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Star Trek Actor James Doohan Was in Normandy on D-Day

Here's the story of how 'Star Trek' actor James Doohan became a World War II hero.

<p><em><a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/tag/star-trek/">Star Trek</a> </em>fans know the iconic line, Beam me up, Scotty, all too well. In the <a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/star-trek-the-original-series-cast-members-still-alive.html/">original 1960s TV series</a> and seven subsequent movies, Canadian actor James Doohan portrayed Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott, aka Scotty. Before becoming an integral crew member aboard the starship <a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/star-trek-times-enterprise-blown.html/">Enterprise</a>, Doohan served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. He was injured on June 6, 1944, while storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.</p> <h2 id="h-the-star-trek-actor-inspired-a-generation">The Star Trek actor inspired a generation</h2> <figure class="wp-block-image size-full"><img width="1200" height="900" src="https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Star-Trek-actor-Scotty-James-Doonan.jpg" alt="Star Trek actor Scotty James Doohan" class="wp-image-3128756" srcset="https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Star-Trek-actor-Scotty-James-Doonan.jpg 1200w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Star-Trek-actor-Scotty-James-Doonan.jpg?w=640&h=480 640w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Star-Trek-actor-Scotty-James-Doonan.jpg?w=768&h=576 768w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Star-Trek-actor-Scotty-James-Doonan.jpg?w=1024&h=768 1024w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Star-Trek-actor-Scotty-James-Doonan.jpg?w=80&h=60 80w, https://www.cheatsheet.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Star-Trek-actor-Scotty-James-Doonan.jpg?w=150&h=113 150w" sizes="&#40;max-width: 1200px&#41; 100vw, 1200px" /><figcaption>James Doohan as Scotty in the Star Trek episode Whom Gods Destroy, aired on January 3, 1969 | CBS via Getty Images</figcaption></figure> <p>Born in 1920 to Irish immigrants, James Doohan spent his early childhood living with his family in Vancouver. After high school, at 19, he enlisted in the Canadian military. After serving his country and fighting in World War II, the future <em><a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/star-trek-movies-worst-best.html/">Star Trek</a> </em>actor returned to Canada and began taking acting classes and working in radio.</p> <p>According to All Things Interesting, by 1953, Doohan was landing bit parts in popular American TV series such as <em>Bewitched</em>, <em>Twilight Zone</em>, and <em>Bonanza</em>. In 1966, he auditioned for a new NBC science-fiction series that would change his life and the life of <a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/tag/sci-fi/">sci-fi</a> fans forever.</p> <p>Cast as the problem-solving engineer aboard a futuristic spaceship, Doohan along with the other <a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/tag/actors/">actors</a> in the original series inspired a generation of inventors and scientists.</p> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-rich is-provider-twitter wp-block-embed-twitter"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-width="550" data-dnt="true"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">James Doohan, the actor for Star Trek's Scotty, was given an honorary doctorate by the Milwaukee School of Engineering after nearly half the student body cited him as their inspiration for pursuing engineering. <a href="https://t.co/K2miUvxput">pic.twitter.com/K2miUvxput</a></p> Quite Interesting &#40;@qikipedia&#41; <a href="https://twitter.com/qikipedia/status/1516808920890630146?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 20, 2022</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </div></figure> <p><a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/star-trek-the-next-generation-gene-roddenberry-almost-didnt-cast-patrick-stewart.html/">Gene Roddenberry</a>, the shows creator, was a man before his time, introducing space-aged gadgets that seemed impossible but came to fruition decades later. <em>Star Trek </em><a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/7-ways-star-trek-changed-world.html/">changed the way people looked at the world</a>, with ideas such as spacecraft propulsion and theoretical physics on display for viewers to dissect. </p> <p>Forever a part of pop culture, Doohan died on July 20, 2005, due to complications from pneumonia. He was 85. According to <a href="https://allthatsinteresting.com/james-doohan" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">All Things Interesting</a>, In a final tribute to his lasting influence on a generation of engineers, his ashes were sent into space in a private memorial rocket.</p> <h2 id="h-james-doohan-was-a-world-war-ii-hero">James Doohan was a World War II hero</h2> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-rich is-provider-twitter wp-block-embed-twitter"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-width="550" data-dnt="true"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Remembering James Doohan and all of the brave soldiers on <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DDay75thAnniversary?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DDay75thAnniversary</a> <a href="https://t.co/gNBIiA7paj">https://t.co/gNBIiA7paj</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/StarTrek?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#StarTrek</a> <a href="https://t.co/B10eGWPVA6">pic.twitter.com/B10eGWPVA6</a></p> Star Trek &#40;@StarTrek&#41; <a href="https://twitter.com/StarTrek/status/1136678244550266880?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 6, 2019</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </div></figure> <p>In 1944, James Doohan was one of 14,000 Canadian soldiers who landed in Normandy, France, on <a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/steven-spielberg-totally-improvised-saving-private-ryan-d-day-scene.html/">D-Day</a>.</p> <p>Doohan was a commissioned lieutenant with the 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and was tasked with invading an area of Normandy code-named Juno Beach, <a href="https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/james-doohan-d-day/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Snopes</a> reports.</p> <p>The<em><a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/william-shatner-star-trek-creator-turning-in-his-grave-knew-spinoffs.html/">Star Trek</a></em>actor led his division unscathed across a beach filled with anti-tank mines. While trying to get to higher ground, Doohan killed two German snipers, saving the lives of those in his regime.</p> <p>Later that night, while returning to his command post, Doohan was shot eight times. Four bullets hit his left knee and a fifth hit struck his chest. Fortunately, he had a silver cigarette case in his breast pocket that his brother had given him for good luck. The case deflected the bullet, and the young soldier survived the battle. In 1998, <a href="https://www.newspapers.com/image/?clipping_id=20789764&fcfToken=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJmcmVlLXZpZXctaWQiOjE5NTI1NTc4MiwiaWF0IjoxNjYwMDE3ODE4LCJleHAiOjE2NjAxMDQyMTh9.eq_QtXc818eBbHlUXFSd7lfWlqHEnAklLpmz_eUB3Tk" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">The New York Times</a> reported that Doohan said, I still have that cigarette case today.</p> <h2 id="h-james-doohan-lost-his-middle-finger-to-friendly-fire">James Doohan lost his middle finger to friendly fire</h2> <figure class="wp-block-embed is-type-rich is-provider-twitter wp-block-embed-twitter"><div class="wp-block-embed__wrapper"> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-width="550" data-dnt="true"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">James Doohan &#40;Scotty&#41; lost his middle finger on one hand while fighting on D-Day. Most of the time he hid this onscreen, but in rare shots, like this one, you can see his war wound. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MeTVStarTrek?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MeTVStarTrek</a> <a href="https://t.co/GNW8hHkN9Y">pic.twitter.com/GNW8hHkN9Y</a></p> MeTV &#40;@MeTV&#41; <a href="https://twitter.com/MeTV/status/1403902443575037955?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 13, 2021</a></blockquote><script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </div></figure> <p>The three remaining bullets shot off the middle finger on Doohans right hand. It was not a German sniper. He had been shot by a nervous, trigger-happy Canadian sentry, Snopes reports. </p> <p>Later, when Doohan became an actor, he attempted to hide his missing finger, and sometimes a hand double filled in for close-up scenes. In the <em><a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/old-william-shatner-2021-called-age-disgusting.html/">Star Trek</a> </em>episode The Trouble With Tribbles, viewers got a quick glimpse of his injury.</p> <p>Doohan made a full recovery and even went back into the military before attending drama school and pivoting to acting, <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/madisonmcgee/shocking-surprising-july-facts?origin=nofil" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">BuzzFeed</a> reports. His peers called him the craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Force because he flew a plane between two telephone poles just to prove he could.</p> <p><strong>RELATED: <a href="https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/how-original-star-trek-actor-george-takei-became-a-social-media-sensation-in-his-70s.html/">How Original Star Trek Actor George Takei Became a Social Media Sensation in his 70s</a></strong></p>

Tuesday, August 16, 2022 at 1:41 pm

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