Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

"I really enjoyed Jimmy Doohan enormously. He was ready to go out there and act. I found him responsive to direction, a team player, which is important because this is a movie about a team. Funny."

James Doohan (3 March 192020 July 2005; age 85) was a Canadian actor best known for his portrayal of Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on Star Trek: The Original Series and the first seven Star Trek movies. He also appeared in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics" and in the archive footage used in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations".

Doohan's work as Scotty ranged over a twenty-nine year period, with his first being in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" in 1965 and his last live appearance being in Star Trek Generations in 1994. Archived audio of Doohan was later assembled for an animated appearance in PRO: "Kobayashi".

Early life and World War II[]

Doohan was born in March 1920 in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia on the west coast of Canada. He was the youngest of four children while his parents, Sarah Frances (née Montgomery) and William Patrick Doohan, were both Irish immigrants from Bangor, County Down, in Northern Ireland. As a teenager, James Doohan lived in Sarnia, Ontario, where he attended high school at Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School.

Shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War, nineteen-year-old Doohan enlisted as a gunner in the Royal Canadian Artillery. After rising through the ranks to Sergeant, he won a place at Officer Training School, becoming a lieutenant in the 13th Field Artillery Regiment.

James Doohan WWII

James Doohan during the Second World War

On 6 June 1944, Doohan, by then promoted to Command Post Officer (captain), was among the Canadian forces sent to take Juno Beach in Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion. He was in command of one hundred and twenty men. That night, Doohan was hit by machine-gun fire when returning to his command post, sustaining wounds in the leg, right hand, and chest – a cigarette case caught a bullet that would otherwise have killed him – and lost the middle finger of his right hand (because of this injury, outside of rare occasions, Doohan concealed that portion of his right hand in film shots). "I was twenty-four," Doohan wrote in his book Beam Me Up, Scotty, "and if the Germans had been marginally better shots, I wouldn't have seen twenty-five."

After convalescing in England, Doohan became a qualified pilot at 43 Operational Training Unit, Andover, England, winning Air Observation Post pilot's wings in early 1945. He was posted to 666 (AOP) RCAF Squadron, where he flew the Auster Mark V aircraft, a dangerous, low-level flight tasking for artillery officers who photographed enemy positions, and directed artillery fire from the air. Although 666 (AOP) RCAF Squadron was not sent into battle, the unit was stationed at Apeldoorn, Holland, through the summer of 1945 to conduct "air taxi" duties, as documented in the 1945 publication (and 2006 republication), Battle History 666 (Calgary: Abel Book Company, 2006), and in the 2002 publication entitled Canada's Flying Gunners, by Col. Dave Fromow.

During his war service, Doohan fraternized with Scottish troops. He became particularly friendly with some from Aberdeen, and he said that he tried to base Montgomery Scott's accent upon them. Doohan himself recalled, "I decided to give Scotty an Aberdeen accent, which was something I had learned [...] when I was sent over to England during the war. While I was there, I met this fellow from Aberdeen; and I couldn’t understand one word he said! But I did learn that accent from him and that was the one I used for Scotty." (Conversations at Warp Speed)

Radio and early television[]

After the war, Doohan started work in radio, but quickly branched out into TV, movies, and plays. By the 1950s, he had moved to America and had begun appearing as a guest star in minor television shows and movies. By the 1960s, he had credited guest star roles on such historic shows as The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Have Gun Will Travel, The Virginian, and Gunsmoke. His roles in these series also had Doohan coming into contact with several future Star Trek actors, including Skip Homeier and Keith Andes, who appeared with Doohan in an episode of The Outer Limits.

Star Trek[]

Doohan's special ability to do multiple accents originated from his time as voice actor on Canadian radio and this specialty landed him in the role of Montgomery Scott in 1965. Director James Goldstone and producer Gene Roddenberry asked him to read some lines from the script of TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", proposing for the role of the not-named chief engineer, doing different accents. Doohan did several different ones, including German and Italian, from which he finally choose Scottish, citing Scotsmen's great engineering skills. (The World of Star Trek) At around this same time, Doohan did a Scottish accent in the pilot of the Western Iron Horse which was directed by Goldstone, who co-created that series with Stephen Kandel, the writer and producer of that show's pilot. Steve Ihnat also appeared in that episode. The only other time Doohan did a Scottish accent prior to the debut of Star Trek was in a 1963 episode of the sitcom Hazel entitled "Hazel's Highland Fling".

Roddenberry originally wanted to leave out Doohan and the character of Scott after the second pilot, but Doohan's agent got angry when he heard the news of his client planned to be fired, and eventually convinced Roddenberry to keep Scott in the series. (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story)

For the first season, Doohan's contract allowed him to appear in five episodes out of thirteen, for a salary of US$850 each episode. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One, p. 108) In the second season, his salary remained the same, but he was given seven episodes out of thirteen, while everyone knew he'd appear in more. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Two, p. 27)

A skilled voice actor, Doohan contributed many voices to both the original series and the animated series, including (among others) Lt. Arex. Doohan also created the first words of the Klingon language, Klingonese, which was later expanded by Marc Okrand. He also helped to shape some words and sounds for the Vulcan language. However, contrary to popular myth, Doohan was not the uncredited voice of Trelane's father for "The Squire of Gothos"; this was actually provided by voice artiste Bartell La Rue.

After Star Trek[]

After the end of the Star Trek TV series in 1969, Doohan spent the 1970s performing various roles in television and film, in an attempt to continue his acting career. During this time, Doohan appeared in the 1971 films Man in the Wilderness and Pretty Maids All in a Row, the latter of which also featured William Campbell and Dawn Roddenberry and which was written by Gene Roddenberry. Doohan also guest-starred on the TV series Marcus Welby, M.D., Tarzan and the Super 7, Daniel Boone (1969 – "The Cache", 1970 – "Perilous Passage"), and Return to Peyton Place.

Between 1973 and 1974, Doohan returned to the role of Scott in Star Trek: The Animated Series. He was later cast as Commander Canarvin in the 1978 science fiction series Jason of Star Command. This series used several musical scores from The Animated Series and co-starred Sid Haig as the main protagonist.

Star Trek films[]

LeVar Burton and James Doohan

Doohan with LeVar Burton during filming of "Relics" in 1992.

Doohan was propelled back into the role of Scott in 1979, with the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In the 1980s, he appeared as guest star on the hit shows Magnum, P.I., MacGyver, and Fantasy Island (starring Ricardo Montalban), but by 1982, with the release of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Doohan was effectively typecast as Montgomery Scott, and spent the rest of his career appearing in the remaining major Star Trek films along with a few minor roles in various television shows. Doohan being typecast was exemplified by his cameo appearance as a "Scotty" in the 1993 spoof movie Loaded Weapon 1 (also featuring fellow Original Series actor William Shatner) where he reprised his famous role as a parody, trying to fix a coffee-making machine.

In 1991, Doohan appeared in a cameo role on the TV film Knight Rider 2000, with William Daniels, Francis Guinan, Megan Butler, and Christine Healy. The next year, he reprised his role of Scott for the episode "Relics". Alexander Singer, the director of the episode, was in concordance with his above quoted movie colleague Nicholas Meyer, reaffirming that Doohan "was a delight to work with, and he got all the jokes, so to speak". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, issue 3/4, p. 24)

Later life[]

Doohan's last on-screen role as Montgomery Scott was in 1994 when he appeared in Star Trek Generations. In 1996-97, he appeared as a regular supporting character on the sitcom Homeboys In Outer Space. He played a character named Pippin. By the 2000s, Doohan's age had limited his activities but he kept busy speaking at colleges and Star Trek conventions. In July 2004, Doohan announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in addition to his existing Parkinson's disease and diabetes, and would be withdrawing from public life. His final public appearance took place on 31 August 2004, at the ceremony for his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Doohan's last credited film role was as a judge in a 2005 direct-to-TV sci-fi/horror film entitled Skinwalker: Curse of the Shaman.

Doohan lost his battle with Alzheimer's disease, complicated by pneumonia, at 5:30 am on 20 July 2005. He was 85 years old. He died at his Redmond, Washington, home with his third wife Wende by his side. He asked his family to have him cremated and his remains shot into space. After nearly two years of delays, this wish was finally granted: his ashes were launched into space on 28 April 2007 from New Mexico. [1](X) More of his ashes were launched into space on board the first SpaceX Dragon capsule launched towards the International Space Station on 22 May 2012. [2]

He left behind a total of seven children from his three marriages; his youngest, Sarah, was born in 2000 when he was 80 years old. One of his twin sons, Christopher, has honored his late father by playing a transporter technician in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, and even reprised his father's iconic role in the fan film series Star Trek Continues from 2012 to 2017 as well as in the computer game Star Trek Online in 2016.

Doohan was among those to receive tribute in the 2006 Memoriam reel at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. The reel used a scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture in which Kirk tells Scott, "Thank you, Mr. Scott," to which Scott replies, "Aye, sir."

Several costumes and costume components worn by Doohan in Star Trek were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, including a stunt version of his undershirt. [3]

Appearances as Montgomery Scott[]

Doohan family, The Motion Picture

Montgomery, James, and Christopher Doohan in 1978

Additional roles[]

This article or section is incompleteThis page is marked as lacking essential detail, and needs attention. Information regarding expansion requirements may be found on the article's talk page. Feel free to edit this page to assist with this expansion.

Voice and actor[]

Voiceover roles[]


  • Beam Me Up, Scotty
  • The Flight Engineer series
    • The Rising
    • The Privateer
    • The Independent Command

Star Trek interviews[]

External links[]