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Anton Yelchin

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Anton Yelchin
Антон Ельчин
Yelchin in 2011
Anton Viktorovich Yelchin

(1989-03-11)March 11, 1989
DiedJune 19, 2016(2016-06-19) (aged 27)
Cause of deathAccidental blunt traumatic asphyxia
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active2000–2016
RelativesEugene Yelchin (uncle)

Anton Viktorovich Yelchin (Russian: Антон Викторович Ельчин, IPA: [ɐnˈton ˈvʲiktərəvʲɪtɕ ˈjelʲtɕɪn]; March 11, 1989 – June 19, 2016) was an American actor. Born in the Soviet Union to a Russian Jewish family, he emigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of six months. He began his career as a child actor, appearing as the lead of the mystery drama film Hearts in Atlantis (2001) and a series regular on the Showtime comedy-drama Huff (2004–2006). Yelchin landed higher-profile film roles in 2009, portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot and Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation. He reprised his role as Chekov in the sequels Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) and Star Trek Beyond (2016).

Yelchin frequently worked on independent and lower-profile films, headlining the romantic drama Like Crazy (2011), the 2011 remake of Fright Night, the supernatural thriller Odd Thomas (2013), the romance 5 to 7 (2014), the horror comedy Burying the Ex (2014), the neo-noir The Driftless Area (2015), and the horror thriller Green Room (2015). As a voice actor, he voiced Clumsy Smurf in the live-action Smurfs films (2011–2013) and lead role James "Jim" Lake Jr. on the Netflix animated series Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia (2016–2018). He maintained an active career until his accidental death in 2016 when he was fatally injured by his SUV.

Early life and education[edit]

Yelchin was born on March 11, 1989, in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union.[1][2] His parents, Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin, were pair figure skaters who were stars of the Leningrad Ice Ballet for 15 years.[3][4] His family is Jewish, and were subjected to religious and political oppression in the Soviet Union.[3][5][6] Yelchin said that his grandparents "suffered in ways [he] can't even begin to understand under Stalin".[6] 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.[3][4] Yelchin 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."[7]

Yelchin's family left for the United States in September 1989, when Anton was six months old, and were thereafter granted refugee status from the Department of State.[3][4] His mother worked as a figure skating choreographer and his father as a figure skating coach, having been Sasha Cohen's first trainer.[8][9] Yelchin's uncle is the children's author and painter Eugene Yelchin.[3] 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.'"[3] Yelchin stated that he "wasn't very good" at figure skating, his parents' profession.[10]

Yelchin grew up in the San Fernando Valley.[11] He attended the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in Tarzana, California[8] and enrolled at the University of Southern California in the fall of 2007 to study film.[12]

Yelchin was born with cystic fibrosis, though the details of his medical condition were revealed posthumously[13] in 2017 by a foundation established in his name, the Anton Yelchin Foundation.[14][15]


After his film debut in A Man Is Mostly Water, Yelchin's early roles in both film and television include Delivering Milo, Along Came a Spider, Taken, and House of D. Yelchin played Bobby Garfield in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), for which he received a Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film: Leading Young Actor in 2002.[16]

Yelchin at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

On Showtime's television series Huff, Yelchin played Byrd Huffstodt, the 14-year-old son of the eponymous character (Hank Azaria). In 2004, he guest-starred in the Season Four episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm as Stewart, Cheryl David's cousin and a self-described magician who knows a card trick. 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 toward 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 real-life murder victim Nicholas Markowitz.[8] USA Today's review described Yelchin's performance as "heartbreakingly endearing".[17] After the film's premiere, Markowitz's mother praised his portrayal of her son.[18][failed verification] 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.[19] 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)[20] and costarred in Middle of Nowhere.

Yelchin at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival

Yelchin played supporting roles in two blockbuster films released in May 2009: Star Trek, in which he played teenage navigator Pavel Chekov, and Terminator Salvation, in which he played a young Kyle Reese.[21][22]

In 2011, Yelchin played Charley Brewster in Craig Gillespie's remake film Fright Night,[23] starred in the romantic drama Like Crazy, and voiced Clumsy Smurf in the film adaptation of The Smurfs, as well as its 2013 sequel.[24][25] 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).[26][27] Yelchin voiced Shun in Studio Ghibli's From Up on Poppy Hill.

Yelchin again played the role of Chekov in the 2013 film Star Trek Into Darkness. He also played the lead in the thriller Odd Thomas (2013)[28] as well as the horror comedy Burying the Ex and the romantic film 5 to 7 (both in 2014). In 2015, Yelchin starred in the independent horror film Green Room, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that year and received a limited theatrical release in May 2016, and the neo-noir film The Driftless Area.

Shortly before his death, Yelchin reprised his role as Chekov in Star Trek Beyond, which was released on July 22, 2016. He also completed filming several independent films that were released posthumously.[29] Yelchin also recorded the voice role of Jim Lake Jr. on Guillermo del Toro's Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia.[30][31]

Personal life[edit]

Yelchin in 2011

Yelchin enjoyed playing guitar, which he said gave him fulfillment, and was a fan of acoustic blues music. He once played for a punk band called The Hammerheads.[5][32]

He was also interested in photography. In January 2018, an exhibit of Yelchin's photography entitled Anton Yelchin: Provocative Beauty was displayed at New York City's De Buck Gallery.[33] Yelchin's photography has since been critically acclaimed by various magazines around the world as exhibits continue.[34]

Yelchin briefly dated his co-star Kristen Stewart when they were filming Fierce People; after his death, she described him as her "first heartbreak".[35]


After Yelchin failed to arrive at a rehearsal on June 18, 2016, he was found by friends at around 1:10 a.m. on June 19, 2016,[36] pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick pillar gate post outside his house in Studio City, Los Angeles, dead from a freak accident.[37][38] As Yelchin got out of his car and went to check his locked gate for mail, the vehicle apparently rolled back down his driveway, which was on a steep incline, and trapped him against the pillar and a security fence. Yelchin was pronounced dead at age 27 at the scene;[39] 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".[40][41]


Yelchin's temporary gravestone at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery was later replaced with a bronze statue of his likeness.

Following Yelchin's death, the producers of Star Trek stated that the role of Chekov would not be recast and that the character would be written out of any subsequent Star Trek films. Star Trek Beyond was dedicated to Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy, who also died between the release of Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond. Smurfs: The Lost Village was dedicated to Yelchin, 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, with the entirety of Trollhunters being dedicated to him upon its conclusion in May 2018. Yelchin was also featured in the "In Memoriam" section during the 89th Academy Awards.[42] Following the aftermath of Yelchin's death, actors and other celebrities posted their condolences via social media.[43][44][45]

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 hope 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."[46][47]

Yelchin was memorialized in the online video game Star Trek Online. He received a memorial plaque alongside several other late Star Trek actors, including Nimoy, James Doohan, and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. A Starfleet vessel named "Yelchin" is mentioned twice in Star Trek: Discovery episode "Unification III" (S03E07) and again in the season four finale "Coming Home" (S04E13).[48][49]

On January 28, 2019, Viktor and Irina Yelchin premiered a documentary about their son—Love, Antoshaat the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.[50]

In the final episode of Star Trek: Picard, a transmission can be heard from an Anton Chekov. Canonically, Anton Chekov is the son of Pavel Chekov, and was voiced by Walter Koenig, the first actor who played Pavel Chekov in Star Trek: The Original Series.[51]

Lawsuit and recalls[edit]

A Jeep Grand Cherokee like the one Yelchin owned

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the manufacturer of the Grand Cherokee, was aware of 2014 and 2015 models having a high rate of rollaway incidents due to a gearshift design that could make it difficult for the driver to determine whether the vehicle was in park or still in gear. FCA had already recalled all 2014–15 Grand Cherokees for this concern in April 2016, but the software patch to repair the vehicles did not reach dealers until the week of Yelchin's death. Following his death, FCA accelerated the recall campaign and took steps to get the affected Jeeps repaired more quickly than originally planned.[52]

On August 1, 2016, Yelchin's parents announced through their attorney that they were planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler.[53] The dealership from which Yelchin purchased the vehicle stated that he was responsible for his own death, because he had allegedly "misused" and "modified" the vehicle. The dealer also asked to be removed from the lawsuit.[54] On March 22, 2018, it was announced that Yelchin's family and Fiat Chrysler had confidentially settled out of court.[55]



Year Title Role Director Notes
2000 A Man Is Mostly Water Augie Fred Parnes
2001 Delivering Milo Milo Nick Castle
15 Minutes Boy in Burning Building John Herzfeld
Along Came a Spider Dimitri Starodubov Lee Tamahori
Hearts in Atlantis Bobby Garfield Scott Hicks
2002 A Time for Dancing Jackson Peter Gilbert
Rooftop Kisses Charlie Andrew Bernstein
2004 House of D Tommy Warshaw David Duchovny
2005 Fierce People Finn Earl Griffin Dunne
2006 Alpha Dog Zack Mazursky Nick Cassavetes
2007 Charlie Bartlett Charlie Bartlett Jon Poll
2008 New York, I Love You Boy in the Park Brett Ratner Segment: "Brett Ratner"
Middle of Nowhere Dorian Spitz John Stockwell
2009 Star Trek Pavel Chekov J. J. Abrams
Terminator Salvation Kyle Reese McG Also plays physical embodiment of Skynet (uncredited) in a Kyle Reese disguise
2010 Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac Ace Zuckerman Hans Canosa
2011 Like Crazy Jacob Helm Drake Doremus
You and I Edvard Nikitin Roland Joffé
The Beaver Porter Black Jodie Foster
From Up on Poppy Hill Shun Kazama Gorō Miyazaki Voice (English dub)
The Smurfs Clumsy Smurf Raja Gosnell Voice
The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol Clumsy Smurf Troy Quane Short film; voice
Fright Night Charley Brewster Craig Gillespie
2012 The Pirates! Band of Misfits Albino pirate Peter Lord Voice (American dub)
2013 Odd Thomas Odd Thomas Stephen Sommers
Star Trek Into Darkness Pavel Chekov J. J. Abrams
Only Lovers Left Alive Ian Jim Jarmusch
The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow Clumsy Smurf Stephan Franck Short film; voice
The Smurfs 2 Clumsy Smurf Raja Gosnell Voice
After the Disco Part One: Angel and the Fool Oliver Jacob Gentry Short film[56]
After the Disco Part Two: Holding On for Life Short film[56]
2014 The Apprentice Wayne Steve Baker and Damon Escott Short film; deleted Movie 43 segment
Rudderless Quentin William H. Macy
5 to 7 Brian Bloom Victor Levin
Cymbeline Cloten Michael Almereyda
Burying the Ex Max Joe Dante
Dying of the Light Milton Schultz Paul Schrader
2015 Experimenter Rensaleer Michael Almereyda
Broken Horses Jacob Heckum Vidhu Vinod Chopra
The Driftless Area Pierre Zachary Sluser
Green Room Pat Jeremy Saulnier
Court of Conscience Father James James Haven Short film[57][58]
Unity Narrator Shaun Monson Documentary[59]
2016 Star Trek Beyond Pavel Chekov Justin Lin Posthumous release; Dedicated to his memory
Porto Jake Kleeman Gabe Klinger
2017 Thoroughbreds Tim Cory Finley
Rememory Todd Mark Palansky
We Don't Belong Here Maxwell Green Peer Pedersen
2019 Love, Antosha Himself Garret Price Archive footage; documentary about Yelchin's life


Year Title Role Notes
2000 ER Robbie Edelstein Episode: "Be Still My Heart"
Geppetto Fighting Kid at School Television film
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"
Jack Jack Television film
2004–2006 Huff Byrd Huffstodt Main role
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 role; episode: "The Caddy's Shack/The Sausage Salesman"
2015–2016 SuperMansion Dudley Voice role; 2 episodes
2016–2018 Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia Jim Lake Jr Voice role; 41 episodes; posthumous release dedicated to him

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role
2013 Star Trek Pavel Chekov
The Smurfs 2 Clumsy Smurf

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role Ref.
2013 "Holding On for Life" Broken Bells Oliver [60]


Year Award Category Title of work Result Ref.
2002 Phoenix Film Critics Award Best Youth Performance Hearts in Atlantis Nominated
Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actor Won [16]
2003 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Movie, Mini-Series or Special – Supporting Young Actor Taken Nominated [61]
2005 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Special – Leading Young Actor Jack Nominated [62]
2009 Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Ensemble Cast Star Trek Won [63]
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Ensemble Nominated [64]
2010 Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Acting Ensemble Nominated [65]

See also[edit]

  • Davey Moore – American boxer who died in very similar circumstances


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External links[edit]