Several celebrities gathered in a Hollywood Cemetery Sunday to celebrate the life of Anton Yelchin, the 27-year-old actor of Star Trek fame whose life was cut short in a rollaway accident involving his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The “Life Celebration” service brought together a spectrum of Hollywood stars who knew the actor professionally and personally, including Jennifer Lawrence, J.J. Abrams, Emile Hirsch, Jon Voight, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, and many others who worked with Mr. Yelchin during his 15-year film and television career.
Mr. Yelchin’s parents, who immigrated to California from Russia when Anton was a child, were also in attendance at the event at Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Garden of Legends. A bronze statue of Mr. Yelchin was unveiled during the celebration and is now available for public viewing, along with a mural created by fans at a Star Trek convention.
Mr. Yelchin was crushed to death June 18, 2016, when his Grand Cherokee rolled backward and pinned him the security gate outside his home with enough force to dent the metal gate.
His death was the first linked to an unusually designed gear shifter in the Jeep Cherokee, which has since been linked to several other accidents and injuries. The “Monostable” shifter, designed by German supplier ZF and integrated into various Jeep, Dodge and Chrysler model vehicles, did not lock in place the way traditional automatic shifters do, but returned to center after the gear selection.
This design flaw misled many drivers to think their vehicles were parked when they were in neutral and became the source of several rollaway complaints.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, owner of the Jeep brand, faces a number of personal injury and class action lawsuits over the ZF shifters.
Mr. Yelchin’s parents, Victor and Irina Yelchin, filed a wrongful death and product liability lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court last year seeking unspecified damages over the death of their only child.
Mr. Yelchin started acting at an early age in various film and television roles, including small parts in ER, The Practice, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. His breakout big-screen role came when he was 12 years old and starred with Anthony Hopkins in Hearts in Atlantis.
Mr. Yelchin’s Russian heritage served him well for the role of Mr. Chekov in the Star Trek film franchise.