James Doohan May 23, 2010 9:56:41 GMT 1
Post by Laurence on May 23, 2010 9:56:41 GMT 1
James Montgomery Doohan was born March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, youngest of four children of William Doohan and his wife Sarah. He wrote in his autobiography, "Beam Me Up, Scotty," that his father was a drunk who made life miserable for his wife and children. So, at 19, James escaped the turmoil at home by joining 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, four in his leg and one in the chest. The chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.
Returning from the war, Doohan worked as an actor on Canadian radio, before heading off to New York, where he studied drama alongside Leslie Nielsen and Tony Randall. He was a regular on the Canadian kids' science fiction series, Space Command. and his early American television work included episodes of Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Daniel Boone, The FBI, Hazel, The Virginian, and The Outer Limits. But he will always be remembered as the engineer on the Starship Enterprise on the original Star Trek.
He auditioned for the role as an engineer in a new space adventure on NBC in 1966. A master of dialects from his early years in radio, he tried seven different accents. "The producers asked me which one I preferred. I believed the Scot voice was the most commanding. So I told them, 'If this character is going to be an engineer, you'd better make him a Scotsman.'"
His performance as the miracle-worker on board the galactic spacecraft inspired many young people to choose that career. So many, in fact, that when Doohan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and announced that he would be withdrawing from public life, the news was mentioned with sincere sadness in NASA newsletters and publications like Aviation Week and Space Technology. Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, paid his own personal tribute when he said: "I am an engineer," he said, "...and I want a Chief Engineering officer like Montgomery Scott, because I know Scotty will get the job done, and do it right. Even if I often hear him say, 'But Ceptain, I donna have enough time!' So from one old engineer to another, thanks Scotty." James Doohan passed away on 20th July, 2005 aged 85.