WALTER KOENIG Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Walter Marvin Koenig                                                                       
Born: 14 September 1936 Chicago, Illinois, U.S.                                                 
Walter Marvin Koenig (born September 14, 1936) is an American                                   
actor, writer, teacher and director, known for his roles as Pavel Chekov in Star                 
Trek, and as Alfred Bester on the series Babylon 5.                                             
Koenig was born in Chicago, Illinois to Sarah Strauss and Isadore Koenig, a                     
businessman. Koenig's parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia; his                           
family lived in Lithuania when they emigrated and changed their surname from "Koenigsberg"       
to "Koenig". He attended Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa with a pre-med                       
major. He transferred to UCLA and received a BA in psychology.                                   
Koenig played the navigator Pavel Chekov on the USS Enterprise in the original                   
Star Trek (TOS) television series and in the several movies that featured the                   
original cast. He was cast as Chekov because of his resemblance to British actor/musician       
David Thomas "Davy" Jones of the Monkees to attract a younger audience,                         
especially girls. (The studio's publicity department, however, ascribed the                     
inclusion of Chekov to an article in Pravda complaining about the lack of                       
Russians in Star Trek.) Koenig wore a hair piece while playing the character of                 
Chekov on the original Star Trek series. Gene Roddenberry asked him to "ham up"                 
his Russian accent to add a note of comedy relief to the series. He is also                     
credited for writing the Star Trek: The Animated Series installment "The                         
Infinite Vulcan," making him the first "original cast" member to write a Star                   
Trek story for television. Interestingly, the character of Pavel Andreievich                     
Chekov never appeared in the animated version of Star Trek.                                     
He received Saturn Award Nominations for Best Supporting Actor in a Film for                     
both Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Walter                   
reprised his role of Pavel Chekov for the fan webseries Star Trek: New Voyages,                 
To Serve All My Days and the independent Sky Conway/Tim Russ film Star Trek: Of                 
Gods and Men, both in 2006.                                                                     
After Chekov, his best-known role is the Psi Cop Alfred Bester on the television                 
series Babylon 5. Koenig was the "Special Guest Star" in twelve episodes and, at                 
the end of the third season, the production company applied for an Emmy                         
nomination on his behalf. He was slated to play Bester on the spin-off series                   
Crusade, but the series was cancelled before his episode was filmed. He also                     
played "Oro" in two episodes of the Canadian science fiction television series                   
The Starlost, which aired in 1973 on Canada's CTV television network.                           
Walter's film, stage and TV roles span a fifty year time span. He has played                     
everything from a teenage gang leader (Alfred Hitchcock Presents) to a middle-aged               
Tom Sawyer (The Boys In Autumn). He returned to space with a starring role in                   
Moontrap and played a computer hard drive in Maximum Surge. In addition to                       
acting, he has written several films (Actor, I Wish I May, You're Never Alone                   
When You're a Schizophrenic), one-act plays, and a handful of episodes for TV                   
shows: Star Trek: The Animated Series, Land of the Lost, Family and The Powers                   
of Matthew Star. Walter has also written several books, including Warped Factors:               
A Neurotic's Guide to the Universe (autobiography), Chekov's Enterprise (a                       
journal kept during the filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture) and Buck Alice                 
and the Actor-Robot (a science fiction novel), which was rereleased in 2006. He                 
also created his own comic book series called Raver, which was published by                     
Malibu Comics in the early 1990s.                                                               
Walter Koenig has taught classes in acting and directing at UCLA, the Sherwood                   
Oaks Experiment Film College, the Actor's Alley Repertory Company in Los Angeles,               
and the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International                   
University. In 2002, Koenig directed stage versions of two of the original                       
Twilight Zone episodes for Letter Entertainment.                                                 
In 2004, Koenig co-starred in Mad Cowgirl, an independent movie about a meat-packing             
health inspector dying from a brain disorder, Walter plays televangelist 'Pastor                 
Dylan': a character described as "a sleezy, slimy, sex-addict." The movie played                 
the SF Indiefest and the Silverlake Film Festival, followed by a limited release                 
in major cities such as New York and Seattle. Mad Cowgirl" was released on DVD                   
on December 5, 2006.