Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scotty is Beamed Up

Beam me up Scotty.

James Doohan, the actor beloved the world over as Scotty, the chief engineer of the U.S.S. Enterprise on the original Star Trek series has died. He was 85. The cause was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease.

Born and raised in Canada, Doohan fought with the Royal Canadian Artillery during World War II, losing the middle finger of his right hand during the D-Day invasion. After the war, Doohan embarked on a career as a character actor in a number of films and television shows throughout the 50s and early 60s (including an appearance in an episode of The Twilight Zone), initially traveling between his Canadian homeland and New York.

Soon he also began work in Hollywood, and in 1966 he was cast in NBC's new space adventure series Star Trek as chief engineer Montgomery Scott, aka "Scotty," opposite William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Reportedly, Doohan tried a number of different accents for the character, and felt the Scottish brogue for which he would become famous ("Captain, the engines canna take anymore!") was the most authoritative and commanding. Among his many contributions to the show was the then-nascent language of Klingon, which was said to be partly devised by Doohan, and was later expanded on in upcoming TV series and films.

Though the original Star Trek ended in 1969, Doohan was forever associated with the character of Scotty, as the catchphrase "Beam me up, Scotty" entered the pop culture lexicon, and after initial balking, he fully embraced his Star Trek legacy. In 1979, he joined the original cast for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and also appeared in the six sequels that followed before the series was fully handed over to the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. As the Star Trek films became more and more popular, Doohan attended numerous fan conventions and also lectured at various colleges; in 1996 he published his autobiography, appropriately titled "Beam Me Up, Scotty."

His health declined in later years, as he suffered from Parkinson's disease, diabetes and lung fibrosis, though the actor continued to make sporadic appearances, and received a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 2004. He is the second major actor from the series to die, the first being DeForest "Bones" Kelly in 1996.

Doohan's ashes will be shot into outer space.

--Prepared by myself and the IMDb staff


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