Remembering “Scotty” James Doohan, On His 100th Birthday

Today we celebrate and remember the great James Doohan on what would have been his 100th birthday. His iconic portrayal of Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in Star Trek: The Original Series, made him household name.

Born James Montgomery Doohan on March 3, 1920 in in Vancouver, British Columbia, he served his country as a member of the Canadian military. He saw combat during World War II, including the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

Lt. James Montgomery “Jimmy” Doohan, 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division
Lt. James Montgomery “Jimmy” Doohan, 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division (colorized by Doug Banksee)

Prior to his time on Star Trek, Doohan’s acting career included appearances on The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, Bewitched, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Bonanza and Fantasy Island.

When auditioning in 1964, Doohan did several accents, which he had perfected, while meeting with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. It has been said that he chose the name “Montgomery Scott” partially in tribute to his grandfather James Montgomery.

Doohan played “Scotty” for all three seasons of The Original Series opposite William, Shatner, DeForest Kelley, Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei and Walter Koenig, and in The Animated Series and in the first seven Star Trek feature films.

Doohan as "Scotty" in a Jefferies Tube on Star Trek
Doohan as “Scotty” in a Jefferies Tube on Star Trek (credit: CBS)

“If you want an engineer, in my experience the best engineers are Scotsmen.” Doohan recalled from his audition, during an interview in 1993.

Following his work on Star Trek, Doohan played Commander Canarvin in Jason of Star Command, along with appearances on The Ben Stiller Show and The Bold and the Beautiful.

He would become a fixture at several Star Trek conventions around the country.

Doohan as "Scotty" and Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics"
Doohan as “Scotty” and Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Relics” (credit: CBS)

Doohan would reprise his role of “Scotty” when he made a guest appearance on the fourth season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Relics”.

He was recognized for his contributions when he was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August of 2004.

Doohan receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004
Doohan receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004 (credit: Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sadly, Doohan would succumb pulmonary fibrosis in July of 2005. He was 85.

A portion of his ashes were flown into space aboard the Falcon 9 rocket as part of COTS Demo Flight 2 in May of 2012.

While he may be gone, James Doohan lives on in so many of us. We feel comforted by his warm smile and friendly demeanor that is always there to greet us when we watch an old episode of Star Trek.

Here’s to you, Scotty!

Do you have a great James Doohan memory? Share it with us in the comments below.

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