Tributes to Doohan Pour In From Colleagues, FansBy Michelle
July 21, 2005 - 9:48 PM
Expressions of grief and outpourings of memories greeted the news of the death yesterday of James Doohan, who succumbed after a long battle with Alzheimer's at the age of 85.
Yahoo! reported that Doohan and his wife Wendy had agreed long ago that his ashes should be launched into space. The remains of Doohan will be sent to the final frontier by Space Services Inc., which was also responsible for sending the ashes of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry into space.
"James loved the idea of being in an airport and people from some obscure country, barely able to speak English, would come over to him and say, 'You're Scotty,'" said his agent Steve Stevens. "I've never known someone so gracious with fans."
"He was our miracle man," agreed Leonard Nimoy (Spock), speaking to The New York Daily News. "One of a kind. The real deal."
Several of Doohan's other co-stars also posted memories of or tributes to the actor. On his web site, William Shatner (Kirk) characterised Doohan as an old friend. "A long and storied career is over," Shatner wrote. "I knew Jim when he started out in Canada and I knew him in his last years in America, so we go way back. My condolences go out to his family."
"My dear, cherished friend, Jimmy Doohan, passed away earlier this morning," wrote George Takei (Sulu). "Earlier today I spoke with Wende and offered my deepest condolences to her and the family...Jimmy, I love you and miss you."
Takei and Walter Koenig (Chekov) spoke to Reuters as well. "He was very much like [Scotty]," Koenig said. "He really drew from himself when he performed the role."
Former Enterprise executive producer Brannon Braga and Next Generation star Brent Spiner (Data) both paid tribute to the actor at the Television Critics Association tour where they were promoting their new show Threshold. "I didn't know him very well - I had only a brief association with him," said Spiner, who appeared in the Next Gen episode "Relics" with Doohan. "But from what I did know, he was a wonderful guy."
"It's obviously very sad," said Braga, quoted in the same article at Zap2It. "He was a very charming man and a wonderful actor."
Another Next Gen performer, Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher), posted on his web site that he was too shocked to write a thoughtful eulogy but said, "I'm sure I'm not the only person today who feels like they lost a friend. My thoughts are with his family."
Longtime Star Trek executive producer Rick Berman paid tribute to Doohan at StarTrek.com, which reports that in lieu of flowers, the family would prefer that donations be made in Doohan's name to his favourite charity, Cowboys for Kids. The site noted that it seemed fitting that Doohan passed away on the anniversary of the first moon walk by Neil Armstrong, who paid tribute to Doohan at his final convention a year ago, saying, "From one old engineer to another — thanks Scotty."
"The staff at Star Trek Magazine were shocked to hear the sad news of James 'Scotty' Doohan's death yesterday," noted the British magazine's web site. Editor John Freeman said, "He was an inspiration to so many...he was also kind and generous to his many fans when he met them. He will be much missed."
Several tributes are planned in honour of Doohan's life:
- Spike TV has changed its schedule, preempting its normal Friday primetime lineup of back-to-back CSI episodes to show a two-hour block of Star Trek programming featuring Scotty. On July 22nd, the network will show "Relics", followed by the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" in which the DS9 crew meets the original Enterprise crew while trying to prevent temporal sabotage and an assassination.
- The BBC noted that the Midlothian Council plans to errect a plaque in memory of Doohan in Linlithgow, which is said to be Scotty's birthplace. The BBC also said that the actor's death has triggered an outpouring of nostalgia for the original Star Trek.
- The Seattle Times reported that tonight at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in Seattle, Washington, there will be a free public wake at 7 p.m. Pacific time on the third floor with clips of Scotty and Doohan. The museum is at 325 5th Avenue North.
- The UFP Club of Southern Australia will be dedicating its upcoming convention to Doohan, and has a tribute on its web site.