James Doohan died today. He is the second of the original Star Trek actors to pass away, following DeForest Kelley, who died in 1999. I remember when I was younger and in more of a Trek haze than I am nowadays, I could never imagine what would happen once my heroes started to pass on. To me, it was like a relative that you see on occasion no longer being there – tough to stomach.
I met Jimmy several times at conventions (look, I said I was a geek). Three that were always favorites were Jimmy, Nichelle, and George. They all suffered through endless repetitive questions and flashes of cameras with big broad smiles. Some would cut off the autograph lines after a certain point, but Jimmy just kept signing. I remember how I felt bad at one convention when near the end of his speaking time (I think this was near the time Star Trek 5 came out), he started to get into some poetry he wrote. I good chunk of the audience started to bolt for the door to get to the autograph table. I thought that was really rude of people. In the end, I got my autograph (It’s on a crew photo from Wrath of Khan) and walked away a happy little goober.
When I worked on Pooh, there was a cast member who dressed up like a Klingon for conventions and special events and we often talked about Jimmy since he was having his final convention appearance last year. His health was fading fast, but he still had that twinkle in his eye. I wanted to go, but my convention days were long gone. I am glad I at least got to meet and thank someone who helped shape me growing up.
Sweet Dreams Mr. Scott.
Ps: I forgive you for that appearance on Knight Rider 2000.