James Montgomery “Jimmy” Doohan died on July 20, 2005 at the age of 85, he was a Canadian character and voice actor best known for his role as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott in the television and film series Star Trek.
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on March 3, 1920 , the youngest of four children of William and Sarah Doohan, who emigrated from Bangor, County Down, Ireland.
His mother, Sarah Frances (née Montgomery), was a homemaker. His father, William Patrick Doohan, born in Belfast, was a pharmacist, veterinarian, and dentist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.
William Doohan owned a chemist shop in Main Street in Bangor, beside Trinity Presbyterian Church. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.
He was sent 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 given to him by his brother.
According to the Director’s Edition DVD of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), the Klingon language first introduced in that movie and later featured in many later Trek movies and television episodes was initially devised by James Doohan.
His original sounds were later expanded upon and refined by others, ultimately resulting in William Shakespeare plays and The Bible being translated into Klingon years later.
Ironically, his character, Scotty, complains of difficulty reading Klingon at the start of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). During his early stage work, he demonstrated a remarkable gift for foreign accents.
He tried several during his audition for Star Trek (1966) and Gene Roddenberry was immediately taken by his Scottish brogue.
Roddenberry cast him as the (previously-unnamed) ship’s engineer character and they improvised the name Montgomery Scott (“Scott” for the accent and “Montgomery” for Doohan’s middle name).
In Gene DeWeese’s 2005 Star Trek novel “The Engines of Destiny”, a last farewell to Doohan is made. Scotty finally retires at age 200 from being a “Miracle Worker”, at Starfleet’s Corps of Engineers.
In his later years, Doohan’s health began to decline. He developed Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, and lung fibrosis. Around 2004, Doohan was also experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s as his short-term memory began to deteriorate.
He was, however, able to attend the ceremony held in his honor as he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 31, 2004.
He was survived by third wife Wende, their three children, sons Eric and Thomas and daughter Sarah who was only five years old at the time.