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Eric: Shatner didn't even fight in World War II. Of course, he was ten at the time.

An addendum to my remembrance of James Doohan.

He had served in the Royal Canadian Artillery during World War II, culminating in getting shot multiple times on D-Day. His cigarette case, in his shirt pocket, saved him from a fatal chest wound, but he did have a finger shot off (which he concealed on camera, without using prostheses or the like. Which is astounding if you think about it).

So, wounded and maimed in combat on D-Day. An honorable sacrifice for tremendously honorable service, right?

The thing is... since he couldn't be an artilleryman any more... he retrained as a pilot, joining the Royal Canadian Air Force and flying as a Pilot Observer for the British for the rest of the war.

The man lost a finger and nearly lost his life on D-Day... and retrained to fly planes that accompanied B-17s on bombing runs.

The world didn't deserve someone that good.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at July 20, 2005 1:14 PM


Comment from: Steve Troop posted at July 20, 2005 2:22 PM

There will be a Melonpool strip about this tonight... not to exploit his death, but to celebrate his life.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at July 20, 2005 2:24 PM

Steve -- I could hardly expect otherwise.

Comment from: DocN posted at July 20, 2005 3:29 PM

Re: The missing digit

First I've heard of that, but interesting. Similarly, the fellow who played Radar O'reilly on M.A.S.H. only had two fingers, a thumb and pinkie, on his left hand. He, too, never used makeup or prostheses, but similarly concealed it with a prop like the characters' ubiquitous clipboard, or other misdirection.


Comment from: Misha Grin posted at July 20, 2005 3:59 PM

I think I had heard about the missing digit, but hadn't heard about the Radar O'reilly bit. That's niftiness.

However, I consider the cigarette case thing to just be further proof that cigarette's don't kill people...

... SMOKING cigarettes kills people. :-)

Comment from: Misha Grin posted at July 20, 2005 4:00 PM

Oh, and I almost forgot... wasn't he, like, in his 70's when his last kid was born? Dude, I'm sorry, but that's worthy of recognition itself...

Comment from: Misha Grin posted at July 20, 2005 4:01 PM

Sorry... one more time: He was 80.

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at July 20, 2005 7:43 PM

Sorry, but I cannot be sad about his death. If that isn't a complete life, I don't know what is. He is both a hero and a legend, for crying out loud.

Also, I think 'love what you do' is a wonderful attitude to have in life, as a complement to 'do what you love'.

Comment from: Steve Troop posted at July 20, 2005 10:28 PM

R.I.P. James Doohan

Comment from: xaandria posted at July 21, 2005 1:34 AM

I babysat that kid once.

My dad's business partner lives down the street from Jimmy's old residence. Yes, we called him Jimmy. His request. He was infinitely tickled that at said partner's Christmas parties, there was a Jim (my dad), a Jimmy, and a Jamie (me).

He'd tell war stories while nursing a glass of wine. His little girl kept me too busy to really hear them, though--she had an affinity for taking off her dress shoes and hiding them.

I remember once he beamed when I told him I was studying genetic pharmacology, specifically centering on wolf-hirschhorn disease and alzheimer's (this was a year before his diagnosis). I was 17 at the time and taking college courses. He told the room I was going to change the world.

I guess I'll have to in his memory, now. :)

But yes, I agree with Alexis--I can't really be all that sad that he died. Very full and, I would think, satisfying life.

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