I remember the first time I saw Walter Koenig on Star Trek. The year was 1969, and the episode was “Turnabout Intruder”. He was young, had a “Beatles” haircut and just the best accent. I was already hooked on the show, and now they were adding another diverse character for the fans to enjoy and write fanzines (fanfic) about. Chekov just made the show even better. Sadly, Star Trek was cancelled shortly after that, but I knew we hadn’t seen the last of Chekov or of the actor who had created the character. In fact he recreated the role of Chekov in seven Star Trek films.
Walter created another wonderful character several years later on the television series Babylon 5 (1994): the quintessential scoundrel, Bester. He had been the “Special Guest Star” in twelve episodes, and, at the end of the third season, became one of the series’ most popular characters. He once again played Bester in the spin-off series Crusade (1999).
His other acting credits include the leading role in the feature Moontrap (1989). In an interactive state-of-the-art video game from Digital Pictures called Maximum Surge (1996), Koenig starred as Drexel, another scoundrel.
Walter completed worked in the feature film Drawing Down the Moon (1997) from Chaos Productions. He also received star billing as a German psychologist in the martial arts picture Sworn to Justice (1996). A one-character piece that Koenig wrote and performed entitled “You’re Never Alone when You’re a Schizophrenic” was a finalist in the 1996 New York Film Festival awards. Koenig filmed a guest appearance as himself on the CBS situation comedy Almost Perfect (1995), did sketch comedy on the Comedy Central series “Viva Variety” (1996) and performed on an ESPN sports commercial that aired in the spring of 1998. The Viacom CD-Rom, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (1997) in which he reprises the character of Chekov, continues to be popular. Walter also hosted a cult movie marathon for Comedy Central. It played once a week for the course of a month. Walter also performed as the “Shadow Guy” in an episode of Diagnosis Murder (1993) and went to New York to perform in a new radio broadcast version of War of the Worlds in tribute to both H.G. Wells and Orson Welles.
Walter Koenig’s autobiography, “Warped Factors – A Neurotic’s Guide to the Universe” was released through Taylor Publishing on April 1, 1998. The audio tape reading of the book by the author was released through Dove Video in January 1999.
This actor-writer has seen publication with the non-fiction “Chekov’s Enterprise” and the satiric fantasy novel “Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot”. He also created three issues of the comic book story “Raver” published by Malibu Comics. Koenig has taught classes in acting and directing privately at UCLA, The Sherwood Oaks Experimental Film College and at the California School of Professional Psychology. Most recently, he has been an instructor at the Actor’s Alley Repertory Company in Los Angeles, California.
From “The Girls of Summer” to “The Boys in Autumn”, Walter’s stage career spans thirty years and includes stops in New York with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Quince) and “Six Characters in Search of an Author” (Oldest Son). In Chicago, he guested in “Make a Million” (Johnny) opposite Jackie Coogan and on the road — from Arizon to Philadelphia — Mark Lenard (Sarek: Spock’s father) and he performed in the short plays “Box and Cox” (Box) and “Actors” (Dave). They also toured in a two character play, “The Boys in Autumn”, the comedy-drama about the reunion of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn forty years later. (We had the privilege of hosting a presentation of “The Boys of Autumn” several years ago at StarCon . It was such a wonderful performance and one of the fondest memories from the past 40 years. Thank you Walter)
Most recently Walter donned his Chekov persona in Star Trek Renegades, a crowdfunded internet series that takes place 10 years after Voyager’s return from the Delta Quadrant. The series starred a host of Trek notables including Tim Russ, Gary Graham and Manu Intiraymi, to name a few.
We are so happy that Walter was able to take time out of his busy schedule and join us in Denver to help celebrate StarFest Denver’s 40th Anniversary.