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‘Beam me up’ Scotty dies at 85

James Doohan during an appearance on
James Doohan during an appearance on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

LOS ANGELES – James Doohan, who played engineer Montgomery Scott, the scrappy Scotsman who repeatedly gave the Starship Enterprise “all she’s got” in the original “Star Trek” TV series and motion pictures, died Wednesday. He was 85.

Almost every week, the frazzled Scott was asked to perform an engineering miracle with the warp drive, shields or phasers to save the ship from certain death at the hands of Romulans, Klingons or other assorted aliens.

Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. at his Redmond, Wash., home with his wife of 31 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer’s disease, he said.

Doohan inspired the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty,” although Capt. Kirk never issued that order until the fourth movie. He told his family he wanted his ashes blasted into space, Stevens said. Houston-based Space Services Inc. said it would send Doohan’s remains aboard a rocket this year.

The Canadian-born Doohan was enjoying a busy career as a character actor when he auditioned for a role as an engineer in a new space adventure on NBC in 1966. A master of dialects from his early years in radio, he tried seven different accents.

“The producers asked me which one I preferred,” Doohan recalled 30 years later. “I believed the Scot voice was the most commanding. So I told them, ‘If this character is going to be an engineer, you’d better make him a Scotsman.’ “

When the series ended in 1969, Doohan found himself typecast as the canny engineer with a burr in his voice. He complained to his dentist, who said: “Jimmy, you’re going to be Scotty long after you’re dead. If I were you, I’d go with the flow.” “I took his advice,” said Doohan, “and since then everything’s been just lovely.”


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