Koenig Unsure of Heartthrob StatusBy Michelle
May 11, 2005 - 10:12 PM
Walter Koenig (Chekov) was the latest guest to sit down with CNN's Showbiz Tonight and discuss the legacy of Star Trek, as the show has been doing all week with stars of the various series. Koenig had just had dinner a few days earlier with fellow original series actors Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) and George Takei (Sulu) but said he wasn't sure he was the heartthrob his character was meant to be on Star Trek.
What the writers originally had in mind in the role that became Chekov was "I guess a kind of -- a Monkee, an English Monkee character...somebody who would have the same appeal as Davey Jones, looking to capture the 8 to 14-year-olds. And that's what most of my mail was, from 8 to 14-year-olds," admitted Koenig to CNN. But as for whether he was as attractive as the producers hoped, "Well, it is not for me to say."
Koenig was pleased when the character was rewritten to be Russian - a Soviet descendant in the middle of the Cold War. "My folks were Russian. And I thought it was a nice opportunity to pay some tribute to my family heritage." Nor did Koenig have any inkling of the extraordinary success that the original series would enjoy. "It's one of those phenomena that really stand alone," he said. "All the hyperbole you can muster would not really describe what it has been like to live with a particular show and a particular character for this -- these many years."
Asked his favourite character besides Chekov, Koenig said Spock. "Leonard Nimoy`s interpretation of Spock was really quite brilliant...I think all of our characters could have been played by other actors with the exception of Leonard. Nobody could have done Mr. Spock quite as well as Leonard did."
Tonight, Showbiz Tonight interviews Takei as well as Anthony Montgomery (Mayweather) from Enterprise. The Koenig transcript is at CNN.