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James Doohan
Gene Blevins  /  Reuters file
James Doohan, played "Scotty" in the Star Trek series.
Access Hollywood
updated 7/20/2005 5:50:22 PM ET 2005-07-20T21:50:22

James Doohan, the burly chief engineer of the Starship Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" TV series and motion pictures who responded to the command "Beam me up, Scotty," died early Wednesday. He was 85.

Doohan died at 5:30 a.m. at his Redmond, Wash., home with his wife of 28 years, Wende, at his side, Los Angeles agent and longtime friend Steve Stevens said. The cause of death was pneumonia and Alzheimer's disease, he said.

Doohan's ashes will be sent into space in accordance with his wishes, his agent said. The family has planned a private service.

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 teen-agers 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."

A company called Space Services Inc. will send the ashes into space.

The Houston-based company teams with commercial launch organizations in offering memorial services. It also sent the ashes of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry and drug guru Timothy Leary into space.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has planned a tribute Wednesday afternoon. Representatives will place flowers on Doohan's Hollywood Walk of Fame star at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.

Copyright 2013 by NBC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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