Dementia Series-Disabled Legend James Doohan

James Doohan was born on 3 March 1920 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. James died on 20 July 2005 due to complications from pneumonia. James Doohan, pronounced /ˈduːən/ (DOO-ən), was the youngest of 4 children of Sarah and William Patrick Doohan, recent Catholic refugees from predominantly Protestant Bangor during the Irish War of Independence (also known as the Anglo-Irish War). James’ father was a pharmacist, veterinarian, and dentist, and his mother was a homemaker. James Doohan’s father is said to have invented an early form of high-octane gasoline in 1923. In James Doohan’s 1996 autobiography, he tells of his father’s alcoholism and how he tormented his family. James Doohan’s family moved to Sarnia, Ontario and James Doohan attended high school at the Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School (SCITS), where he excelled in mathematics and science. In addition to his studies at Sarnia, James Doohan enrolled in the 102 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.

After the war, James Doohan started his acting career. Disheartened by the laughable quality of a radio drama, he privately studied Shakespeare. James Doohan’s work began with a CBC radio show appearance on January 12, 1946. James Doohan took a drama class in Toronto, and later won a two-year scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, where his classmates included Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Richard Boone. For several years James Doohan would shuttle between Toronto and New York as work demanded. During this period he appeared on some 4000 radio programs and 400 television programs, and earned a reputation for his versatility. In the mid-1950s he appeared as forest ranger Timber Tom (the northern counterpart of Buffalo Bob) in the Canadian version of Howdy Doody. Coincidentally, fellow Canadian and Star Trek cast member William Shatner appeared simultaneously as Ranger Bill in the American version. James Doohan and Shatner also appeared on the 1950s Canadian science fiction series Space Command.

James Doohan played the lead role in the CBC TV drama production “Flight into Danger”, based on Arthur Hailey’s novel Runway Zero-Eight, later adapted as Terror in the Sky and spoofed in Airplane!. James Doohan’s credits also included The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Bewitched, Fantasy Island, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (1964) and Bonanza. In the Bonanza episode, “Gift of Water” (1962), he co-starred with actress Majel Barrett who would later be cast in the role of Star Trek’s Nurse Chapel. James Doohan appeared as an assistant to the President of the United States in 2 episodes of Voyage To The Bottom of the Sea.

James Doohan was an Actor best known for his role as Scotty on the TV series Star Trek. James Doohan is known almost exclusively for playing chief engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott on the 1960s TV series Star Trek and the movies, cartoons and parodies which followed. James is the Scotty in the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty,” made popular by the original series. (Ironically, the exact phrase “Beam me up, Scotty” was never spoken in the series, though many variations on it were.)James Doohan was back in the news in May of 2000 when his 2nd wife gave birth to their 3rd child, making him a father at age 80.

After his death in 2005, a small portion of James Doohan’s ashes were set aside to be blasted into space aboard a commercial rocket. Launched on 29 April 2007, the rocket had a brief sub-orbital flight before crashing in the San Andres Mountains in New Mexico.

James Doohan married his 2nd wife, Wendey, in 1975, when James Doohan was 55 and she was 19. The couple had 3 children; James Doohan also had 4 children from a previous marriage… James Doohan suffered from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease in his last years. In July of 2004, his family announced that James Doohan also had been diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease; the next month a Star Trek convention was thrown in his honour, titled “Beam Me Up, Scotty…One Last Time.”

Outside of his performances in Star Trek and other television shows and films, James Doohan was also a wounded combat veteran of World War II. Following his success with Star Trek, he supplemented his income and showed continued support for his fans by making numerous public appearances. James Doohan often went to great lengths to buoy the large number of fans who have been inspired to make their own accomplishments in engineering and other fields, as a result of James Doohan’s work and his encouragement. James Doohan was considered by some to be one of the most giving and affordable stars of the Star Trek franchise.

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