Walter Koenig

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Name: Walter Koenig
Also Known As: Pavel Chekov
Occupation: actor, writer
Medium:
Works:
Official Website(s):
Fan Website(s):
On Fanlore: Related pages

Walter Koenig is the actor who famously portrayed Pavel Chekov on Star Trek: TOS and less famously Alfred Bester on Babylon 5, a character who was a senior Psi Cop and a recurring antagonist in the series.

Koenig was a frequent guest of honor at many conventions.

Fanworks by Koenig

Fans were very interested in Star Trek's stars, and this interest generated a lot of "side projects."

Shatner and Nimoy, of course, had the for-profit option of big-name publishers, hence the large selection of offerings such as I Am Not Spock, Nimoy's poetry paperbooks, Shatner and Nimoy's spoken and singing LP albums and much more.

The actors with less attention, such as Koenig (and therefore less money-making ability), were more available to fans and their fanworks. Nichelle Nichols, Koenig, and DeForest Kelley were much more willing to write poetry and introductions to zines, as well as creating small zines of their own.

Some examples:

Interactions With Fans

Walter Koenig did a impromptu dramatic reading of a threesome story starring his character, Sulu and a OMC from a 1981 zine after complaining that there was too much Kirk/Spock: Kandy Fong remembers Walter Koenig running across this zine for sale at a convention:

Kandy Fong:—Walter's coming around through, and he goes, "Oh, you've got slash. You got any, listen—Kandy, why is it can I never find any slash that has Koenig it in?" I mean, Walter in it. I mean—(laughter)... He wanted to know why his character wasn't being slashed. I'm kinda going

Marnie S: He was not... deterred by it. In fact, he used to tease George about it.

KF: Yes. (laughter) So, anyhow, he goes up and he sees this story, and I said, "And these stories are terrible." And he rolls it up and he decides to give a dramatic reading... About how the two guys had to go down to a planet and seduce the court of the queen, so they'd give them dilithium crystals, for the ship is trapped in orbit and can't get out. And so these two young men had to go down there and please the ladies of the—So, he's reading this thing out loud, very dramatically, and just enjoying the heck out of it. So --

MS: He got a huge kick out of things like that. [1]

Another fan, Teegar, recounts Koenig's interactions with fans regarding changing allegiances and fandoms:

... we put out “Swap” and Chekov: In Love and In Trouble at the very lowest point of popularity for that character in Trek history.

This was the mid 1990’s. The last of the movies with the original cast members had been made and everyone had started to view the original series in the rear view mirror of history. Fans were much more excited about TNG, DS9, and the brand-new Star Trek: Voyager series that was just coming out.

Walter Koenig had moved on to greener pastures with Babylon 5 and actively encouraged his fanbase to do the same. He was a fixture on the convention circuit and was always making sarcastic comments that got that point across pretty clearly. I hate to place too much blame on him, but it does make it hard to fan the flames of enthusiasm for a character when the actor is going around essentially saying, “You don’t still like that old thing, do you?” [2]

Fan Clubs

References

  1. from Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with Kandy Fong and Marnie S
  2. comments by Teegar in a February 2019 email to MPH, quoted with permission