Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin dies when his car hits him, Hollywood mourns
Anton Yelchin, a 27-year-old actor best known for playing the character Chekov in two Star Trek movies, was killed early on Sunday when his car rolled and pinned him against a wall in his driveway.hollywood Updated: Jun 20, 2016 09:17 IST
Hollywood actor Anton Yelchin, a rising star best known for playing Chekov in the new Star Trek films, was killed by his own car as it rolled down his driveway early Sunday, police and his publicist said. He was 27.
The car pinned Yelchin against a brick mailbox pillar and a security fence at his home in Los Angeles, officer Jenny Hosier said. He had gotten out of the vehicle momentarily, but police did not say why he was behind it when it started rolling.
Yelchin was on his way to meet friends for a rehearsal, Hosier said. When he didn’t show up, the group came to his home and found him dead.
The freak accident tragically cuts short the promising career of an actor whom audiences were still getting to know and who had great artistic ambition. Star Trek Beyond, the third film in the rebooted series, comes out in July.
Director JJ Abrams, who cast Yelchin in the franchise, wrote in a statement that he was “brilliant ... kind ... funny as hell, and supremely talented.”
His death was felt throughout the industry.
I loved Anton Yelchin so much. He was a true artist - curious, beautiful, courageous. He was a great pal and a great son. I'm in ruins.— John Cho (@JohnTheCho) June 19, 2016
“What a rare and beautiful soul with his unstoppable passion for life,” Jodie Foster said. “He was equal parts serious thinker and the most fun little brother you could ever dream of.”
Yelchin co-starred in Foster’s 2011 film, The Beaver.
Anton was a sweetheart. Absolutely a great creative partner and artist.— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) June 19, 2016
“He was a ferocious movie buff who put us all to shame,” said Gabe Klinger, who directed Yelchin in the upcoming film Porto, likely to be released this fall. “He was watching four or five movies every night.”
Klinger said Yelchin had a particular affinity for silent films.
Sad news for such a talented young man. Condolences to the family of Anton Yelchin.— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) June 20, 2016
Devastated to hear about the brilliant Anton Yelchin. He was thoughtful, kind, and gifted. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) June 19, 2016
Anton Yelchin was one of my best friends. Can't say anything that conveys what this feels like— Kat Dennings (@OfficialKat) June 19, 2016
This is unreal. Anton Yelchin is such a talent. Such a huge loss.— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) June 19, 2016
Yelchin began acting as a child, taking small roles in independent films and various television shows, such as ER, The Practice, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. His breakout big-screen role came opposite Anthony Hopkins in 2001’s Hearts in Atlantis.
He transitioned into teen roles in films such as the crime thriller Alpha Dog and the comedy Charlie Bartlett. He also played a young Kyle Reese in 2009’s Terminator Salvation.
Yelchin, an only child, was born in Russia. His parents were professional figure skaters who moved the family to the United States when Yelchin was a baby. He briefly flirted with skating lessons, too, before discovering that he wasn’t very skilled on the ice. That led him to acting class.
“I loved the improvisation part of it the most, because it was a lot like just playing around with stuff. There was something about it that I just felt completely comfortable doing and happy doing,” Yelchin told The Associated Press in 2011 while promoting the romantic drama, Like Crazy. He starred opposite Felicity Jones.
“(My father) still wanted me to apply to college and stuff, and I did,” Yelchin said. “But this is what I wanted.”
The discipline that Yelchin learned from his athlete parents translated into his work as an actor, which he treated with seriousness and professionalism, said Klinger, the director.
He drew on his Russian roots for his role as the heavily accented navigator Chekov in the Star Trek films, his most high-profile to date.
“What’s great about him is he can do anything. He’s a chameleon. He can do bigger movies or smaller, more intimate ones,” Like Crazy director Drake Doremus told the AP in 2011. “There are a lot of people who can’t, who can only do one or the other. ... That’s what blows my mind.”
Yelchin seemed to fit in anywhere in Hollywood. He could do big sci-fi franchises and vocal work in The Smurfs, while also appearing in more eccentric and artier fare, like Jim Jarmusch’s vampire film, Only Lovers Left Alive and Jeremy Saulnier’s horror thriller Green Room, a cult favorite that came out earlier this year.
Klinger recalled a conversation with Jarmusch about Yelchin before Klinger cast him in Porto.
“Jim was like, ‘Watch out. Anton read Dostoyevsky when he was like 11 years old!’” Klinger said.
The director said that for Yelchin, every film was an opportunity to learn and study more. He admired Nicolas Cage’s laser-focus on the Paul Schrader film Dying of the Light and also got to work with one of his acting heroes, Willem Dafoe, on the film Odd Thomas.
“He used to refer to Willem as an artist, not an actor,” Klinger said. “That’s the kind of actor he aspired to be, where people didn’t regard him as an actor, they regarded him as an artist.”
Yelchin’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, confirmed his death and said his family requests privacy.