Monday, June 27, 2016

I Can Do Zat: A Tribute to Anton Yelchin

On June 19, 2016, Anton Yelchin died at the age of 27. Known best for his role as Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek films, he will be missed by many.

Anna Gensimore
I absolutely loved Anton Yelchin as Chekov and pretty much everything else I've ever seen him in. He had an easygoing manner on screen and off that made it seem like he'd be easy to get along with in real life. Often my favorite actors are the ones who seem just like normal people that happen to be passionate about their craft. When I researched more about his background, the fact that he was indeed one of those humble few became evident.

I'm not even going to pretend that I have something profound to say about this tragedy. Things like this always feel unreal; Anton shouldn't have died that night. His Jeep had a recall; how many times does that happen and we barely have time to get it looked at? There's something that's quite disturbing about someone so close to your age passing away in a freak accident. It could have happened to any of us. Anton Yelchin seemed to be a genuinely sweet guy who had an awesome career already and an even brighter one ahead of him.  This year is full of crap. I hope that his family is able to gain some sense of closure and peace through this trying time.

Jaime Heller
On June 19th, a friend sent me a link with the headline "'Star Trek' Actor Anton Yelchin Dies in Fatal Traffic Collision," and my heart dropped in my chest. I had no words, no reaction. I just stared at my phone in disbelief. It's an odd feeling, I think, to hear about a celebrity's death. I didn't know him, but I felt like I knew him--or at least knew him enough that it affected the rest of my day and most of this past week.

When Leonard Nimoy died last year, I was so full of sorrow that the world had lost such a legend. But with Anton Yelchin's death, I'm full of anguish--even anger--that his life has been cut so short. I only saw him in four films. His name might be recognizable due to his appearance in the Star Trek films, but that is it. He didn't get the chance to become a legend like Leonard Nimoy. He didn't get to become the rising star everybody said he would be.

I didn't realize how much it had affected me until I sat down to write this. Tears sprang into my eyes, and I felt foolish. I didn't know him. I'm not his family or his friend--I can't possibly understand the devastation they must be feeling right now after losing someone they hold so dear. The countless tweets from other celebrities I read over the past week were touching. Perhaps he wasn't known that well by the world, but he was still known by many people in the Hollywood scene. I adored him as Chekov in both Star Trek films (and I achingly look forward to seeing him one last time in Star Trek Beyond). I thought he was spot on as Kyle Reese in Terminator Salvation, and it's that movie that made me realize how wonderful of an actor he was. He played such a different character than Chekov that I saw his potential. And he was just as good as Ian in Only Lovers Left Alive. I wish I had seen more films starring him. I wish I had been one of the people to care more. But his short time in Hollywood still made an impact, and he will not be easily forgotten. So maybe he did become his own type of legend.

Mirriam Neal

Sky Destrian

It's hard to figure out what to say about Anton Yelchin and his death. I was shocked and saddened when I heard the news, and even now as I write this, I feel like crying. Anton's life was a bright shining star that was cut short all too soon. Though I haven't always liked aspects of the Star Trek reboots, Anton Yelchin's take on Chekov was one of the few things that I loved. He always brightened my day, and he was a ray of sunshine. It breaks my heart that he couldn't brighten the world longer. All I can say is this: he will be deeply missed. Rest in peace, Anton. Thank you for all you've done.

Bethany Baldwin
I never knew much about Anton Yelchin. I only saw him in the Star Trek films, but those were enough to reveal to me what a talented young actor he was, and I wish I could have seen more of his career before now. So many deaths have happened in my life recently. My grandmother in November, my favorite furry friend in January, and several celebrities who have been a part of my life without even knowing it. Most of these deaths have been understandable. Old age and sickness are natural enemies of the body. Anton Yelchin, however, wasn’t old or sick. He was a young man with a promising career that was sadly cut short. Some are likely angry at this, while others are contemplating life and death and the way the world works. But in death it is always best to celebrate life.

Anton Yelchin instantly endeared the character of Chekhov to me with his probably legit Russian accent. Whenever I think of Star Trek and of him, I think of his character excitedly proclaiming “I can do that!” when he has to beam someone up. The actor proved that he could do a lot of things. I’ve seen numerous thoughts posted from so many actors and directors praising not only his acting talent but also the sweet and professional person that he was. Without any evidence of fake sympathy, each person professed a deep admiration and true sense of loss at the news of his death. Anton Yelchin has not left behind a world of enemies, and I believe that he will be remembered for many years. Better than making a thousand films and winning endless awards is the legacy of being loved by many for the person that you are, and from all that I have seen, Anton Yelchin could say “I can do that.”

Please feel free to leave your own tribute to Anton Yelchin in the comments. 

1 comment:

  1. This was so sad, and I can't help but agree with all of you and your words. This shouldn't have happened and it's terrible that it did happen and in some ways, the only thing we can do to grieve together. But we will remember him fondly, always zat.