James Montgomery Doohan, best known as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the Star Trek franchise was born on this day in 1920.
During WWII, Doohan joined the Royal Canadian Artillery.
Reading this made me even more of a fan:
He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 13th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. Doohan went to England in 1940 for training. His first combat was the invasion of Normandy at Juno Beach on D-Day. Shooting two snipers, Doohan led his men to higher ground through a field of anti-tank mines, where they took defensive positions for the night. Crossing between command posts at 11:30 that night, Doohan was hit by six rounds fired from a Bren gun by a nervous Canadian sentry: four in his leg, one in the chest, and one through his right middle finger. The bullet to his chest was stopped by a silver cigarette case. His right middle finger had to be amputated, something he would conceal during his career as an actor. [Wikipedia]
Doohan began his acting career after the war. He won a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playouse in New York City where he studied alongside Leslie Nielson, Tony Randall and Richard Boone. He appeared on some 4,000 radio programs and 400 television programs. He appeared in such television shows as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Betwitched, Fantasy Island, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Bonanza.
Doohan auditioned for the role of Montgomery Scott using a variety of accents. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry asked him which he preferred to which Doohan is said to have replied, “Well, if you want an engineer, he better be a Scotsman because, in my experience, all the world’s best engineers have been Scottish.”
After Star Trek Doohan found it difficult to find work being typecast as Scotty. He turned that to his benefit by doing personal appearances. When the series was revived for the big screen, he appeared in seven Star Trek films and made a guest appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Doohan died on July 20, 2005 from pneumonia and Alzheimer’s disease. He was 85.
Two years after his death, a quarter-ounce of his ashes were sent into space as requested in his will. The remains of his ashes were scattered over Puget Sound in Washington.