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Scotty has beamed up for the last time.

James Doohan has died of complications from Alzheimer’s at his home in Redmond, WA.  He was 85.

A character actor in the ’50s, one audition and three years changed his life & career forever.

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.”‘

The series, which starred William Shatner as Capt. James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as the enigmatic Mr. Spock, attracted an enthusiastic following of science fiction fans, especially among teenagers and children, but not enough ratings power. NBC canceled it after three seasons.

When the series ended in 1969, Doohan found himself typecast as Montgomery Scott, the canny engineer with a burr in his voice. In 1973, he complained to his dentist, who advised him: “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.”

He was this scribe’s favorite character on the show.  Not to mention a lot of other Trek fans’, as well; the Next Generation episode “Relics” was one of the fans’ all-time favorite TNG episodes.

Farewell, Scotty.  You’ll be sorely missed – the starboard power coupling won’t be the same without you.

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