A bronze statue of sadly deceased actor Anton Yelchin was unveiled in Los Angeles on Monday, accompanied by a score of remembrances by friends, families and Hollywood figures. The gathering was attended by Yelchin’s family, along with collaborators in the movie industry that included the likes of J.J. Abrams, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Lawrence, Emily Hirsch and Jon Voight.
Several of those names are familiar to audiences from the most recent theatrical run of the Star Trek franchise, in which Yelchin starred as a younger version of Pavel Chekov, a skilled ensign on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Chekov was of course played by Walter Koenig in the original Star Trek TV series and its subsequent movies, and the character is noted as a fan favorite who brought a sense of youth to the bridge of one of science fiction’s most famous starships. Co-stars of Yelchin’s on the film such as Saldana spoke about the actor’s life and career next to a display of photos of Yelchin as a child, in an emotional display.
Yelchin was only 27 at the time of his death, which occured in June of 2016 when he was pinned against a wall by his sports utility vehicle, which had rolled down the driveway of his L.A. home. It was a shocking, accidental death that cut short a very promising Hollywood career that looked to be accelerating Yelchin into the role of a young leading man. In the years before the accident, in addition to Star Trek, he had starred as the lead in several films, such as Odd Thomas, Green Room and the surprisingly good 2011 remake of Fright Night. One got the sense, looking at Yelchin’s charismatic performances, that it was only a matter of time before he was considered a Hollywood A-lister. Instead, an accident robbed audiences of a performer who would likely have given them decades of memorable roles.
The statue of Yelchin is now open for public viewing in L.A.’s Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s “Garden of Legends.” It was created by sculptor Nick Marra and FX/makeup legend Greg Nicotero.