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Actor James Doohan will forever be remembered as the Scottish chief engineer Scotty in the popular science fiction television and film series Star Trek.
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James Doohan was born on March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, Canada. In 1966, he landed the role of Scotty on the science fiction television show Star Trek. While the original series only ran for three years, Star Trek became hugely popular in syndication. In 1979, he started playing Scotty on the big screen. He also played Scotty on some of the TV sequels. On July 20, 2005, he died in Redmond, Washington.
Actor James Doohan was born on March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Doohan will forever be remembered as the Scottish chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the popular science fiction television and film series Star Trek. Born to an Irish couple that immigrated to Canada, he was the youngest of four children. His youth was a difficult time because his father was an abusive alcoholic.
At the age of 19, Doohan joined the Canadian Army and saw action during World War II. He fought on the beach at Normandy on D-Day. While leading a group of soldiers, Doohan was shot several times, injuring him in the leg and chest. The chest wound could have proved fatal had it not been for a cigarette case in his shirt pocket. Doohan also lost one of his fingers.
After the war, Doohan returned to Canada. He worked in radio before making his way to New York City. Joining the Neighborhood Playhouse in 1946, Doohan studied with Sanford Meisner and performed with the likes of Tony Randall, Lee Marvin, and Leslie Nielsen. Commuting between the United States and Canada, he reportedly did more than 4,000 Canadian radio programs and appeared some Canadian and American programs during the 1950s.
Like many other actors, Doohan headed to Hollywood in the early 1960s. He landed a few small film roles and made guest appearances on such shows as Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone and Bonanza, before landing his most famous part. While meeting with Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, Doohan tried out a bunch of different accents before the two decided that his character should be Scottish, according to an article on startrek.com.
Premiering on September 8, 1966, Star Trek offered viewers a science fiction fantasy of the future. It was set in the twenty-third century and followed the exploits of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a starship helmed by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner). Leonard Nimoy played his first officer Mr. Spock and DeForest Kelley played the ship’s medical officer, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. Kirk and the rest of his crew encountered all sorts of challenges and different life forms as they traveled through space.
As part of the supporting cast, Doohan played Montgomery “Scotty” Scott who ran the ship’s engineering division and kept the spaceship going in even the most challenging situations. He often operated the transporter that allowed crew members to travel to different places in an instant. The request to return the ship, “Beam me up, Scotty,” became a popular catchphrase.
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Learn more about the stars of the wildly popular Star Trek television and film franchise. Created by Gene Roddenberry in the early 1960s, this otherworldly series debuted on the small screen in '66 and has since seen dozens of installments, most recently the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Chris Hemsworth and Zachary Quinto. Learn more about other cast members of the franchise, including William Shatner, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, George Takei, Kirstie Alley and Winona Ryder. Who knows, you might even discover your inner-Trekkie.
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