James Doohan was a Star Trek legend but did you know he was Leslie Nielsen’s classmate?
James Doohan is a man of many talents and interesting bits of trivia. Firstly, he wasn’t Scottish, he’s Canadian. Despite his wonderful accent as Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, it didn’t come to him honestly. He created his accent while developing the character. His voice work would also serve him well as he played several characters on Star Trek the animated series, and even helped create the Klingon and Vulcan languages for the franchise.
In another bit of interesting trivia, he also acted with Gene Roddenberry’s future wife, and actress on several Star Trek properties in her own right, Majel Barrett. The two worked on the 60s cowboy-western, Bonanza together. The duo were in the season two episode, “Gift of the Water”.
What you may not have known is that Doohan was a classmate of one comedy legend, Leslie Nielsen.
James Doohan went to school with Leslie Nielsen and Tony Randall
Doohan wasn’t some bright-eyed and bushy-tailed teenager when he went to acting school. Having charged Juno Beach on D-Day as a member of Canada’s Royal Canadian Artillery, Doohan was battled tested for real. It’s rather fitting he was because, like his classmate, Leslie Nielsen was also enlisted in the Canadian military during World War II. Only as a member of the Canadian Air Force.
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Upon the end of the war, both men ended up at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. According to Heroes and Icon’s website, the two were classmates together at the New York-based school and even shared space with none other than Tony Randall.
"After World War II, the aspiring actor earned a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City. Fellow students in the conservatory included fellow future television stars Randall and Nielsen."
It’s rather interesting to see just how talented the two men became in their careers, with Doohan really nailing a wide arrange of voices, and Nielsen’s comedy-timing being second to none. It clearly shows how strong the school is at teaching. The school also helped produce some of the biggest names out there, people like Jeff Goldblum, Kim Basinger, Steve McQueen, and Christopher Meloni were all students there at some point.
Another student who went there? A fellow Star Trek alumni and Doohan’s co-star on Star Trek; Walter Koening. The two didn’t attend at the same time, but it’s still rather interesting to see the studio produce such great talent who would one day work with one another.