It was a week when most of us are counting down to the next movie. Others are making plans to go to Vegas or one of the various cons that are on at the moment. Then like a bolt of lightning, we got hit by the news that Anton Yelchin was dead. A talent whose career was cut short by an accident at the age of only 27.
Anton was tragically killed by being crushed between a car and a concrete mail post. A man whose career was on the upward path, a man whose Star Trek co stars heaped praise upon. Cruelly taken at so young an age.
We have lost many Star Trek illumine over the past few years, sadly with Anton being so young his was completely unexpected. For my part I’d like to pay tribute to the man and his life.
He was only 10 when he made his TV debut on “ER.” But even at that age his talent shone through. His character displayed maturity and stoicism in the way he dealt with his parents death. Ironically in a car crash. His eyes, which he used to great affect through out his career, wonderfully portrayed the pain and anguish caused by his parents death. It was a powerful tv debut.
Anton was born Anton Viktorovich Yelchin on March 11, 1989 in Leningrad, Russian. Now Saint Petersburg, Russia.
So yes he was a Russian playing a Russian and he deliberately rolled the V into W as Chekov.
His parents, Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin, were figure skaters who were celebrities as stars of the Leningrad Ice Ballet for 15 years. Being Jewish his family suffered political and religious persecution in Russia. Yelchin’s family moved to the United States in September 1989, when Anton was six months old.
His age has never really been a fixture in his career. Star Trek not withstanding, where he played a teenager. In fact Only last week at the Annecy Animated Film Festival, director Guillermo del Toro unveiled Yelchin as the lead voice actor in his upcoming DreamWorks Animation series, “Trollhunters.” His characters age was 15. His boyish looks and voice allowed him to voice or play people far younger than he actually was.
He has a stunning CV behind him, starting at the age of 9 in the independent film A Man is Mostly Water. He has also been in;
A Time for Dancing,House of D, Curb Your Enthusiasm, the television series Huff and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
But film recognition came for the role of Bobby Garfield in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), where he won Best Performance in a Feature Film for Leading Young Actor at the 2002 Young Artist Awards. The lead in that film was non other than Anthony Hopkins.
His next notable part was Zack Mazursky, a character based on real-life kidnap and murder victim Nicholas Markowitz. In the film Alpha Dog. USA Today’s review described the performance as “heartbreakingly endearing”. In fact when interviewed after the premiere, Markowitz’s mother praised Antons portrayal of her son.
He continued working with a variety of roles, both on tv and in indie films until he crossed into the world of Star Trek with JJs 2009 film. In which as you know, he portrayed 17-year-old navigator Pavel Chekov. The same year he was In Terminator Salvation, in which he was cast as a teenage Kyle Reese.
He reprised the role of Chekov in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016), he also played the lead in the thriller Odd Thomas. His next project was to be the aforementioned Troll production.
In his career he had won 7 awards. Not one person who has worked with him has ever said a bad thing about him. The tributes flowed freely from friends and work colleagues.
JJ you can see above, Zachary Wrote: ‘our dear friend. our comrade. our Anton. one of the most open and intellectually curious people i have ever had the pleasure to know. So enormously talented and generous of heart. wise beyond his years. and gone before his time. all love and strength to his family at this impossible time of grief.’
Other tweets swiftly followed.
Zoe Saldana was hit by the news on landing in Cuba. Her rep gave a statement to E! News, ‘She is beyond devastated and first and foremost her heart and prayers are with the Yelchin family during this time’
Paramount also released a statement;
‘Paramount joins the world in mourning the untimely passing of Antony Yelchin. As a member of the family, he was beloved by so many and he will missed by all. We share our deepest condolences with his mother, father and family.’
The tributes from all corners of Star Trek flooded social media from TNG cast members, to TOS and so on. The entire Trek family was in a state of shock. Such a stunning talent taken at such a young age. Even if your not a fan of JJ Trek. You can’t deny his acting ability. I for one will miss his performances and I’m sure he will be honoured both at the premiere and in many other ways related to the new film.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified the cause of death as “blunt traumatic asphyxia,” and stated that there were “no obvious suspicious circumstances involved.”Federal regulators had previously determined that the shifting system on that Jeep model could confuse drivers and roll away unexpectedly; they had ordered a recall of that model in April.
For us fans the best legacy we can give him is to honour his work and enjoy his last performance as Chekov. That’s a great tribute to an actor, enjoy the legacy they leave behind. Remember the man, his humour and his guile. The Star Trek cast in the sky will welcome him into the fold and we will be the better for knowing his amongst friends.