[The following news release was provided by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.]
WHO: Walter Koenig
Emcee: Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO Leron Gubler
Guest speakers: Esther Shapiro and J. Michael Straczynski
WHAT: 2, 479th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of TELEVISION
WHERE: 6679 Hollywood Boulevard in front of Board Walk Restaurant and near the star of his friend George Takei’s star
WHEN: September 10, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.
This ceremony will be live video-streamed at www.WalkofFame.com
Born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 14, 1936, Walter Koenig spent his childhood in the Inwood area of Manhattan, New York. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants from the Republic of Lithuania in the Soviet Union. He attended New York public grammar schools and graduated from Fieldston High School in Riverdale, NY. He did his first on-stage work in high school with the lead role in both Peer Gynt and Shaw's Devil's Disciple.
Walter's interest in psychiatry prompted him to attend Grinnell College in Iowa with a pre-med major; he later transferred to UCLA. After receiving a BA in psychology, a professor encouraged him to invest in his acting talents and he enrolled in New York's Neighborhood Playhouse.
Walter Koenig's professional acting career spans 50 years of stage, television and film work. He has appeared on television more than 100 times in no less than 42 separate roles. His remarkable talents and range as an actor have won him accolades for roles including everything from a teenage gang leader (Alfred Hitchcock Presents) to a middle-aged Tom Sawyer (The Boys In Autumn).
Koenig was one of the seven main cast members of the original Star Trek television series, airing from 1966-1969. That the series is an iconic part of our television history is without question. Star Trek words and catch phrases have become entrenched in our language, and its fictional technology has inspired actual developments - including cell phones, GPS, air hypos, scanners and the internet itself.
Koenig's character, "Chekov", was more than just another of the "4 supporting crew" on Star Trek. Rather, the Russian character's inclusion in the multi-national crew during the height of the Cold War was a bold milestone in the history of American television, and a trademark Star Trek's daring vision of a more hopeful future, where we got along with our enemies. In an America gripped by the Cold War and consumed by the Space Race against the Russians, Walter's performance gave viewers a witty, intelligent and dedicated Russian patriot that was nearly impossible to dislike. "Chekov" is best known for his sense of humor, quirky accent and oddball nationalism - which only illustrates that television audiences of the 60's were able to accept his respected, efficient membership in the bridge crew so effortlessly that they forgot the character was one of their most feared enemies: a Russian. The character of "Chekov" was thought so important to the main crew that he was included in the 2009 Star Trek feature film, despite the fact that he was a second season addition to the cast and cements the fact that he was a pivotal character with a resounding acknowledgment by the studio who owns the Star Trek franchise.
A star-studded, two-day celebration is planned to kick off Koenig's Star ceremony. A gala event will commence on September 8, the 46th Anniversary of Star Trek... at the world famous Egyptian Theater and will culminate with a grand banquet and Roast at the Beverly Garland Hotel on September 9. See www.PlanetXpo.com for more information and to purchase tickets.
Walter has the notable and remarkable distinction of adding a second iconic character to the American television lexicon. In the 1990's he again became well-known throughout the world as "Bester" on Babylon 5. He was both "The man we most love to hate" (1997 poll of 200,000 sci-fi fans) and "The best villain in a series: most evil and complicated character (2006).
In addition to acting, Walter has written five teleplays that were produced for episodic television. He has shared his talents by teaching privately, at UCLA, at the Actor's Alley Repertoire Company, at Sherwood Oaks Experimental Film College and at the California Professional School of Psychology.
Koenig has always been active in the community - lending his name, talents and time to further causes that are close to his heart. They include the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Actors and Others For Animals, Actors Fund, Amnesty International, ASPCA, Childrens Hospital USA, City Of Hope, Doctors Without Borders USA, Defenders of Wildlife, Habitat For Humanity, Heal The Bay, International Rescue Rainforest Action Network, Plan International USA, Saban Free Clinic, St Vincent Meals On Wheels and the US Campaign for Burma.