| James Doohan was one of the first Star Trek actors that some of my friends every met. They said he was delightful to the fans and was willing to share time with each and every one. James spent his later years attending Star Trek Cons and acting as ambassador.
On talk shows he would use his natural voice which seemed unnatural because we were use to his scottish accent.
"Beam me up, Scotty" is said to be one of those famous lines that does not actually exist in the Classic Star Trek TV series. It was possibly in one of the films that came out later.
He had said farewell to public life in August 2004, a few months after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He was 85 years old and was with his wife of 28 years, Wende when he died.
He auditioned for the role for NBC in 1966. The series lasted only 3 seasons. The hugh success of "Stars Wars" prompted Paramount Pictures to plan a movie based on the series. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was successful enough to spawn five sequels.
Doohan was a powerfully built man, a veteran of D-Day.
At age 19 he joined the Canadian army becoming a lieutenant in artillery. He landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. "The sea was rough," he recalled. "We were more afraid of drowning than the Germans." The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. Late that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his cigarette case. After that he became a pilot in air observation and got the rank of captain.
After the war when he was twenty-five years old Doohan enrolled in a drama class in Toronto. He also won a two-year scholarship to New York's famed Neighborhood Playhouse, where fellow students included Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Richard Boone.
His commanding presence and booming voice brought him work as a character actor in films and television, both in Canada and the United States.
"Star Trek" continued in syndication and grew larger and more dedicated fans. Doohan attended many Cons and lectured at colleges. He always enjoyed the attention he received for over 31 years.
He will be missed.
By Marieann Koehler