Wednesday, July 20, 2005

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

Actor James Doohan, the beloved Scotty from television's original Star Trek, died at the age of 85.

From Bloomberg:

Doohan died of pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease at his home in Redmond, Washington, this morning, the Associated Press reported, citing his agent Steve Stevens. His wife was with him, AP said. The actor also suffered from Parkinson's disease, diabetes and lung fibrosis and used a wheelchair.

Doohan played Lieutenant Commander Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, the Enterprise's chief engineer, on "Star Trek," which ran on NBC network from 1966-1969.

During an age where it was less common for pop culture phrases to enter everyday jargon, “Beam me up, Scotty,” came to take on all manner of connotations and meanings. Doohan played Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, the chief engineer on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Unlike some other original cast members, Doohan embraced the persona he would be forever typecast as and remembered for, as this San Francisco Chronicle piece relates:

When the series ended in 1969, Doohan found himself typecast as Montgomery Scott, the canny engineer with a burr in his voice. In 1973, he complained to his dentist, who advised him: "Jimmy, you're going to be Scotty long after you're dead. If I were you, I'd go with the flow."

"I took his advice," said Doohan, "and since then everything's been just lovely."

Star Trek, which began as a modestly popular 1960s television program, exploded into an international phenomenon over the next few decades, and may have had an impact in generating interest in the next generation (so to speak) of summer blockbusters such as Star Wars.

The fame of Star Trek brought along a series of films, along with the burgeoning egos of any wildly successful ensemble. Doohan, never one to mince words, had this to stay about William Shatner, who played the iconic James T. Kirk:

He accused Shatner of hogging the camera, adding: "I like
Captain Kirk, but I sure don't like Bill. He's so insecure that all he can think about is himself."

James Doohan was born in Vancouver, Canada and always had a special affection for his Canadian fans, as this remembrance notes:

"He was always there for the fans, always with a smile on his face, even when he was ailing," says Llyr. "The last time he came up to Toronto a few years ago, he was obviously struggling but happy as can be to be there."

"He knew how much everybody loved him and he always gave back, you know, never had any regrets about Scotty."

Scotty, you’ll be missed.

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