AP NEWS

Anton Yelchin honoured with statue

October 9, 2017

Stars including Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Lawrence and Simon Pegg gathered to remember Anton Yelchin at a celebration of his life on Sunday (10.08.17).

The ‘Star Trek’ actor died in a freak accident at his Los Angeles home in June 2016 aged just 27 when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled backwards, crushing him against a security gate, and his loved ones gathered for a special ceremony to unveil a statue in his honor in the Legends Garden at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Zoe - who was accompanied to the memorial by her husband Marco Perego - gave a heartfelt speech in honour of her late friend and ‘Star Trek’ co-star

She said: “It is a bitter sweet moment, because we’re here for Anton, and he’s not here with us.

“But, it alleviates my heart knowing that we’ll keep him alive. We’re going to keep remembering him in the hopes that by practicing all the things he believed in and remembering all the love that he gave us, and all the joy he gave us, we’re able to just keep him here with us.”

She then read a chapter about friendship from Kahlil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’ and added: “Ever since I read that chapter about friendship, that is the one thing I always try to seek in people, and when I find human beings who truly understand the meaning of friendship, I’m moved and inspired.

“Anton was one of those people. He was an exceptional friend, whether he knew you for five minutes or knew you his whole life. He was just exceptional.”

Director Fred Parnes, who worked with Anton on 2000 movie ‘A Man is Mostly Water’, vowed to live his life in celebration of his friend.

He said: “I’m here to say that we owe it to Anton to lift our souls evermore, to choose celebration, to choose exaltation and jubilation.

“The longer I live, the more I’m aware of how little I actually know. But I’m absolutely certain that that is what Anton would want. I can hear him say, ‘Yes, dude! Celebrate my life. Do something unexpected in my name, travel the road less taken and then tell me what you found.’

“That’s what he would want and I refuse to let him down.

“So, I vow to celebrate his memory and keep his lamp trimmed and burning. To leave a little bit of food on my plate, and a sip of wine in my glass and enjoy the hell out of something every day for him and with him. With our love, he lives on and that is a reason to celebrate.”

The ‘Court of Conscience’ actor’s mother Irina hailed her son as a “beautiful human being” and spoke about the work of the Anton Yelchin Foundation, which was created in his memory to help young artists who “face career challenges due to debilitating disease or disability”.

She said: “We want to keep Anton’s spirit, his legacy, alive for many, many years to come.

“After Anton left, there are only a couple of things left to do. A foundation, photography book and sculpture. We accomplish two by today. The Anton Yelchin Foundation and the statue at Hollywood Forever, so he would be surrounded by the people he admired and to be in the middle of the city that he loved so much.

“For next generation visiting Hollywood Forever, they will stop by his statue and wonder, ‘Who is this handsome young man, Anton Yelchin?’ They’ll read about him.”

And Irina joked about Anton’s response to the statue, which was created by sculptor Nick Marra and FX artist Greg Nicotero.

She said: “Were my son to know we were making him a sculpture, he would said, ‘Mama, you’re laughing at me, right?’ and then he’ll say, ‘Oh, only if it makes you feel better.’ ”

Before the statue was unveiled to the guests, who also included J.J. Abrams, Jon Voight, Demi Moore, and her daughter Rumer Willis, listened to a performance of ‘Lay Down’ by Jerry Lawson.