James 'Scotty' Doohan

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James 'Scotty' Doohan

Wednesday 20 December 2005

At the age of 85, James "Scotty" Doohan has died from a combination of Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and old age. His character on Star Trek was an inspiration to a generation of children, allowing them to envision themselves in a life of engineering, making vital contributions to a group effort.

James Doohan

He also taught us the most important rule of dealing with non-engineering management:

Kirk: "How long to re-fit?"
Scotty: "Eight weeks. But you don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for you in two."
Kirk: "Do you always multiply your repair estimates by a factor of four?"
Scotty: "How else to maintain my reputation as a miracle worker?"
Kirk: "Your reputation is safe with me."

"Jimmy" Doohan invented Klingon; the first few words in it, as seen in ST:TMP. Mark Okrand invented the rest of the language around those brief utterances.

James Doohan sans finger At the outbreak of World War II, aged 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 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. At 11:30 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 the screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.

Despite his wounds, Doohan remained in the military, trained as a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force, and flew an artillery observation plane. He was once labeled the "craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces".

James Doohan

The current ages of some of his co-stars include:

DeForest Kelley, the actor who played Dr. "Bones" McCoy died Friday 11 June 1999 at the age of 79. From that day.

From my Friday 27 August 2004 musings:

James Doohan James Doohan James Doohan James Doohan

James Doohan James "Scotty" Doohan, 84, battling Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and diabetes, will attend a farewell from the fan convention circuit. A three-day event, including a roast, benefiting Alzheimer's research, and featuring an appearance by Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong, is set for Saturday night.

And in a show of intergalactic unity, so are his sometimes-fractious crew mates: William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (news) (Mr. Spock), Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov), George Takei (Lt. Sulu), Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Rand) and Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Nurse Chapel, as well as creator Gene Roddenberry's widow).

The only original cast member to miss the reunion, scheduled for Sunday, is DeForest Kelley, Starfleet's esteemed Dr. McCoy, who died in 1999.

At right you see James Doohan with his wife, Wende, at the 2003 TV Land Awards. I like kilts but I'm not sure what plaid that is. Hmmmm.

James Doohan

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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