The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






James Doohan

James Montgomery Doohan (born March 3, 1920) is a Canadian actor and linguist best known for his portrayal of "Scotty" in the television and movie series Star Trek.

Doohan was born in Vancouver, British Columbia; his family later moved to Sarnia, Ontario where he attended high school at "SCITS," Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School and excelled in math and science.

During World War II, he participated in the invasion of Juno Beach on D-Day as a captain with the Royal Canadian Artillery. In the battle, he lost the middle finger of his right hand. Returning from the war, Doohan started his acting career with a CBC radio show appearance on January 12, 1946.


As Scotty

Doohan always had a gift for using foreign accents. When he auditioned for Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, Doohan did several different accents. Roddenberry asked Doohan which one he liked the best. Doohan acknowledged that he believed "all the world's best engineers have been Scottish." So, Doohan was cast as the Chief Engineer of the Starship Enterprise, Montgomery Scott. In later years he would revisit this casting process at Star Trek conventions, demonstrating a variety of possible engineer voices and characters.

After the series ended, Doohan found himself typecast and had a hard time getting other acting roles. He was able to support himself off of personal appearances. When the Star Trek franchise was revived, Doohan could once again work as an actor.

As a linguist

A little-known fact about Doohan is that he is also a linguist, and devised the Vulcan and Klingon language dialogue heard in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Over the next 20 years, other linguists expanded Klingon into a full language of its own.

As a writer

Doohan collaborated on a series of three science fiction novels with S.M. Stirling:

  • The Rising (1996)
  • The Privateer (1999)
  • The Independent Command (2000)


Scotty's exploits as the redoubtable Chief Engineer aboard the Enterprise inspired many students to pursue a career in engineering. Because of this the Milwaukee School of Engineering granted Doohan an honorary degree in engineering.

Doohan suffers from Parkinson's disease, diabetes and lung fibrosis . In 2004, Doohan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He was immortalised with a star in Hollywood's Walk of Fame on August 31 of the same year.

Doohan has four children with Janet Young (married 1949;divorced 1964) and three children with his current wife Wende (married 1975).

Doohan currently lives in Redmond, Washington.

External links

Last updated: 08-15-2005 09:40:39
Last updated: 09-12-2005 02:39:13