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Koenig On Yelchin: ‘A Gifted Performer’

Series icon empathizes with actor’s parents after losing his own son

Walter Koenig never had too much of a chance to talk to the actor who would take over the role he originated in “Star Trek,” but Anton Yelchin still impressed him.

Koenig, who will turn 80 in September, spoke of a time where he shared a two-hour conversation with the younger Chekov on a soundstage

“His reputation as an artist preceded him,” Koenig told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “I knew I was in the presence of a gifted performer.”

Yelchin was killed early Sunday morning in a vehicle mishap in his driveway. He was 27.

“What I learned that day was how bright and sensitive he was,” Koenig said. “I walked away thinking, this is a good person. My heart goes out to his mother and father. I know what you’re going through.”

Losing anyone is hard, but losing a child can present its own issues — something Koenig tragically had to experience in his own lifetime.

His son, actor Andrew Koenig, disappeared in February 2010 in Vancouver, only to be found nearly two weeks later, a victim of suicide. The younger Koenig was best known as Richard “Boner” Stabone in the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains,” and had a minor role in a 1993 episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.”

Yelchin’s parents are former professional figure skaters Viktor Yelchin and Irina Korina, who emigrated to the United States from the then Soviet Union in 1989 when their son was still an infant.

No funeral details for the actor have been released.

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