More 'Data' on James Doohan

BILL BRIOUX - Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:36 PM ET

BEVERLY HILLS -- Minutes before taking the stage to promote his new CBS sci-fi series, Threshold, Brent Spiner (Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation) learned of the passing of Star Trek's beloved Scotty, James Doohan.

"He was a lovely guy and of course I'm very sad to hear of his passing," said Spiner, who first met Doohan when the Canadian-born actor appeared as a guest on Spiner's series. "He actually worked a lot with LeVar (Burton, ST:TNG's Geordi La Forge), because they both (played) engineers," said Spiner, who ran into Doohan a few times after that.

Threshold executive producer Brannon Braga, who was a writer/producer on ST:TNG and went on to create and produce Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise, also hailed Doohan as a "very charming man and a wonderful actor."

Both men also commented on the fact that the Star Trek series is no longer "boldly" going forward after two decades of TV spinoffs and movie hits. "I think it's only in repose, it's hibernating," said Spiner. "Paramount would not agree that it's dead as a franchise. They have some plan down the line (for it to be) reimagined."

Just don't look for Spiner to wear the white face and yellow eyes again. "I'm a guy in his mid-90s (actually 56)," he joked. I don't think it would look great on me anymore."

On Threshold, he plays a disillusioned NASA microbiologist who is part of a team of eclectic specialists charged with saving the world from an alien invasion.

The best part, says Spiner, is he gets to look more like himself on Threshold, sporting his own white hair and glasses. "The difference in doing this sci-fi show as opposed to that sci-fi show is probably how (classic movie Tarzan) Johnny Weismuller felt when he started doing Jungle Jim," explained Spiner. "I'm still in the jungle, but this time I get to wear pants."

You are invited to sign James Doohan's Book of Condolence at ObituariesToday.com


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