James "Scotty" Doohan Has Alzheimers

Jimmy Doohan’s wife, Wendy, released a statement (I’m a luddite with links) stating that the 84-year-old actor is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s. She said that he still recognizes friends and family, and still has moments when he is as “sharp as a tack,” but most often has trouble “remembering words,” and gets frustrated doing interviews, conventions, etc. Next month, he will make his final public appearance at a “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” celebration in L. A., after which he will be presented a star on the “Walk of Fame.”

In recent years he has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease and diabetes.

He is the father of seven children, the youngest is only FOUR years of age (his wife Wendy is but 47). I feel most for this child, having to watch her father “leave” her while still technically alive. Thank God for small favors–my father died instantly of a heart attack when I was but four years old, and did not suffer.

Doohan has had a long career, and served on D-Day (and was wounded) in the Canadian Artillery.


Sir Rhosis

served on D-Day (and was wounded)


It’s said that you can see his injury in “The Trouble With Tribbles” and “Cat’s Paw”.

First Bones, now Scotty.


^^^In lots of eps and movies, actually. IIRC, in his autobiography, he entitled the chapter dealing with his wartime service, “Giving Hitler The Finger.” Sharpnel so destroyed the finger that he finally just told the doctors to stop trying to save it, and to just amputate it.

Sir Rhosis

Here is a link to the story:

Wow, I feel as if time is really moving on. James Doohan was also a WW2 veteran (and D-Day participant).

At least there is no Star Trek “curse” to speak of. (Unless you want to mention the ‘curse’ of having to work with Shatner). Seems everyone connected with the show has led (or is leading) very full lives.

Good luck Scotty.

Grotz. :frowning:

I’m not terribly surprised, I guess. But it is very sad. Scotty was one of my favorites and Doohan was a pretty funny fellow. We saw him a few years ago at Dragon*Con and he didn’t look good then and we didn’t think he would be long for this world. He was very happy about the baby though, as I remember.

It’s good to see that he has let go of his anger at Shatner. Two men, ages 84 and 73, should have peace and tranquility at those stages of life, and not bicker over upstaging on a 40 year old TV show.

In fact, I wonder… for years Doohan has famously refused to put up the money for a star on the Walk, saying he was not the kind of guy to pay for a pat on the back. Fans had been trying to raise the money, and his son, Chris Doohan, even had a web site. A couple months ago, an annonymous donor came through with something like fifteen thousand doolars to assure his star.

I sorta suspect it was Shatner or Nimoy who put up the money.

Sir Rhosis

That’s awful. If I were Scotty, I would beam myself up now.

You pay money to get a star on the walk of fame?

I met Doohan back in the 80’s, at a con in Kansas City. Two of us convention-goers, along with the convention chairperson, had won, in a drawing, a dinner with Doohan. Two years earlier I’d won the same sort of thing with George Takei. Let’s just say Takei was a much nicer celebrity, taking time to talk with all of us individually, and was very amusing. Maybe Scotty had just been having a bad day or something, but he seemed very standoffish to us fans, not talking to us, but only the convention chairperson.

From here (click on the Walk of Fame tab)

Not to be morbid or opportunistic, but this would be a fascinating case for a gerontologist to study for a journal article. There are few if any bonds more powerful than parent-child (it’s very common for the senile and Alzheimers;victims to become obsessed over care of “the baby” even when they haven’t had a baby to care for in 60 years) and yet, since the littlest Doohan is only 4, she will probably be one of the first memories of his to go since the disease unravels the mind from present back (you can usually remember your 30s far better than your 70s). Since very few men with Alzheimers actually have small children, it would be interesting to see how the case affects the parent-child recognition and interaction.

Total sympathies to Wendy Doohan of course; at least James is lucky in having a life-partner young enough to deal with this crisis, and at least she is young enough that she will still have some life and energy left after it runs its course (unlike Nancy Reagan, who at 83 is finally free but too old to really feel liberated).

I wonder if he’ll continue to appear at the conventions. Since he’s in the early stages and his memory of the 60s and D-Day should be relatively unaffected, he could still conceivably entertain for another year or more. (On the bright side, soon he’ll have forgotten he was ever associated with Homeboys from Outer Space.)


He’s done his last.

I actually ran into him at a McDonalds about 20 years ago. He told me, and I’ll never forget this, that I should get my butt out of the handicapped parking space! And he said it firmly, but nicely.

FWIW, I mispelled Mrs. Doohan’s name in my OP–FTR, her name is Wende. Interesting link re his final convention and the Walk of Fame ceremony. His first four children were by his first wife, and he and Wende have three children, two older boys (grown) and the little girl.

And as his son Chris notes, the Alzheinmer’s is not really affecting his health too much at this point–the Parkinson’s and Diabetes are his worst health issues.

Over a year ago, when TV Land gave Trek an award, Jimmy had to be guided to the stage, his walk was slow and faltering even then, and while Shatner, Nimoy, and Nichols gave minute-long acceptance speeches (Takei and Koenig were not present), Doohan only rasped out in whispery tones, “Thank you.”

Honestly, and it sounds terrible, I guess I hope he succumbs to his other ailments before the Alzheimer’s robs him of his dignity, and inflicts suffering on his family.

Sir Rhosis

He might have actually said more. There was a very obvious edit after “Thank you.” I think TVLand cut it short deliberately out of respect. Even before he spoke, it was obvious he was not in good health. To show him wheezing out anything longer might have appeared at least embarrassing, and at worst humiliating.

Wow, ya know, in watching the episodes as a little kid, the cast seemed to be like gods, they could do anything, go anywhere, solve any problem, have sex with green women, and all these years later to see them felled by the same things us mere mortals are prey to is depressing. In the back of my head, a little voice is saying, “Dr. McCoy could save him if he were here.” :frowning:

Out of curiosity, does anybody know how James & Wende Doohan met? She is currently 47, they have been married since 1975, thus they wed when he was 55 and she was no more than 18. (She wasn’t pregnant as their first child wasn’t born until 1977.) That’s just a bit odd (not to mention creepy), so I was wondering what the circumstances were.

It’s hard to believe that these guys are now dying off. First Kelly a couple years ago and now Doohan will probably follow soon. After this, it could be anyone. Maybe even Stewart… he’s not much younger than the TOSers. :frowning: