Anton Viktorovich Yelchin[a] (March 11, 1989 – June 19, 2016) was an American actor. He was best known as Pavel Chekov in three Star Trek films: the first film, Star Trek (2009); the first sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013); and the posthumously released Star Trek Beyond (2016). He was also known for his work in independent cinema.
Born to a Russian Jewish family in Leningrad, Yelchin relocated to the United States, where he began performing in the late 1990s, appearing in several television and film roles, and receiving recognition for Hearts in Atlantis (2001). His role as Jacob Clarke in Steven Spielberg's miniseries Taken was significant in furthering his career as a child actor. He starred in multiple television series, including Huff and the posthumously released Trollhunters.
Yelchin was born March 11, 1989, in Leningrad, Soviet Union (now Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation). His parents, Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin, were pair figure skaters, who were celebrities and stars of the Leningrad Ice Ballet for fifteen years. His family is Jewish; in the USSR, they were subjected to religious and political oppression. Yelchin had said: "My grandparents suffered in ways I can't even begin to understand under Stalin." Nationally, Yelchin's parents were the third-ranked pair team; they thus qualified for the 1972 Winter Olympics, but were not permitted to participate by the Soviet authorities. Yelchin had said the reason was unclear: "I don't exactly know what that was – because they were Jewish or because the KGB didn't want them to travel."
Yelchin's family moved to the United States in September 1989, when Anton was six months old, after receiving refugee status from the United States Department of State. Yelchin's mother worked as a figure skating choreographer and his father as a figure skating coach, having been Sasha Cohen's first trainer. Yelchin's uncle is the children's author and painter Eugene Yelchin.
In an article published in the Los Angeles Times in December 1989, Yelchin's mother stated "A woman came up, saw Anton, and said, 'He's beautiful. He will be actor.'" Yelchin had stated that he "wasn't very good" at figure skating, his parents' profession.
After his film debut A Man Is Mostly Water, Yelchin's early roles in both film and television included A Time for Dancing, Delivering Milo, House of D and Taken. He guest-starred in the season four episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, as Stewart, Cheryl David's cousin and a self-described magician, knowing a card trick. His biggest film recognition came for the role of Bobby Garfield in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), in which he won Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor at the 2002 Young Artist Awards.
In Showtime's television series Huff, he played Byrd Huffstodt, the 14-year-old son of the eponymous character (Hank Azaria). In 2006, he guest-starred in the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Tru Love", as a boy who falls in love with his teacher. He also appeared in the Criminal Minds episode "Sex, Birth & Death" as Nathan Harris, a boy who has murderous urges towards prostitutes and approaches Dr. Spencer Reid to help him before he actually does kill.
In Alpha Dog, Yelchin played Zack Mazursky, a character based on the death of Nicholas Markowitz. USA Today's review described the performance as "heartbreakingly endearing". After the premiere, Markowitz's mother praised his portrayal of her son. Yelchin subsequently headlined Fierce People, which received a limited release on September 7, 2007. In 2008, he played the title role in Charlie Bartlett, a film about a wealthy teenager in a public high school. He also appeared alongside the Russian duo t.A.T.u. in the film You and I (which was filmed in Moscow during the summer of 2007), and co-starred with Susan Sarandon and Justin Chatwin in Middle of Nowhere. He starred in two films released in May 2009, including the eleventh Star Trek film as teenage navigator Pavel Chekov and Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation.
In 2011, Yelchin played Charley Brewster in Craig Gillespie's remake film Fright Night, starred in the romantic drama Like Crazy, and voiced Clumsy Smurf in the film adaptation of The Smurfs and its sequel. He replaced Russell Tovey for the voice role of Albino Pirate in the American version of the animated film The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists! (also known as The Pirates! Band of Misfits) (2012). Yelchin voiced Shun in Studio Ghibli's From Up on Poppy Hill.
He reprised his role for Chekov in Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and played the lead in the thriller Odd Thomas (2013) and the horror comedy Burying the Ex (2014). In 2015, he starred in the independent horror film Green Room which premiered at the Cannes film festival that year and received limited theatrical release in May 2016.
Shortly before his death, Yelchin had reprised his role as Chekov in Star Trek Beyond, which was released on July 22, 2016. He also completed filming several independent films which released posthumously. He recorded the voice role of Jim in Guillermo del Toro's Trollhunters. His last film was Thoroughbreds, released in March 9, 2018.
On June 19, 2016, at about 1 AM, friends found Yelchin's body pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick pillar outside his home in Studio City, California, in what was described as a "freak accident". Yelchin exited his car while in his driveway, which is on a steep incline, when it rolled back and trapped him against the pillar and a security fence. He was pronounced dead later that day. The Jeep crushed his lungs, and he is believed to have died within a minute of impact.
The producers of Star Trek said the role of Chekov would not be recast and the character would be written out of any subsequent films. Star Trek Beyond was dedicated to Yelchin.
Smurfs: The Lost Village was dedicated to him, as he had provided the voice of Clumsy Smurf in the live-action Smurfs films. Additionally, We Don't Belong Here, Rememory, Porto, Newness, Thoroughbreds, and the first two episodes of Trollhunters are dedicated to him.
In October 2017, a bronze statue of Yelchin was erected at his grave in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Celebrities present at the unveiling ceremony included Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, J. J. Abrams, Emile Hirsch, Demi Moore, Jon Voight, Drake Doremus and Jeremy Saulnier. Saldana spoke at the ceremony, paying tribute to Yelchin: "It is a bittersweet moment, because we’re here for Anton, and he’s not here with us. But, it alleviates my heart knowing that we’ll keep him alive. We’re going to keep remembering him in the hopes that by practicing all the things he believed in and remembering all the love that he gave us, and all the joy he gave us, we’re able to just keep him here with us."
The vehicle involved was among some Fiat Chrysler models under a recall notice for transmission errors leading to unintended rolling and while the initial recall had begun before Yelchin's death, no affected vehicles had yet been repaired.
On August 1, 2016, the attorney of Yelchin's parents announced that they were planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler. The dealership Yelchin purchased the vehicle from claimed he was responsible for his own death, because he had "misused" and "modified" the vehicle. The dealer also asked to be removed from the lawsuit.
|2000||A Man Is Mostly Water||Augie|
|15 Minutes||Boy in Burning Building|
|Along Came a Spider||Dimitri Starodubov|
|Hearts in Atlantis||Bobby Garfield|
|2002||A Time for Dancing||Jackson|
|2004||House of D||Tommy Warshaw|
|2005||Fierce People||Finn Earl|
|2006||Alpha Dog||Zack Mazursky|
|2007||Charlie Bartlett||Charlie Bartlett|
|2008||Middle of Nowhere||Dorian Spitz|
|New York, I Love You||Boy in the Park||Segment: "Brett Ratner"|
|2009||Star Trek||Pavel Chekov|
|Terminator Salvation||Kyle Reese|
|2010||Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac||Ace Zuckerman|
|2011||Like Crazy||Jacob Helm|
|You and I||Edvard Nikitin|
|The Beaver||Porter Black|
|From Up on Poppy Hill||Shun Kazama (voice)||English version|
|The Smurfs||Clumsy Smurf (voice)|
|The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol||Clumsy Smurf (voice)||Short film|
|Fright Night||Charley Brewster|
|2012||The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists||Albino pirate (voice)||American dub|
|2013||Movie 43||Necrophiliac worker at morgue||(scene deleted)|
|Odd Thomas||Odd Thomas|
|Star Trek Into Darkness||Pavel Chekov|
|Only Lovers Left Alive||Ian|
|The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow||Clumsy Smurf (voice)||Short film|
|The Smurfs 2||Clumsy Smurf||Voice|
|5 to 7||Brian Bloom|
|The Apprentice||Wayne||Short film|
|Burying the Ex||Max|
|Dying of the Light||Milton Schultz|
|2015||Court of Conscience||Father James||Short film|
|Kiss Kiss Fingerbang||Dr. Jack Stewart||Short film|
|Broken Horses||Jacob Heckum|
|The Driftless Area||Pierre|
|Star Trek Beyond||Pavel Chekov||Posthumous release|
|Porto||Jake Kleeman||Posthumous release|
|We Don't Belong Here||Maxwell Green||Posthumous release|
|2000||ER||Robbie Edelstein||Episode: "Be Still My Heart"|
|2002||Judging Amy||Davis Bishop||Episode: "The Justice League of America"|
|Taken||Jacob Clarke – Child||2 episodes|
|The Practice||Justin Langer||2 episodes|
|2003||Without a Trace||Johnny Atkins||Episode: "The Bus"|
|2004||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Stewart||Episode: "The Blind Date"|
|NYPD Blue||Evan Grabber||Episode: "Take My Wife, Please"|
|2004–2006||Huff||Byrd Huffstodt||25 episodes|
|2006||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Keith Tyler||Episode: "Tru Love"|
|Criminal Minds||Nathan Harris||Episode: "Sex, Birth, Death"|
|2011||The Life & Times of Tim||Trent (voice)||Episode: "The Caddy's Shack/The Sausage Salesman"|
|2015–2016||SuperMansion||Dudley (voice)||2 episodes|
|2016–2017||Trollhunters||Jim (voice)||39 episodes; posthumous release|
|2013||Star Trek||Pavel Chekov (voice)|
|The Smurfs 2||Clumsy Smurf (voice)|
|Year||Award||Category||Title of work||Medium||Result|
|2002||Phoenix Film Critics Award||Best Youth Performance||Hearts in Atlantis||Film||Nominated|
|2002||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor||Hearts in Atlantis||Film||Won|
|2003||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Special – Supporting Young Actor||Taken||Television||Nominated|
|2005||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special – Leading Young Actor||Jack||Television||Nominated|
|2009||Boston Society of Film Critics Awards||Best Ensemble Cast||Star Trek||Film||Won|
|2009||Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards||Best Ensemble||Star Trek||Film||Nominated|
|2010||Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards||Best Acting Ensemble||Star Trek||Film||Nominated|
Then too there was religious and political oppression. In 1972, as the nationally third-ranked pair team, they qualified for the Olympics but were not permitted to go because of their religion.
The Star of David has been in my family for a long time, and obviously I'm Jewish.
Anton did not share details about his medical challenges with the public, but he suffered from Cystic Fibrosis from an early age.
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