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'Star Trek' Actor's Remains To Be Blasted Into Space With Fans' Tributes

Canadian-born Doohan played engineer Montgomery Scott in the original "Star Trek" television series that started in 1966 and spawned a decades-long cult following of the show.
by Marc Lavine
Los Angeles (AFP) Oct 14, 2005
The remains of late "Star Trek" actor James Doohan, who played engineer Scotty, will be blasted into space along with thousands of letters from his adoring fans, organisers said Friday.

The actor, who transported the crew of the Enterprise to and from the starship on the now immortalized command "Beam me up, Scotty," is to go where only a few men have ever gone when his ashes are launched in orbit in December.

Doohan, who died in July at the age of 85, had asked that his ashes be launched into the final frontier following his demise.

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, said Friday that Doohan would also be accompanied by thousands of fan letters.

"James spent so much time with fans and many want to come to his space blast," Susan Schonfeld, a spokeswoman for the firm, told AFP.

"As a result, his wife and the company decided as a tribute to him to arrange to have the many messages of tribute fly with him into space for eternity," she said.

The company and the actor's widow are asking fans to write tributes to Doohan on a company website.

"We invite friends and fans around the world to compose a tribute to Mr. Doohan, to honor him on his journey to Earth orbit," the company said in a statement.

The messages to the immensely popular star will then be digitised and put onto a disc that will be put in the rocket's payload and accompany his remains into space, the company said.

Doohan's ashes will be fired into orbit from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on December 6 aboard Space Services' Falcon I rocket. A memorial service will be held at Vandenberg, north of Los Angeles, the day before.

"Jimmy absolutely adored playing the role of Scotty on Star Trek," said his widow Wende Doohan in a letter to fans.

"He would have given almost anything to be able to actually go into space. He finally gets his wish, I can't think of a more fitting send off than having some of his fans attend this, his final journey," she wrote.

The rocket launch of human remains will mark the sixth "Memorial Spaceflight" undertaken by Space Services Inc.

Canadian-born Doohan played engineer Montgomery Scott in the original "Star Trek" television series that started in 1966 and spawned a decades-long cult following of the show.

He died in his sleep in northwestern US state of Washington after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease and after coming down with pneumonia. His wife of 28 years was at his side.

"He loved being Scotty," said his agent and friend of 30 years Steve Stevens after the actor's death.

"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 Kirk and Leonard Nimoy as his first mate, Mr. Spock.

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