montgomery Scott, the red shirted engineer with a burr in his voice. "Star Trek" continued in syndication in the United States and abroad, and its following grew larger and more dedicated, fanatical even. In the years after its original NBC run, Doohan attended dozens upon dozens of "Trekkie" cons around the world and even gave talks on several college campuses.
It was during this period in his life when I first met Scotty and introduced him to my 3 year old son, Harry. We ran into each other several times throughout the 1970's at Cons all over the US. He was always friendly and full of laughs, a great guy and a memorial character on the screen and in person... his death saddens me greatly, but we've got alot of TREK to remember him with...
Father Geek back with the link to the Scottish Story on "Scotty" that many of you may enjoy reading... just go to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4703419.stm
Note: Some of the above bio information was harvested from stories by the BBC, Yahoo, and the AP wire service... Thanks.