Damn. James Doohan passed away today.
If the name doesn't ring a bell, certainly everyone has heard of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott--Scotty from Star Trek. You know... "She can't take much more of this, Captain"
I'm no Trekkie, though I do have sort of a soft spot for science fiction movies (I'll deny it if ever asked again), but everyone my age has seen Star Trek.
The thing about Doohan is he's a relic of another time in Hollywood. A time when actors knew there were things bigger than themselves. Doohan, a Canadian, served with distinction in the Canadian Forces in WWII. I can't possibly think of a single current actor of any note who would stoop to military service. Like Billy Clinton famously said of himself, they're destined for better things.
Doohan served as an artillery officer until he was wounded on Juno Beach during the invasion of France. Wounds to his leg precluded continuing as a ground pounder, so he was reassigned to fly spotter aircraft to direct artillery. Numerous biographies all note that he became known as "the craziest pilot in the Canadian Air Forces".
He apparently possessed quite the intellect as well, with a particular gift for linguistics. Most of the punks in Hollywood today can barely light their own cigarettes, much less complete a crossword puzzle.
On a more prurient note, I'm impressed that he apparently fathered a child at the age of 79.
RIP, James Doohan, and thank you for serving the world in its time of need.