Friday, July 22, 2005

'Star Trek's' Scotty Is Dead, Ashes To Be Sent Into Space

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'Star Trek's' Scotty Is Dead, Ashes To Be Sent Into Space

Thu Jul 21, 9:13 AM ET

***  My note: The famous line "Beam me up Scotty" was never said once during the series.  The term became known through comics that would do impressions of the famous characters.  What was said on the program would be things by Kirk like "Scotty, three to beam up" or "Scotty, three to beam aboard/"

--- Kevin

Actor James Doohan, who transported the crew of "Star Trek" through space on the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died aged 85 and has asked that his ashes be blasted into space, his agent said.

While the closest Doohan came to orbit was playing engineer Montgomery Scott on the earthbound set of the Starship Enterprise, his wife Wendy plans to send the actor's ashes into space, according to his agent.

The couple had long ago agreed his ashes would be launched into the final frontier, space, his agent told AFP.

They are to use Space Services Inc., a Texas-based company that rocketed the remains of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and 1960s drug guru Timothy Leary into the firmament.

The Canadian-born actor died in his sleep at his home in the Pacific state of Washington after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease and after coming down with pneumonia, his agent and friend of 30 years Steve Stevens said. His wife of 28 years was at his side.

"He loved being Scotty," Stevens said, referring to Doohan's role as the curmudgeonly engineer in the "Star Trek" television series that debuted in 1966 and catapulted him to worldwide fame.

"He loved the whole 'Star Trek' thing. I don't think people knew what a terrific actor he was."

Doohan immortalized the fantasy starship's engineer, a pragmatically blunt bear of a man who repeatedly managed miraculous repairs while crew members dealt with the adversities and adventures of "space, the final frontier."

The television show inspired a series of movies starring the same crew, headed by William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as his first mate, Mr. Spock.

"A long and storied career is over," Shatner said of his friend's death. "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."

The "Star Trek" TV series and films were worldwide hits and "Star Trek" still has an enduring cult following.

"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,'" Stevens said. "I've never known someone so gracious with fans."

Doohan routinely said that "if you didn't want to take time to sign autographs for fans, go sell shoes somewhere" instead of being an actor, Stevens said.

Doohan's success had a career backlash, however. Doohan was so associated with the Scotty role that he got turned down for other acting parts, Stevens said.

Hollywood's Paramount Pictures never "used him for anything else" and wielded its clout to block him from other acting work that involved a Scottish accent or anything else reminiscent of Scotty, Stevens said.

"Here is somebody who never wound up in jail, never wound up an alcoholic, and did everything to keep the genre in a good light, and Paramount never used him for anything else," Stevens said. "That really hurt him."

Doohan performed in more than 2,000 radio and television shows before landing what would become his trademark role in "Star Trek."

If all goes well, the actor's ashes will be aboard a Falcon 1 rocket launching from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base in September, along with those of one-time "Star Trek" writer John Meredyth, Space Services Inc. said.

"The family wants to honor his last wishes for the space burial," company spokeswoman Susan Schonfeld said. "If his family continues to want to do this in fact, he would be on the Explorer's flight."

The company charges between 995 and 5,300 dollars to blast human remains into orbit.

Doohan was born March 3, 1920, in Vancouver, Canada and served as a Canadian soldier in the Allied force that landed in Normandy on D-Day in June 1944.

Doohan was shot six times and lost a finger on Juno Beach, but returned to duty to become a military pilot.

He loved children and was involved in raising money for charity, Stevens said.

"There was a lot more to this man than people realized," said Stevens.


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