Though the rumors of Shia LeBeouf's looming pinky amputation are probably false, maybe he shouldn't celebrate just yet. After suffering through that procedure, LeBeouf would have joined many an important sci-fi persona — and I'm not just talking about Frodo of the Nine Fingers. If you want to find out which episodes of Star Trek reveal Scotty's missing digit and which appendage NASA considers nonessential for its astronauts, read on.
James Doohan was nineteen years old when he joined the Royal Canadian Artillery, and twenty-four years old when he got his first combat assignment: the invasion of Juno Beach, on the coast of Normandy, on D-Day. After leading his unit to defensive positions for the night, a trigger-happy sentry shot a light machine gun at Doohan, and he took one round through his right middle finger (as well as four shots to the leg and one in the chest). Now there's a situation where amputation is unfortunately guaranteed. In his time as TV's Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineer of the USS Enterprise, Doohan's scenes were shot with stunt double hands. You can spot his injury in three episodes: "The Trouble with Tribbles," "Tomorrow Is Yesterday," and "Catspaw." Donald Kent "Deke" Slayton, one of the original "Mercury Seven" NASA astronauts, lost his left ring finger to a horse-drawn hay mower when he was a young farm boy in Sparta, Wisconsin. He was the only one of the Mercury Seven not to fly in the Mercury program. Believe it or not, however, that had nothing to do with his missing finger — it was because of his heart arrhythmia. Since he was a right-handed pilot, NASA figured his missing left ring finger wasn't an issue. And astronauts today aren't allowed to have had LASIK? I call bullshit. Daryl Hannah rose to sci-fi stardom after portraying alluring replicant Pris in Blade Runner. And she did it without her left index finger: when she was three, she got the unlucky appendage caught in the pulley of her grandmother's well. She didn't have the entire finger amputated, but she's missing the tip and the nail. In spite of all that, she's done pretty well for herself — for pity's sake, Pris killed a man with her thighs.
Galileo Galilei experienced a slight digital loss as well, but not while he was alive. Fellow Tuscan Antonio Francesco Gori stole the finger off of Galileo's corpse in 1737, as his body was being moved from a church closet to a mausoleum in the Basilica di Santa Croce. Over the years the deceased physicist's little wiggler found its way to the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy; now you can gaze yourself through the glass and marble case at the middle finger of Galileo's right hand. It looks like losing a finger or two isn't the end of the world, though it might impair one's ability to work toys from the mini-sized Smallest Transformers line. Shia, if you're still torn up inside over your crushed left pinky, don't fret — you could always regrow it. James Doohan image from Mental Floss. Galileo Galilei's finger image from Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza. Shia LeBeouf image from Just Jared.