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Actor Walter Koenig rose to fame in the 1960s as Mr. Chekov on the television series Star Trek. He has reprised his role in several film adaptations of the show, including Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
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Born on September 14, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois, actor Walter Koenig grew up in New York City. He started acting in high school. He first attended Grinnell College before transferring to University of California Los Angeles. After college, Koenig studied acting at New York's Neighborhood Playhouse. He landed the part of Pavel Chekov on Star Trek in 1966. Over the years, Koenig has reprised his most famous role in several films,
"At my age I don’t care anymore. Most of my vanity, along with my hair, has pretty much vanished."
including Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991). From 1994 to 1998, he played Alfred Bester on Babylon 5. Koenig has also written several books, including 1988's Warped Factors. He developed the comic book series Things To Come, which debuted in 2011.
Actor, writer Walter Koenig was born Walter Marvin Koenig on September 14, 1936, in Chicago, Illinois. Koenig's acting career spans nearly five decades, with his most notable role being that of Ensign Pavel Chekov, in the television program, Star Trek.
The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Koenig largely grew up in New York City. There he attended public schools. Koenig began acting in high school, but he didn't become serious about performing until later. After starting out at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, he then transferred to University of California Los Angeles. Koenig earned a bachelor's degree in psychology.
While he had initially expressed some interest in attending medical school, Koenig changed direction after college. He was encouraged to pursue acting by one of his professors. Returning to New York City, Koenig enrolled at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse to study his craft.
Koenig moved from stage acting to television in the early 1960s, beginning with his role on the cast of A Day in Court, a short-lived series that reenacted actual court cases. In 1965, he nearly landed a role on the program Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. It was a disappointing loss, but one that was more than made up for a year later when Koenig landed the role of Pavel Chekov on the second season of the sci-fi show Star Trek.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry added Koenig's character after the Soviet media criticized him for not including a Russian character in the program. Chekov fit seamlessly into the series' storyline, but the larger ratings that Roddenberry had envisioned for the program never materialized. Star Trek was canceled after just three seasons.
Helped by Star Trek's unprecedented popularity following its cancellation, Chekov easily moved on to a host of different projects, including work as a writer on the animated show Land of the Lost. He also embraced his Star Trek identity, appearing with much of the rest of his former cast members in the film adaptations of the program. This big screen revival of Star Trek enjoyed a much longer run than the original television series, spanning from 1979's Star Trek: The Motion Picture to Star Trek: Generations (1994).
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Learn more about the stars of the wildly popular Star Trek television and film franchise. Created by Gene Roddenberry in the early 1960s, this otherworldly series debuted on the small screen in '66 and has since seen dozens of installments, most recently the J.J. Abrams-directed Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), starring Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Chris Hemsworth and Zachary Quinto. Learn more about other cast members of the franchise, including William Shatner, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, George Takei, Kirstie Alley and Winona Ryder. Who knows, you might even discover your inner-Trekkie.
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