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Posted: 8/29/2004 8:06:12 AM EDT


To boldly go ... for James Doohan

By Fred Shuster
Staff Writer

The immortal cry, "Beam Me Up, Scotty," will once again ring out at a "Star Trek" convention this weekend, but the phrase will have far greater resonance than usual.

The vintage sci-fi series' original cast members will gather to honor James Doohan, beloved for his role as U.S.S. Enterprise Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott. The 84-year-old actor, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, is retiring from public life following the four-day convention at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel and the unveiling of a star in his name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Appearances by all living cast members of the original 1966-69 "Star Trek" TV series - William Shatner (Capt. James T. Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), Nichelle Nichols- (Lt. Uhura), Walter Koenig (Ensign Pavel Chekov), George Takei (Lt. Sulu), Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand), Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Nurse Christine Chapel) and, of course, Doohan - are on deck. (Shatner, Nimoy and Takei will appear together with their fellow actors at 5:30 p.m. Sunday only; the other "Star Trek" luminaries are scheduled at various times over the weekend.)

Recalling the years he played Spock to Doohan's Scotty, Nimoy said his dulcet-toned friend was a "solidly professional character actor who came prepared, got the job done and was absolutely, totally reliable. For me, his performance was one in a long line of traditional engineer roles - as in the steamship movies I used to love as a kid. There'd the captain shouting down into the engine room, 'More coal!' And you'd see a guy shoveling coal into the boiler. Jimmy played that part beautifully."

The main "Star Trek" convention starts Saturday morning, but Friday evening sees a party with live entertainment, while Saturday night boasts a special Doohan dinner benefiting the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation (www.alzinfo.org). The weekend culminates at 5:30 p.m. Sunday with Doohan on stage for the last time alongside the remaining original cast. Monday morning, Doohan and Takei join fans on a tour of the Hollywood Entertainment Museum (7021 Hollywood Blvd.), and at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Doohan gets his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in front of the museum.

"Jimmy's a beautiful, sweet man," Nichols said. "When he's your friend, he's your friend for life, and I'm proud he's my friend. We've had many, many years that I treasure - and I can't say that about everybody I've worked with."

First telecast Sept. 8, 1966, NBC's "Star Trek" followed the adventures of the Enterprise spacecraft in the 23rd century as it explored alien worlds. The series, which ended its original network run on Sept. 2, 1969, broke ground by touching on familiar social issues disguised in otherworldly settings. The show wasn't a hit, and its famously fanatic cult following of Trekkies developed in the 1970s after steady syndication built a worldwide following.

"Why is it so enduring?" Koenig said. "It portrayed an optimistic future for people of all colors, ethnicities and religions. It's a concept people can identify with."

But this weekend's events center on Doohan, who now lives in the Seattle area. "We had a wonderful relationship," Takei mused. "We were best friends, and when he lived in L.A., he was my best drinking buddy. We put in a lot of miles together on the convention circuit."


Where: Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, 1755 N. Highland Ave., Hollywood.
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday (Scotty's Star Party); 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday (benefit dinner); 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m. to noon Monday.
Tickets: $15 to $25 general; $5 to $10 kids. $75 for Star Party; $150 for benefit dinner; $20 for Monday's Hollywood Entertainment Museum tour. Information: (800) 686-3598 or www.planetxpo.com."
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:24:08 AM EDT
IIRC, James Doohan lost a finger on D-Day.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:27:42 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:30:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MiG-21:
IIRC, James Doohan lost a finger on D-Day.

I saw him at a ST convention in the late 80's and he stated that he was a pilot during WWII. Talked about buzzing Stonehenge during training missions. Maybe he became a pilot later in the war?
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:35:35 AM EDT
I'm getting old, all of the TV people that I grew up with is dying off. I loved the original Star Trek series on NBC. NBC made a terrible mistake by cancelling the show.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:36:17 AM EDT
According to his 1996 autobiography Beam Me Up, Scotty, JAMES DOOHAN landed with Royal Canadian Army troops on the D-Day invasion of France and lost the middle finger of his right hand to German fire. The injury didn't keep him from landing the role of spaceship engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on the 1960s TV series Star Trek. Avid Trekkies will note that 'stunt double' hands were used whenever Doohan operated the ship's transporter.

Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:52:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By MiG-21:
IIRC, James Doohan lost a finger on D-Day.

and he Fathered a child at age 80!!!!

Doohan was born on March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, and spent his early years in there and in Sarnia, Ontario. Surviving the anguish of living with an alcoholic father, he left home at age 19 to join the Canadian Forces, fighting with the Allies in World War II. After outscoring his fellow soldiers on an officer's exam, he became Captain in the Royal Canadian Artillery. While leading his men into battle on D-Day, Doohan was wounded in the leg and hand, and eventually lost a finger. For the remainder of the war, he became a pilot observer, and received the dubious distinction of being called the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces."

After returning home to Canada, Doohan performed a few scenes for the local radio station, and was awarded a two-year scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Beginning in 1946, he trained at the Playhouse with Sanford Meisner, alongside such future stars as Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Jackie Gleason.

In the ensuing eight years, Doohan shuttled between New York and Canada where he worked on 4000 radio programs, 400 live and taped variety and dramatic television shows, several films and plays. Though he became known as Canada's busiest actor, he eventually found himself following other fellow actors in the pilgrimage to Hollywood. There, his versatility and talent as a dialectician helped him earn parts in more than 100 motion pictures and television series, including The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Fantasy Island, "Loaded Weapon 1" and "Double Trouble." He has also appeared in the first seven Star Trek motion pictures.

In the years since the final episode of Star Trek, Doohan has pursued a speaking career which has taken him to more than 250 colleges throughout the U.S. and Canada. In addition, he makes appearances at numerous Star Trek conventions.

Doohan lives in Washington, with his wife Wende and his sons, Eric and Thomas. In April 2000, James and Wende gave birth to another child, Sarah.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 10:59:12 AM EDT
I had heard about this a month or so ago. Damn shame. He's one of my favorites from the Original Star Trek. I guess we won't be callin' Scotty to beam us up anymore.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 11:06:46 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 11:59:54 AM EDT
Wouldn't it be nice if somebody came out with a whiskey or even a drink named "Beam Me Up Scotty". Or some variation on that.

May he stay "well lit" during his days of darkness.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 12:11:42 PM EDT
It's very sad to see a "companion" of my youth (and later) end his days with such a horrid affliction but you have to admire him for what he did with his life. His accomplishments have earned him a place that will not be soon forgotten and despite his fame and fortune he's never once used that position to ram his views down the throats of his fans. An actor doing a job that he loved, and a fine one at that.

It's not often a human being has the chance to become ingrained in world-wide culture as the cast of ST:TOS has and the character of Montgomery Scott in particular.

He will be missed by many (including this humble Trekker).
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 12:18:14 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/29/2004 12:19:17 PM EDT by corwin1968]

"craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces."

Damn, I didn't even know he was Canadian. I always assumed he was from somewhere in the U.K.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 12:21:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Wobblin-Goblin:

I couldn't have said it better myself.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 12:28:33 PM EDT
Nimoy and Shatner are Canucks as well. Not many opportunties to make a living as an actor in Canadia.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 12:29:38 PM EDT
The cool thing about Alzheimer's is that you meet someone new every day.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 2:17:15 PM EDT
Just remember in science fiction no one "really" ever dies. He was quite the TV character actor too.
TV guest appearances

"Homeboys in Outer Space" (1996) playing "Pippen"
"The Ben Stiller Show" (1992) playing "himself"
"Star Trek: TNG" (1987) playing "Scotty" in episode: "Relics" (episode # 6.4) 10/10/1992
"MacGyver" (1985) in episode: "Harry's Will" (episode # 6.7) 11/5/1990
"Magnum P.I." (1980) playing "Archie MacPherson" in episode: "Big Blow, The" 4/7/1983
"Bewitched" (1964) playing "Walter Brocken" in episode: "Strange Little Visitor, A" 1965
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964) playing "Lawrence Tobin" in episode: "Hail to the Chief" 1965
"Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964) playing "Presidential Assistant" in episode: "Hot Line" 1964
"The Rogues" (1964) in episode: "Fringe Benefits" 11/22/1964
"Twilight Zone, The" (1959) playing "Father" in episode: "Valley of the Shadow" 1/17/1963
"Hazel" (1961) in episode: "Hazel's Highland Fling" 1963
"Gunsmoke" (1955) playing "Davit" in episode: "Quint Asper Comes Home" 9/29/1962

I even remember him in an early episode of Mr Ed as a stable boy.

Looks like this was one hell of a shindig. Geek side showing here but I would like to have been there.
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 3:45:16 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/29/2004 5:15:48 PM EDT
I thought I read that the phrase "beam me up, Scotty," was never uttered on the show
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