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James Doohan – MovieActors.com

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Doohan in SPACE SEED (Classic Star Trek).

About James Doohan (1920 – 2005)

James Montgomery Doohan was born on March 3rd, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Irish immigrants; homemaker Sarah Frances, and pharmacist, veterinarian and dentist, William Doohan. James' parents immigrated to Vancouver from Bangor, in County Down, Northern Ireland, sometime before James was born, the fourth child of their brood of four.

James' childhood was made difficult at times by his father's alcoholism. While James didn't fall into that trap of self-medication, he did get into the smoking habit. James gave up this habit in 1980, after suffering a massive heart attack in 1979.

As a child, James developed his natural gift of picking up and immitating various accents; a skill that would later be instrumental in his acting career. He must of kept his family and friends in stitches from laughing.

After the family moved from Vancouver to Sarnia, Ontario, James or "Jimmy" went to
Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical High School, where he got top grades in math and science. At the age of 18, he was accepted into the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.

James began his military WW 2 service as a lieutenant in the 13th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.

James' first battle experience was landing on the Normandy D Day beaches, and leading his men through a mine-covered beach; heading to higher, safer ground. After the initial landing and his men were safe, James was shot 6 times during the evening; four in his leg, one through his right middle finger and one to the chest. His cigarette lighter saved his life, stopping the bullet heading for his heart, but he lost his right middle finger.

James recovered and was transferred away from the front, to southern England, where he graduated from Air Observation Pilot Course 40, enabling him to fly a Taylorcraft Austier Mark V aircraft in support of the defensive 1st Army Group Royal Canadian Artillery; 666 (AOP) Squadron, RCAF.

After the end of WW 2, James moved to London, Ontario, where he started his thespian career as a voice actor on the radio, using his remarkable skills in foreign accents. What enhanced his vocal acting career was his time spent in school in New York City. James won a two year scholarship to New York City's Neighborhood PLayhouse School of the Theatre.

From 1946 through the early 50's, James with his versatile talent made a nice living performing in over 4000 radio program episodes in both New York and Toronto; flying back and forth between the two cities.

Starting when television became a popular choice with the public, James found roles on 450 TV programs throughout his long television acting career. Interestingly, Doohan and Shatner were both cast for the 1950s' TV series, SPACE COMMAND.

Doohan is best known as STAR TREK's Chief Engineer; Lt. Cmdr. Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott, a role that turned out to have a long recurring life; for years after the original show;(1966-1969), was canceled.  His Scottish brogue is what got him cast in this part, and his ability to do voices got him the voice-over roles needed for some of the TV series episodes; 1966-1969).

In the show's conception, Captain James T. Kirk;(Willaim Shatner), was seen as the star of the show, but the fans, as time went on, saw the ship, THE ENTERPRISE, as being the star, and the cast as being an ensemble of stars: Mr. Spock;(Leonard Nimoy), Dr. McCoy, (DeForest Kelley), Uhura;(Nichelle Nichols), Sulu;(George Takei) and Chekov;(Walter Koenig).

The character, Lt. Cmdr. Chief Engineer, Scotty, was the one responsible in taking care of her, maintenance-wise, and getting her to perform beyond what she was built to do as a starship. His original part-time role as engineer in the beginning, was bumped up to a regular episode ensemble character, due to the huge popularity of James Doohan's performance as Scotty, amongst the show's many fans. Scotty used all of his scientific knowledge, coupled with his creativity and stubborn Scottish nature to pull the ship through many difficult situations, saving the crew and their mission.

His famous lines when Captain Kirk was pushing the Enterprise to its limits during an dangerous adventure, were:"I cannae push it any faster, Captain!", or "The engines cannae take it, Captain!" or "I cannae guarantee that she'll hold up!"

These performances resulted in many fans being inspired to go into the science and engineering fields. James Dooham received an Honorary Degree in Engineering from The Milwaukee School of Engineering because apparently half of the students polled said they were inspired to study engineering by his role on the 1966 TV series, STAR TREK.

James Dooham was given more time on the episodes, using his Lt. Cmdr. role. Chief Engineer Scotty was also third in command of the ship, and was left in charge on board the Enterprise when both Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were down on other planets having adventures.

Despite being honored with 13 Primetime Emmy nominations, STAR TREK was canceled. James found himself in a firm type-cast. Doohan made the best of it, being involved with conventions, meeting with fans, and eventually having his role again in Star Trek animated TV shows, science-related specials, and most of all enjoyed being in all the Star Trek projects and movies listed below.

STAR TREK I: THE MOTION PICTURE(1979)
STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)
STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH OF SPOCK (1984)
STAR TREK IV: VOYAGE HOME (1986)
STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER (1989)
STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (1991)
STAR TREK: GENERATIONS (Video Game) (1997)


In the first film, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, Doohan was the inventor of the Klingon language; first introduced in that movie and later featured in many later Trek movies and television episodes. It was later refined by expert linquists, who created a real language. The Bible and Shakespeare plays were translated into Klingon.

On August 31, 2004, James won a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television work, located at 7021 Hollywood Boulevard.

James married his first wife Janet Young, in 1949. They had four children: Larkin;(b 1954),
Deirdre;(b.1957), and twin boys;Montgomery Doohan and Christopher Doohan;(b. 1959). They divorced in 1964.

James married his second wife, Anita Yagel in 1967. but they divorced in 1972.

The third time was the charm. James married the love of his life, eighteen year old Wende Doohan, in 1974. This relationship lasted until James died in 2005. They had three children: Eric, Thomas, and Sarah.

In 2004, James announced that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He died on July 20th, 2005, in Redmond, Washington, from pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease. His wife and family stuck by him, throughout his suffering with his disease.

James Doohan's notable movie credits include...

PRETTY MAIDS, ALL IN A ROW(1971)
LOADED WEAPON 1 (Cameo) (1993)
RIVER OF STONE (1994)
NEW YORK SKYRIDE (1994)
STORYBOOK (1996)
BUG BUSTER (1998)
THROUGH DEAD EYES (1999)
THE DUKE (1999)
SKINWALKER: CURSE OF THE SHAMAN (2005)


James Doohan's television credits include...

STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES (1966)
THE OUTER LIMITS ("Expanding Human") (TV series)
STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (series guest star, as "Scotty") (1992)
HOMEBOYS FROM OUTER SPACE (series guest star) (1996)


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Shatner and James Doohan in
STAR TREK 2: THE WRATH OF KHAN.


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James Doohan in STAR TREK 6.

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James Doohan in
MIRROR-MIRROR
(Classic Star Trek).


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James Doohan in
THE DEADLY YEARS (Classic Star Trek).


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Doohan in A TASTE OF ARMAGEDDON (Classic Star Trek).

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James Doohan featured in THE
MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. (1964-1967 TV).


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Doohan in various STAR TREK episodes (circa 1966).