Anton Viktorovich Yelchin (Russian: Анто́н Ви́кторович Ельчи́н; March 11, 1989 – June 19, 2016) was an American film and television actor, known for portraying Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot series, Jacob Helm in Like Crazy, Jim Lake Jr. in Trollhunters, and several other prominent roles.
Anton Yelchin was born on March 11, 1989, in Leningrad, Russian SFSR (now Saint Petersburg, Russia) to Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin, pair figure skaters who were stars of the Leningrad Ice Ballet for 15 years. Due to the family's history of religious and political oppression (as they were Jewish), Yelchin's family fled to the United States when Anton was six months old.
He began performing in the late 1990s, appearing in several television roles and the Hollywood films Along Came a Spider and Hearts in Atlantis (both 2001). His role as Jacob Clarke in the Steven Spielberg miniseries Taken was significant in furthering his career as a child actor. He later appeared on the television series Huff and appeared in the films Alpha Dog (2007), Terminator Salvation (2009), Charlie Bartlett (2007), Fright Night (2011), The Smurfs (2011), Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) and Green Room (2015). He has appeared in Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and posthumously-released Star Trek Beyond (2016) and Thoroughbreds (2017).
Early in the morning of June 19, 2016, Yelchin was found by friends pinned between his Jeep Grand Cherokee and a brick pillar outside his home in Studio City, California, in what was described as a "freak accident". As Yelchin got out of his car to manually open his malfunctioning security gate, the vehicle (which Yelchin believed he had put into park, when it was in fact in neutral) apparently rolled back down his driveway, which was on a steep incline, and trapped him against the pillar and a security fence. He was pronounced dead later that day at the age of 27 from blunt trauma asphyxia.
A recall was issued for the 2014 and 2015 models of the Grand Cherokee for issues with the gearshift design that could make it difficult for the driver to determine whether the vehicle was in park or still in gear.
Since his death, it was revealed in 2017 that Yelchin was born with the terminal chronical medical illness cystic fibrosis (CF). In conjunction with this revelation, The Anton Yelchin Foundation was founded, whose mission is "... to empower and support young people engaged in creative arts who face career challenges due to debilitating disease or disability." On the year of its founding, the Foundation donated $1 million to the University of Southern California's adult cystic fibrosis center at Keck Hospital, which has since been renamed the Anton Yelchin Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at Keck Hospital of USC. Most recently, the documentary film Love, Antosha was released in August 2019, which focuses on Yelchin's life, personal relationships, and his secretive struggle against cystic fibrosis.
You were the heart of Trollhunters, in so many ways. Each time you stepped into the recording booth to become Jim Lake Jr., Guillermo, myself, and the directors always wanted to be there, inside the booth, close to you, to see your artistry at work. As we went through the seasons and our bond grew, you trusted us—that we, the Trollhunters team, would ensure that every ounce of your pure and transparent performance as Jim was the spirit driving our animated show.
You were our main character, our hero, our Trollhunter. You carried the heart of the story on your shoulders. You always gave us everything. In every recording session during our three years together, we not only witnessed an actor in constant search, always curious, but saw so many more of the amazing qualities that made you an extraordinary human being. You were incredibly generous with us, often asking us to do another take to capture the perfect moment. "...Just one more." You would cry, laugh, chuckle...I still hear that amazing chuckle you would do at the end of a reading, where you would tilt your head a bit down and to the side, then flash that unforgettable, genuine smile you had. You gave us so many astonishing and wonderful moments. Now, as Trollhunters ends and the world of our story grows, our task is to celebrate and honor one of your final performances. For us, it will always be your most memorable one.
We are deeply honored and blessed to have worked with you. You touched many lives in your brief, passionate journey through life, and you left a mark on every soul you met. I know this, because I was one of them.
Trollhunters is, and will always be... For Anton!
- Hearts in Atlantis - Bobby Garfield (2001)
- Star Trek - Pavel Chekov (2009)
- Green Room - Pat (2015)
- Like Crazy - Jacob Helm (2011)
- Trollhunters was Yelchin's second project working alongside Charlie Saxton. The two voiced the characters of Shun Kazama and Shirō Mizunuma, respectively, in the English-dub of From Up on Poppy Hill.
- Emile Hirsch, one of Anton's closest friends, has been cast to replace Anton Yelchin as Jim Lake Jr. for Part Three of Trollhunters, and the remainder of the Tales of Arcadia franchise.
- According to one of the show's writers, Aaron Waltke (on his Twitter account), Anton's two favorite episodes in Trollhunters were "Young Atlas" and "Hero with a Thousand Faces".
- Anton's tragic death happened to fall on Father's Day of 2016.
- According to Aaron Waltke on a Discord, He was recording episodes from 2014 all the way until the time of his unfortunate passing in 2016. He’d recorded dialogue up until midway through "Bad Coffee".
- "About - Anton Yelchin Foundation". antonyelchinfoundation.org, 2017, https://www.antonyelchinfoundation.org/about. Accessed 22 Aug 2019.
- Carras, Christi. "Anton Yelchin Foundation Donates $1 Million To USC Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic". The Hollywood Reporter, 2017, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/anton-yelchin-foundation-donates-1-million-usc-1154708. Accessed 22 Aug 2019.
- Romano, Evan. "A New Film Explores Anton Yelchin's Secret Cystic Fibrosis Diagnosis". Men's Health, 2019, https://www.menshealth.com/entertainment/a28554879/anton-yelchin-cystic-fibrosis-love-antosha/. Accessed 22 Aug 2019.
- The Art of Trollhunters
- FUN #TROLLHUNTERS FACTS. Twitter (December 14, 2019). Retrieved February 9, 2020.