Thursday, July 21, 2005

James Doohan, RIP

"Cap’n, I canna change the laws of physics!"

- Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer, USS Enterprise
The engineer is rare who faced with a deadline and a difficult technical problem has not adopted the persona that typecast James Doohan. I would also wager that nearly every engineer has applied on occasion the multiplicative Scotty schedule factor of two when predicting how long any such task will take to complete in an attempt to secure a reputation as a "miracle worker." I, for one, am guilty on both counts. Unsurprisingly, the commanding on screen presence in a frantic situation was born of Mr. Doohan’s real heroism as a veteran of the Canadian army.

He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day and crossed a minefield, only to be wounded in six places by machine gun fire before the day was done. This is just one of the tales from his autobiography, Beam Me Up, Scotty, a phrase never actually uttered during the original Star Trek television series that ultimately became a $3B franchise.

James Montgomery Doohan was born March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, British Columbia. He died early Wednesday morning, the 36th anniversary of the moon landing, from complications of Alzheimer's disease. His remains will be transported into space according to his wishes. May he rest in peace beyond gravity's surly bonds.

James Doohan during a guest appearance on the Star Trek:The Next Generation TV series.
(AP Photo/files,Paramount Pictures)

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