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The Only 3 Actors Still Alive From The Cast Of Star Trek: The Original Series

We're coming up at warp speed to the 60th anniversary of the "Star Trek" premiere, which aired on NBC on September 8, 1966. Though the original series only ran for three years, it spawned a media franchise that's still one of the biggest in the world today and which changed the face of science fiction forever. We might not have fandom in the way we do today if not for "Star Trek," as it's largely responsible for the modern style of fan fiction, shipping, and contemporary fanzines, among other things.

Sadly, since it's been so long since the series premiered, most of the actors who made it so special have passed away in the years since. Leonard Nimoy, the man behind the inimitable Spock, passed away in 2015. DeForest Kelley, who played Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, died in 1999, Scotty actor James Doohan passed away in 2005, and Nichelle Nichols, who played Nyota Uhura, died in 2022 at the age of 89. Many of the other supporting players from the show's three seasons have sadly also passed, but together, they leave a legacy that will continue to stand the test of time.

Not every original "Star Trek" actor has passed away, though. A few are still making their mark on the world and even acting in their old age. These are the only three actors still alive from the main cast of "Star Trek: The Original Series."

William Shatner: Captain James T. Kirk

Any level of "Star Trek" fan will know that William Shatner — Captain James Tiberius Kirk himself — is still thriving at the age of 92 at the time of writing. Not only that, but he's far from what anyone would call a retirement. His long and illustrious career includes "Star Trek: The Original Series," the later films in which he reprised his role as Kirk, other hit movies like "Miss Congeniality," a substantial stretch as a recording artist, and a number of science-fiction novels he either wrote or co-wrote, including the "TekWar" series.

One would think that after accomplishing so much, Shatner would be happy to live in peace and quiet in his 90s, but that's far from the case. He's continued to take on voice acting work, playing the role of Keldor on Netflix's "Masters of the Universe: Revolution," and his recent work out of character includes a 2022 turn on "The Masked Singer" and a role as host for the 2023 reality TV series "Stars on Mars." The latter was an appropriate job not only because of Shatner's "Star Trek" history but also his own highly publicized journey to space in 2021, which made him the oldest human to enter the cosmos.

Though Shatner is still incredibly active, he's also been pretty candid about his age in recent years. "The sad thing is that the older a person gets the wiser they become and then they die with all that knowledge," Shatner said in a 2023 interview with Variety. "But what does live on are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time."

George Takei: Hikaru Sulu

Like his former co-star William Shatner, George Takei hasn't skipped a beat in his old age. After getting his start doing English-language voiceovers for some Toho kaiju movies in the late 1950s, along with a handful of other smaller roles, Takei climbed to fame playing Hikaru Sulu on "Star Trek: The Original Series." In the decades since the show ended, he's remained quite active as an actor and political activist.

Like Shatner and the other main actors of the original "Star Trek," Takei returned for the theatrical follow-up films that began in 1979. Most of his acting work in recent times has been in the realm of animation, however, making Takei's deep voice as iconic as his physical presence. He's played characters in everything from "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and "Star Wars: Visions" to "The Simpsons" and "BoJack Horseman." He even reprises his role as Sulu on the adult animated comedy "Star Trek: Lower Decks." In between these performances, Takei has made time for extensive political activism, frequently speaking out publicly on social issues like racial equality and LGBTQ+ rights.

At the age of 86, Takei is still balancing a lot of acting work and political spokesmanship. In 2022, he was given an honorary doctorate from the University of South Australia, and in 2023, he voiced major roles on both "Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai" and the critically acclaimed "Blue Eye Samurai."

Walter Koenig: Pavel Chekov

The final actor still alive from the main cast of "Star Trek: The Original Series" is Walter Koenig, now 87 years old, who played Ensign Pavel Chekov on the show and in the ensuing theatrical films. His work prior to being cast on the show mainly consisted of various small parts on other TV series, including "General Hospital," "Mr. Novak," and "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour." But after debuting as Chekov, Koenig's most notable work for the rest of his career has generally been in the realm of science fiction.

In addition to his many Trek appearances, Koenig played Alfred Bester on "Babylon 5." he hasn't been as active over the last decade, but he still works from time to time, like in the 2018 sci-fi movie "Diminuendo" or the 2017 animated series "Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters." In 2023, he briefly reprised his role as Chekov for "Star Trek: Picard" Season 3.

It was also announced in 2023 that Koenig was joining the "7th Rule" podcast to review episodes of "Star Trek: The Original Series." In an interview with Screen Rant promoting the show, Koenig spoke highly of his time on the series and mourned the death of Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the J. J. Abrams "Star Trek" films. "I met him," Koenig said. "Very bright, delightful young man. Very talented. My God, in the short time he had, he did several folds as many jobs as I ever had. So you've got to applaud his talent. Very, very sad."