Walter Koenig, best known for his roles as Lt. Pavel Chekov from the original Star Trek television series, and Mr. Bester from Babylon 5, is 81 years old today. Today we celebrate both the man, the memorable character he created, and his remarkable career that continues to this day.

The actor/writer was born in Chicago to Isadore and Sarah Koenig on September 14, 1936. In addition to Chekov and Bester, his acting credits include The Untouchables, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Lieutenant and Columbo, and in the traditional theater in The Boys of Autumn. He’s also written for comic books and television, including Raver, episodes of Star Trek: The Animated Series, Land of the Lost, Family and The Powers of Matthew Star. He got his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 10, 2012 during a ceremony in which he was surrounded by family, friends and such Trek co-stars as Leonard Nimoy, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei.

His character, Pavel Chekov, is surprisingly durable, and that’s a testament to his creative power and immeasurable talent. He just completed work on Renegades in his role as that character almost exactly a year ago today.

Mr. Keonig has also recently received the Time Machine Award, at the Sitges Film Festival, in Spain. The festival features the most innovative Sci-Fi and Fantasy films in the world and the award has been previously received by: Anthony Hopkins, Guillermo del Toro, Oliver Stone, Ralph Fiennes, David Lynch, and Clive Barker.

It’s hard to know when to stop writing about Mr. Koenig. It would be easier if he’d just stop doing stuff, so we could catch up. But then he wouldn’t be who he is.

Happy Birthday, Walter Koenig. You’ve changed our lives forever. Keep going.

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