It's official. Walter Koenig is the proud recipient of the 2,479th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The sun was shining on Monday morning, and it was hot as Hades, but everyone was excited as Hollywood Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Leron Gubler introduced Koenig, lauding his 50 years of TV, film and stage work, pointing out that he was so good as Chekov on Star Trek that people forgot he was playing a feared foe of the era, a Russian, and that he was the man we loved to hate as Bester on Babylon 5.
Guests on hand included Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, Garrett Wang, Arne Starr, Sky Conway, Jamie Farr, Herb Jefferson, Chase Masterson, Richard Hatch, Rod Roddenberry and more. Several speakers then took the stage. First up was Koenig's friend, TV executive and producer Esther Shapiro. Next, Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski came on. "About God-damn time!" he shouted, declaring that fans won the war to secure a Star for Koenig. Gubler then presented Koenig with a proclamation honoring him, though the eagle-eyed Koenig noticed they'd spelled his name incorrectly. Gubler then, to cheers, announced "I hereby declare this Walter Koenig Day in Hollywood!"
Koenig then grabbed the microphone. "Thank you, thank you all," he started. "That this happened, regardless of circumstances... I'm just really tickled." He thanked family and friends and supporters, waved to the fans and said, "Again, thank you very much!"
Gubler then returned and invited Leonard Nimoy to speak. Koenig and Nimoy greeted each other warmly and Nimoy addressed the crowd. "Some things happen quickly," he said. "Some things take a long time. This took a looooong time. But we're happy to be here for Walter today... Walter took the slim dimensions of his character and created a 3D, flesh and blood character... To Walter and all yours, your family, live long and prosper."
Koenig then spent a half hour posing for photos for the press, with fans, family and friends by his Star before heading over to the famous, nearby Roosevelt Hotel for a private reception thrown by Koenig's wife, Judy. The room was beautiful, the food plentiful and the band talented. Koenig posed for photos, conversed with friends, and danced lovingly with his wife.
Finally, StarTrek.com grabbed a few moments with the man of the hour. Koenig smiled softly when asked how it felt to at long last receive his Star. "It was very nice," he said. "I'm a little tired, so I'm not firing on all pistons here. And I'm also still juggling it around in my mind what it means, so that I can come to some sort of determination as to what it signifies."
The best part of the experience, he explained, was having family and friends and fans from all over the world around him to celebrate over the course of the weekend and into Monday. "That part is neat, really neat," he said. "I was happy to see everyone. There were people I hadn't seen in 10 or 15 years. It was great to have Leonard, George and Nichelle there as well."
Koenig closed the conversation by thanking his fans.
"Well, I'm very grateful to all the folks who put their support behind this, and for their enthusiasm. Morale sometimes suffers when things don't seem to be moving along, but with all of the fans and their vociferous support, it certainly meant something. I really feel that I'm here not so much because of the Chamber of Commerce, but because of the fans out there who love Star Trek."
Photos By: Malik Emami
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