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James Doohan Not In A Coma and Likely To Survive 273

ThreeHamsWillKillHim writes "Apparently, it's rumored that actor James Doohan, from Star Trek fame, is in a coma." The article notes that he's not likely to come out of it. James Doohan is 82 and is known best for his role as Engineer Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott on Star Trek. CD: Update, he's home undergoing rehab for his bout of pneunomia.
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James Doohan Not In A Coma and Likely To Survive

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  • He's dead, Jim.
  • RIP (Score:1, Funny)

    by linzeal ( 197905 )
    Scotty: Beam me up god
    • He's not dead. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Cryptosporidium ( 145269 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:32PM (#3473324) Homepage
      In fact, SyFy Portal has corrected their previous article with this new update [syfyportal.com]:
      UPDATE (05-06-2002, 4:05 p.m. ET):
      Zap2it [zap2it.com] has talked with Steve Stephens, James Doohan's agent, and said that the actor is not comatose, and actually is home undergoing extensive rehabilitation after being confined to bed for 13 weeks for pneumonia.

      The Zap2it report comes following a source report that the 82-year-old was in worse shape than previously reported [syfyportal.com]. SyFy Portal, which is a news and rumors site, had been working on confirming the report which stated that doctors did not anticipate a recovery. The We did note in our initial report that details were still in the rumor stage.

  • Better way? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by qslack ( 239825 ) <qslack@pobox.cRABBITom minus herbivore> on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:27PM (#3473276) Homepage Journal
    Isn't there some better way to learn about cool people like this guy before they're likely to die? I thought of this when the author of ping died, too.

    Maybe Slashdot could do a montly/(bi)weekly thing on "Lifetime Geek Achievement Awards."

    I'm sure that 99.99% of these people use the Web, so it would be really cool to thank these people for all they've done for technology.

    Any thoughts?
    • ...not a techie. When he messed with the stuff on Star Trek, he was PRETENDING. Yep, that's right, it was all an act. He really didn't know how to calibrate a plasma relay, etc.

      Tommorow I'll let you know about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny (warning: bad news).
      • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:40PM (#3473409)
        . When he messed with the stuff on Star Trek, he was PRETENDING. Yep, that's right, it was all an act. He really didn't know how to calibrate a plasma relay, etc.

        He may only be an actor, but he knows the only technical principle you need to know on a starship: if something doesn't work right, reverse the polarity.

      • Ignorance. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JanusFury ( 452699 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ddag.nivek)> on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:43PM (#3473422) Homepage Journal
        Doohan maintained a healthy showbiz career despite the fact he was missing the middle finger of his right hand, a piece of trivia few fans are even aware of. Doohan lost the finger during D-Day of World War II when he was part of the Royal Canadian Artillery.

        He later received an honorary engineering degree from the Milwaukee School of Engineering after it was learned through a poll that more than half the students said they pursued engineering as a career thanks to watching Scotty in the original "Star Trek."

        If that's not a damned role model, I don't know what is. He fought in damned World War 2, and he also inspired a lot of people. If that's not worth recognizing, what is? Actors serve as much a role in society as others, they just have to remember it. They're role models to children and teenagers, and they also help to express ideas and to bring awareness to a generally ignorant public.
        • Missing the middle finger on his right hand? Wow, you would think in all the star trek I've watched, I would have noticed something like that... Did anybody else notice? Did they have him wear some kind of a prostetic glove?
          • They pretty much shot him so that his right hand wasn't visible, and used "stunt hands" whenever he was seen to do something in close-up, like work the transporter or type in Star Trek IV. Still, there were a few moments, most notably in The Trouble With Tribbles and Star Trek V, where the missing finger was plainly (not) visible.
      • That would explain why he was talking into a mouse in "Star Trek IV".
      • Ahh, but he did invent the Klingon language (while being drunk). At least that's what he claimed in an interview once - while being drunk too, I guess ;-)
    • Yeah, like the stories of the PKZIP guy, and the maker of MULE. Very interesting people, like probably all of the people who create groundbreaking work.
      • Some of us knew Phil Katz, the 'PKZIP guy' on a somewhat personal level. :) Somewhere around here I have archives of messages I exchanged PK during the PKZIP pre-1.0 beta days. :)

    • Re:Better way? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by guttentag ( 313541 )
      pdate, he's home undergoing rehab for his bout of pneunomia.

      Since he's apparently OK, we should invite him to do a Q&A on /. Surely Wil Wheaton [wilwheaton.net] or another /. reader must have the connections to get in touch with him...

    • Isn't there some better way to learn about cool people like this guy before they're likely to die?

      Yeah; the web, for instance. You had never heard of James Doohan before this story?

      You see, there was this TV show in the 1960s...
  • Wheres a transporter suspended animation plot device when you need one! Seriously, Jimmy Doohan is a real nice guy. Having never met him, but read his autobiography and some interviews he would've been really interesting. I hope that guy doesn't get your blood now Jimmy!
  • ...any more power. I'm sorry Captain, I gave it all I got.
  • by CaptCosmic ( 323617 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:28PM (#3473288) Homepage
    Is it such a slow news day that the Slashdot editors see fit to post *rumors* on the front page? They even state that it is a rumor. If it's a fact, then fine, post it since many Slashdot members think its important. But there is no need to engage in baseless rumor mongering.
  • by Torgo's Pizza ( 547926 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:28PM (#3473290) Homepage Journal
    James playing Scotty inspired me to be the computer engineer I am today. He showed that true heros are the guys behind the scenes keeping the ship afloat. Not only that, his character showed that engineers could be smart and *cool* at the same time.

    I truly hope he gets better because losing him would be a loss to all geeks.

  • I love things like this...

    It must be true I read it on the internet :)

    If it is true, which is probably isn't, then good luck Scotty!

    If it isn't, well... weeee. one more hoax to the list.
  • Sad... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JanusFury ( 452699 ) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (ddag.nivek)> on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:29PM (#3473300) Homepage Journal
    He was always one of my favorite actors from the original star trek. He added a unique sense of humor to it - especially the movies. I still remember the scene in the movie (I forget the number of it, it was the one with the whales :P), where he reprogrammed a black-and-white macintosh to support voice activation. :) The various 'cameo' episodes in other ST series where he showed up, were excellent as well - I remember the ST:TNG episode where they found him, that was excellent.

    He'll be missed.
    • He didn't reprogram the mac for voice activation, merely typed in the formula for transparent aluminium (very implausibly, for those who know about computers, but heck, it's just hollywood).

      The talking to the mouse bit is really funny :-)

      • It really bugged me that he didn't know how to use a mouse, but could still use Autocad and could type at 80 words per minute...

        So they have qwerty keyboard training in Starfleet Academy or something?
        • doubtful, since the computers from 200 years in the future (original Trek) don't use keyboards, they just have a bunch of switches and flashing lights.
        • You're assuming that Scotty, the uber-geek of the future, would choose a GUI over a CLI when VRI (voice recognition interface) wasn't available. :)
    • If Scotty ever visited /., he'd say:

      Cap'n, there be trolls here!
    • Blatant Karma Whoring.

      It was Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (or Save the Whales as my mates call it). He didn't actually program a MAC for voice recognition, either. He just assumed that it supported it, and was suprised when it didn't respond.

      That was one of the movies that Leonard Nimoy directed, and is easily one of my favorites.

    • Stupid Trivium (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @07:26PM (#3473708) Homepage Journal

      That Mac was supposed to be an Amiga.

      I was not directly involved with the debacle, but was closely connected with Commodore personnel who were in a position to know. Paramount originally wanted to use an Amiga in that scene in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. To that end, they contacted Commodore to obtain an Amiga 1000 for use.

      The dweezil at the other end informed them that Commodore had no procedures in place for distribution of promotional machines (marketing? What's that?). However, they would be willing to sell them a machine at cut-rate developer pricing. Surprisingly, Paramount agreed, cut a check, and sent it off.

      Fast forward a couple weeks: No machine. Another call to Commodore. It turns out that the amount of the check failed to include some trivial fee (shipping, tax, whatever), and the machine wasn't going to be shipped. Paramount was invited to send another check for the corrected amount.

      Paramount understandably got fed up and made it's next call to Cupertino, CA. Apple not only gave Paramount a machine, they assigned them a programmer to do whatever they needed to make the machine dance for the camera.

      Just another page in the ponderous tome of Commodore's incompetent management.


    • My favorite exchange:

      Spock: Ahh, Mr. Scott, I understand you're having difficulty with the warp drive. How much time do you require for repair?
      Scotty: There's nothing wrong with the bloody thing!
      Spock: Mr. Scott, if we return to Spacedock, the assassins will surely find a way to dispose of their incriminating footwear, and we will never see the captain, or Dr. McCoy, alive again
      Scotty: Could take weeks, sir
      Spock: Thank you, Mr. Scott

      (Star Trek VI) [moviesounds.com]
      Hilarious everytime!
  • by binaryDigit ( 557647 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:29PM (#3473301)
    If you're an old phart like me, it's kinofa bummer when actors that you knew and loved growing up start to die. We can remember the "young" versions of these actors and to even think of them being 82 is mind blowing.

    Heck, next thing you know companies like DEC and Pan-Am won't exist anymo... Damn, I'm really feeling old now.

    P.S. If this is true, and he doesn't pull through, condolences to his family.
  • by Joe Jordan ( 453607 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:29PM (#3473303) Journal
    Here [lapam.mo.it] is some biographical info on the beloved "Scotty" of Star Trek.
  • Wasn't his daughter just born a year or two ago?

    I hope to have that kind of stamina when I get to that age. Course, I also hope to have enough money not to have to work at that age too. All the more reason not to have kids.....
  • What? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Kwikymart ( 90332 )
    The link on the page that this story is on states that (in an update) he is just recovering from pneumonia. Here [syfyportal.com], look for yourself.
  • He's not best known as Lt. Commander Doo... Scott. He's best known as "Scotty" on Star Trek.

    Best wishes.
  • I'm givin' her all shes got Jim!!!.. she can't take no'moore..
  • by AragornSonOfArathorn ( 454526 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:32PM (#3473331)
    See the update here: http://www.syfyportal.com/article/?id=703 [syfyportal.com]

    He has been released and is recovering at home; he's not comatose
    • That is so Scotty!

      Tell the captain you can't possibly get any more out of the ship, then magically deliver an extra 10% so you look like a genius.

      • From Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:

        Scotty: It'll take at least 8 days, but for you, Captain, I can do it in 2.

        Kirk: Do you always multiply your repair estimates by four, Mr. Scott?

        Scotty: Aye, sir. How else do you expect me to keep my reputation as a miracle worker?

        Yup... he's an engineer.

  • The rumor says that his latest round of convention apperances was to raise money for his daughter, but then does not say why. What is the problem? Maybe we can all band together to help her out as our way of saying thanks for a job well done to him after he has passed.
  • I have to wonder why most people are just kind of cracking Star Trek jokes and such when this may be a serious situation. Couldn't you use Star Trek phrases for anything? If it actually involves Star Trek, than it's not exactly as witty, and since this is pretty serious, maybe this would not be a good time to be doing that sort of thing. How about something like Mark Hammil's carreer-shortening "Nooooo! That's impossible!"? That's much better.
    • And of course, in all seriousness, I sincerely wish him my best, and hope he had a fulfilling life.

      And if this is a hoax, it'll live in infamy longer than I will.
  • I saw him at the Tulsa sci-fi con last year. I'll bet he signed 400 autographs. I asked one of his helpers why he bothers to come to these cons at his age, he said "you can't keep him from coming, because he wants to."

    Thank you Mr Doohan.
  • I'm betting that the story submitter is the original "I heard some sad news on the radio today. $CELEBRITY is dead" troll.
  • But did you know that he's missing the middle finger of his right hand? [who2.com]

    They did a pretty good job of hiding this in the series, but if you're looking for it you can catch a glimpse every now and then.

  • by Telastyn ( 206146 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @06:39PM (#3473401)
    made news just two years ago with the birth of his daughter, Sarah, when he was 80 years old. His wife, Wende, was 43 at the time.

    Apparently she can take more of it Cap'n!
  • "Ah, just stick me in the transporter pattern buffer, Lad. Lock it into a diagnostic cycle so the pattern won't degrade and cross-connect it with the phase inducers to provide a regenerative power source, and I should fine until Doctor McCoy can have a proper look at this 'coma' problem..."

    At least, that's what he did in the Star Trek TNG episode "Relics [caltech.edu]." It was only "50 percent brilliant," though.

  • Yes, this has rumor status. No, it's not out of the question. James is a really fantastic individual and as anyone who has met him as he made his rounds on the con circuit, is always kind and well mannered. He can also tell a mean story or two.. and it's even better when you can get him talking about William Shatner.. Bwahahaha!

    He wanted to make sure his daughter and wife are taken care of when he is gone. That's what the money is for, no big mystery there.

  • "He's dead, Jim."

    "You idiot, I'm not dead. I'm not even in a bloody coma!"


    "Honest to Pete...and will you please tell Hemos and Commander whatever-his-name-is to change the bloody headline? Thank you!"

    • I was going to post the "I'm not dead" scenes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but the /. lameness filter wouldn't let me, so I'll link instead:

      Scene 2 [montypython.net] ("Bring out your dead!")


      Scene 15 [montypython.net] ("Message for you, sir")

      It's funny. Laugh.

  • Futurama (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cyr ( 571397 )
    Maybe this explains why Scotty was left out of the latest Futurama "where no fan has gone before"...

    Hilarious episode BTW, especially if watched in the middle of a TOS marathon.
    • Re:Futurama (Score:2, Interesting)

      by McSpew ( 316871 )

      I thought Doohan had died a couple of years ago and that was why he'd been left out. Of course, DeForest Kelley is long gone and they still had a facsimile of him in the show.

      I'm glad to hear Doohan is still alive, even if he is responsible for quite possibly the worst Scottish accent ever by an actor.

      I never liked Welshie.

  • by Linux_ho ( 205887 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @07:10PM (#3473613) Homepage
    LaForge: "Yeah, well I told the captain I'd have this analysis done in an hour."

    Scott: "How long would it really take?"

    LaForge: "An hour!"

    Scott: "Oh, you didn't tell him how long it would *really* take, did you?"

    LaForge: "Well of course I did."

    Scott: "Oh, laddie, you've got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker!"

  • I just got off the phone with Someone Who Knows(tm).

    He phoned Jimmy's wife, and asked her how he was, and she laughed out loud. He was in the hospital because of pneumonia, but he is home now.

    She put Jimmy on the phone (he told my friend to say hi to me =]) and he said that he's glad to be home from the hospital because he missed his daughter and "the food is much better."

    Please let everyone know that rumors of his death are greatly exaggerated.
    • are you sure there wasn't some sort of time distortion because of a warpcore breach that allowed you to talk to a 'Jimmy' from another dimension where ducks are thrown and baloons and nothing is what it seems?

    • As somebody else above said, you should use your powers for good - see if you can get James to consent to a /. interview.
    • I want to thank you for posting your note about Jimmy.

      He inspired me, for whatever that is worth, and when I read the article I was VERY worried about him. I trusted your message about him enough to set my mind at ease.

      I am sorry that some of those people (/. readers) are jerks to you. I frankly liked your portrayal of Wesley...it was awkward, but that was the point right...that Wesley was brilliant but awkward ? That they (ST Fans in this case) bear you so much ill will for playing the role is an indication of THEIR shallowness, their lack of understanding of film making and their cruelty.

      That they would remain so after you passed on relatively good news to a generally concerned crowd in this forum is more appalling to me.
  • I find it hard to believe that this is news for nerds, stuff that MATTERS, when the recent Cringely article about the death of his son and Cringely's call for help sent to geeks everywhere was rejected.

    Here is the first column. [pbs.org]

    Here is the follow-up that he promised not ot do. [pbs.org]

    Editors, get your priorities straight. We expect more from you. Stories about someone going to the hospital don't count.

    Is this REALLY off-topic? Read the links prior to modding.

    • by pgrote ( 68235 )
      I know you got modded off topic, but damn, I agree with you.

      Slashdot is more than willing to post his stuff all the time, but when he shares what happens and discusses his plans for fixing it they don't do it.

      Hell, I am sure that with everyone who visits slashdot that a solution to the problem he posted is within our means.
    • by sunspot42 ( 455706 )
      Mod this one up. I agree completely - way too much fluff here at /. these days. This Cringely article is exactly the kind of stuff that /. needs to be making us aware of - not the non-coma that Scotty isn't in.
    • Yes, SIDS is tragic and all. Is it more important to us than a hollywood star that is near and dear to many people? Well, it shouldn't be, but let's face it, it's not an ideal world were talking about.

      How much do we spend on internet access a year? How much do we spend on cable? How much on going to the movies? And compare that to charitable donations? No, it's definitely not an ideal world.

      I donate money monthly, and I manage to convince myself that "it's enough" or "all I can afford". Posts like those these bring up those "I should be doing more" feelings; and who of us really wants to be reminded that we're not ideal humanitarians? If every site I visited had only "important" stories like that... I'd give up surfing altogether, there's only so much guilt I can live with.

      But telling /. editors to change their priorites? Why not just mirror PBS and let the PBS crew decide what matters? Then obviously we'd see the Cringley post. Why not mirror E! and we'd see the Doohan post. Just mirror CNN?

      I come here for the news that "doesn't really matter in my life but is pretty interesting". To find out what's coming down the line from MS that I'm not going to bother touching until SP1. To see how other enthusiasts are using their time building lego DAT changers. To learn how to use an electronic flash to detonate nanotube structures. To see a hundred posts that say it's a little known fact that he's missing a finger.

      If you expect more from the editors, well, maybe you should just go to Salon.com or post at the Well. I don't think /. editors are doing too bad a job, they keep me entertained and mildly informed, which is why I come here.

  • by gwernol ( 167574 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @07:14PM (#3473633)
    This article reminds me of the headline from the Times newspaper (London, not New York) that is said to have won a most boring headline competition: "Small Earthquake in Chile. Not many dead". [xrefer.com]

    I can see tomorrow's Slashdot headlines now:

    CmdrTaco not dead.
    JohnKatz (sadly) not dead.
    Dick Cheney: is he dead yet? [isdickcheneydeadyet.com]

  • ...if I could...is for getting him to the nearest Klingon bird of prey and send him on a heliocircumnavigation voyage. His role on Star Trek has captivated a lot of us.
  • The "Flight Engineer" series can't be any worse -- and thanks to SM Stirling, I'd say it's a lot better -- than Shatner's "Tek" series. Come on! :-)

  • Why he's my hero (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Macrobat ( 318224 ) on Monday May 06, 2002 @07:34PM (#3473750)
    The documentary Trekkies has an interview with him where he talks about a fan letter/suicide note he got form a depressed fan. He found out where she lived, called her up, and asked her to meet him at the next convention he was going to attend. She did.

    He kept doing this for a while, meeting her at conventions and asking her to be at the next one...that's a pretty common suicide-prevention tactic, to get a promise from someone that you'll see them sometime in the future. That way they can't kill themselves.

    He lost touch with her for a few years, and thought the worst, until he got a letter from her stating that she'd gone to grad school (Engineering, I think), and that his intervention saved her life. When he was telling the story, he was fighting back tears.

    So yeah, he had a chance to do the Right Thing, and he did it. Celebrity may be a fickle thing, but he used his influence well.

    That's why I admire him.

  • First, they tell us TLGAD before the show airs on the west coast, and then they tell us Scotty is comatose and not likely to recover, while the man is still conscious!

  • Better setup that transporter so we can beam in into it, and preserve his life until LaForge finds him later.

  • He's (not) dead, Jim.
  • by trb ( 8509 ) on Tuesday May 07, 2002 @12:38AM (#3475328)
    Wouldn't it be cool if scads of folks slashdotted him with get well notes (in the US mail)? The dude is not feeling too well, and is practically the patron saint of geeks. I don't know his address, but I assume that some /.er knows how to find it, and could follow up here.

  • "The energizer's bypassed like a Christmas tree. She cannot take too many bumps."

    "Aye, lad. You're going to need something to wash that down with."

    "That ties it. That poppinjay Fox just beamed down with the landing party."

  • Not believing the 82-year age cited here, I went to IMDB [imdb.com] and sure enough, he's 82.

    It also said he fathered a child at 80, with his current 40-something wife.

    I can just hear the moment of conception now... : "I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain!"

Today is the first day of the rest of your lossage.