James Doohan

James Doohan, actor (b at Vancouver 3 Mar 1920; d at Redmond, WA 20 Jul 2005). James Doohan, the son of Irish immigrants, was brought up in Sarnia, Ont. He graduated from the Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School in 1938 and joined the Canadian Army shortly thereafter.

James Doohan

James Doohan, actor (b at Vancouver 3 Mar 1920; d at Redmond, WA 20 Jul 2005). James Doohan, the son of Irish immigrants, was brought up in Sarnia, Ont. He graduated from the Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School in 1938 and joined the Canadian Army shortly thereafter. He saw action on D-Day during the assault on Juno Beach and after the battle was accidentally wounded by friendly fire. After he was shipped back to Canada he began an acting career with drama classes in Toronto. Later he won a scholarship to attend The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City where fellow Canadian Leslie NIELSEN was a classmate. James Doohan became famous for his role as Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in Star Trek.

Doohan's first foray into TV science-fiction was a part in CBC's short-lived series Space Command (1953-54). He can be seen in Flight into Danger (1956), based on Arthur Hailey's novel Runway Zero-Eight, an early live CBC drama about a flight crew poisoned by bad airline food; a nervous ex-pilot (Doohan) attempts to guide the plane to safety. The film proved hugely popular and was sold internationally. He did voice work on thousands of radio programs, appeared in hundreds of television shows and was known for his skill with a wide range of accents. His early American television work included episodes of Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, The FBI, Hazel, The Virginian and Peyton Place.

In 1965, Doohan "got a job," as he would later say, as the chief engineer on the Starship Enterprise; it was a job that lasted a lifetime. The original Star Trek series didn't survive 3 seasons on television (1966-69), but due to the overwhelming success of Star Wars in 1977 the franchise was revived for the big screen. Doohan appeared as Scotty in all 6 of the original Star Trek films from 1979-91 plus Star Trek: Generations in 1994. He created the basic sounds and the first few words of the Vulcan and Klingon languages first heard in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Typecast by his Scotty character - Doohan said he adopted a Scottish accent because it sounded warm and friendly but authoritative when necessary - at first he could not find other acting jobs. Soon he accepted his fate as a much-loved cult figure. He was a regular on the Trekkie convention circuit, although the phrase that everyone seems to remember, "Beam me up, Scotty," was never actually used in the series or the films. The closest to it can be heard in the fourth Star Trek movie when Captain Kirk says, "Scotty, beam me up."

In 1996 James Doohan with Peter David published Beam Me Up, Scotty: Star Trek's "Scotty" - In His Own Words.

In April 2007 Doohan's cremated ashes were briefly sent into suborbital space by a NASA rocket, then returned to his family.