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James Doohan Basically Developed Star Trek's Scotty Himself

Contrary to popular belief, the late James Doohan, who played the famously Scottish engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott on the original "Star Trek," was not Scottish at all. In fact, according to a 1994 interview with Paul Rosa, the actor had only used a Scottish accent once before his time on "Star Trek," when he appeared in a 1963 episode of "Hazel" as a character named Gordon MacHeath. Doohan went on to explain that he got the part in "Star Trek" because he had auditioned for another show a few weeks before and didn't get it, but the director called him back for the "Star Trek" audition.

Later in the same interview, Doohan explained that being known for the role of Mr. Scott caused him to be typecast in roles requiring Scottish accents. He said it made him really angry at first, and that he doubted his decision to play a Scottish character in the first place, but he eventually came to embrace it and accepted roles that were looking for his artificial accent.

But why was the Enterprise's chief engineer made to be Scottish anyway? Well, it turns out that the character's nationality had a lot to do with Doohan's own decisions during his audition, and it was "Star Trek" creator Gene Rodenberry himself who gave Doohan that freedom.

James Doohan may have been the one to make Scotty Scottish

In a 1976 interview on NBC's "Tomorrow," which was hosted by Tom Snyder, Doohan explained that when he auditioned for "Star Trek," he was asked to do several different accents and they decided on the Scottish one. "And of course I was delighted with that because I think the tradition of an engineer is a Scotsman, because all the great motor ships and the steam ships of the world were built in the Clyde," the actor explained. This is a little bit at odds with an interview Doohan did in 1989 where he insisted that, after he did the accents, Roddenberry asked which one Doohan preferred, and Doohan decided that the engineer would have to be Scottish.

In a 2015 thread in the r/Scotland subreddit, user u/Sensational_Al asked what actual Scottish people thought of the actor's famous accent, and the consensus seemed to be that it was good, but not great. Redditor u/dangerousrockface called the accent "Decent for a Canadian in the 60s." A Redditor with a now-deleted account called the accent "okay," but also said, "We're absolute suckers for being pandered to," even when the accents in question aren't very good. While Doohan's accent isn't perfect, it's certainly iconic, and it's interesting to know how much of a hand he had in choosing it.