Anton Yelchin’s first film role came in 2000, when the actor was a mere 11 years old. Since then, he has had roles in 42 movies as well as multiple television appearances. Sadly, it’s been reported that the actor has passed away at the age of 27.
Though he’s starred in a number of films, Yelchin is best known for his role as Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot films. He brought a sense of fun to the role while also showing off the character’s intelligence, breathing life into a supporting character who was often overlooked in favor of characters like Kirk, Spock and Bones. This was part of Yelchin’s magic; he was charismatic and gave viewers a reason to care about his characters.
According to Yelchin’s publicist, he passed away early on the 19th after what has been referred to as a “fatal traffic collision.” TMZ reported further details, claiming that he had been pinned against a brick mailbox attached to a security gate by his own car; it is suggested that he got out of the car for an unknown reason before leaving for a rehearsal, and the car rolled down the steep driveway. Police do not suspect foul play.
Born in the Soviet Union to professional figure skaters, Yelchin moved to the United States when he was only six months old after his parents secured political refugee status. Yelchin admits that he himself wasn’t very good at figure skating, though he did enjoy playing music. He has stated before that playing guitar gave him “a lot of fulfillment”, and he started a punk band called “The Hammerheads” to take a break from the success of his first Star Trek film.
Whenever an actor dies this young, fans are left to wonder what might have been. In some cases, we have an idea of the sorts of films that the actor might have gone on to star in because of their past body of work or their expressed interests. With Yelchin, though, there’s no way to guess which direction his career might have taken him. By age 27 he had starred in blockbusters, comedies, horror, dramas, independent films… he even voiced a Smurf and narrated a documentary. In the years ahead he might have branched out into directing, or further expressed his star power in a million different ways. He was an amazing talent, and he leaves behind legions of fans to mourn his passing.
Yelchin will appear in this summer’s Star Trek Beyond. Regardless of how it is received, Yelchin’s performance in it will likely stand as a fitting send-off for the actor. That was perhaps one of the best things about Yelchin… he put so much into his performances, that almost any performance would have stood the test of time had it been his last.
R.I.P. Anton Yelchin: March 11th, 1989 – June 19th, 2016