June 22 2024

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Koenig Humbled By Trek

2 min read

For Walter Koenig, landing a role on Star Trek was very lucky.

The actor wasn’t even sure after his audition that the audition had been good enough to get the role. Koenig waited a few hours for the word, and then it came courtesy of a costumer.

According to Koenig, the costumer approached him and said “‘I have to measure you for a costume, don’t I?’ And that’s how I found out that I became a member of Star Trek.”

No one expected the show to last as long as it did or anticipated its popularity years later, and Koenig was no exception. “Nobody did,” he said. “Don’t let anybody ever tell you that they knew. What made it all the more remarkable was how tenuous our position was. We were always teetering on the edge of cancelation. And certainly after the first season they thought they would be canceled. I wasn’t with the show then, but I had heard all the stories. And then the second season, again Paramount was very unsure about what they wanted to do. They kept insisting that the Nielsen ratings were poor and that we didn’t have the support that was required for us to continue shooting the show. And that wasn’t really true. It turns out that we were always in the second position in our time slot — no worse than second position.”

Koenig is grateful for the fans and their love of the show and characters. “Well, I could lie to you and paw the ground and say, ‘Aww shucks,’ but I’ll tell you, it’s an amazing feeling,” he said. “[It has] not always felt deserved on my part, but just an amazing feeling. I was a, literally a minor character on the show. And I didn’t make that great a contribution…But on the other hand, to be identified with something like Star Trek for forty-eight years, that really has a patina that just seems to grow more ardently with time, a veneer and a prestige that makes you feel proud that you’re an actor. It’s really very nice…It’s a good feeling. You know, how many people can say that something they did almost fifty years ago is still part of the American consciousness? I feel very lucky.”

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6 thoughts on “Koenig Humbled By Trek

  1. Walter is a class act. A highly articulate gentleman and humble person who is genuinely interested in what’s best for everyone. I remember seeing him at a convention in the autumn after STAR TREK V came out. He was actually wandering about the dealers’ tables when he encountered a father and his very young son. The little boy asked Walter if he was Chekov, and in the blink of an eye, Walter BECAME Chekov. He instantly spoke with Chekov’s accent and kneeled down and explained to the boy how to fire the phasers on the Enterprise and what it’s like to work with Kirk and Spock. I swear that kid was floating across the floor with joy at meeting one of his heroes, and it only cost Walter 5 minutes of his time. Say what you will, there’s not a lot of actors who’d have been that kind and done that.

  2. I had the same experience with George Takei at a convention after Star Trek V…when you got to talk to him, he had your undivided attention. He seemed really down about the box office numbers for Trek V and at the time, he announced to us it was most likely the last Trek film.

  3. A “minor character” who happened to be Russian. And that was a very big deal at that time. “Star Trek” was diverse in nationality, race, even species… and certainly in personalities… and uniform in acceptance of that diversity. Walter Koenig and the entire cast of every ST show should be proud of maintaining that Roddenberry tradition.

  4. I wish Takei would be more like Koenig, acknowledging his part as a secondary character and not hanging on to his boring “feud” with Shatner and his urge to speak out as soon as someone says the word “gay”.n

  5. Then reporters should stop asking him about the feud, because if Takei (or Shatner) answers “No comment”, people will read into that answer anyway.

  6. Walter Koenig is very nice and a gentleman. I meet him at Comic Con in PA in April 3-5 2015. I was so nervous to meet him but once I said hello and asked him a few questions, I saw that he was a very nice man. As I started talking with him I think I might have even made him laugh at one point. He asked what my name was, which made me feel good, like he was interested in wanted to get to know me as a friend. I was so happy I went and meet Walter Koenig (Mr. Chekov). May he Live Long and Prosper! : )

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