Yelchin joins tragic legacy of leading men killed behind the wheel

KTRK logo
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Car wreck celebrities
Paul Walker (from left), Anton Yelchin, and James Dean all died in automobile tragedies.
AP Photos

Anton Yelchin was only just beginning to surge on the Hollywood scene when his life was tragically cut short early Sunday morning in an accident involving an automobile.

Yelchin, who most recently wrapped production on 'Star Trek Beyond,' was a beloved actor who also appeared in 'Alpha Dogs' and 'Charlie Bartlett.'

Related: Anton Yelchin, 'Star Trek' star, dead in car wreck at age 27

Anton Yelchin arrives at a special screening of "Burying the Ex" held at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre on Thursday, June 11, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/

He also was a very gifted voice actor, lending his pipes to a multitude of animated features, including several films and TV projects surrounding 'The Smurfs' and an upcoming television series, 'Trollhunters.'

At just 27 years old, Yelchin joins a tragic club of leading Hollywood actors who were also taken from their fans at a very young age.

PHOTOS: 'Fast and the Furious' stars Paul Walker and Vin Diesel

Most recently, actor Paul Walker was killed in a chilling November 2013 crash in Valencia, Calif., alongside friend Roger Rodas.

Walker, who starred in 'The Fast and the Furious' franchise and 'Varsity Blues,' left an event for his charity, Reach Out Worldwide, in Rodas's red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT.

An investigation revealed the Porsche lost control traveling approximately 90 mph when it smashed into a concrete lamppost and two trees on Hercules Street, near Kelly Johnson Parkway, according to the Associated Press.

See also: Vin Diesel names baby after 'Fast and Furious' co-star Paul Walker

Vin Diesel, left, and Paul Walker are shown in a scene from "Fast Five."

The car burst into flames, and the whole thing played out on the evening news after a security camera captured dramatic footage of the accident.

While mechanical problems were probed in the crash, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and California Highway Patrol determined Rodas was responsible for the unsafe driving that caused the crash.

Various tributes were given for Walker, including a tear-jerking ending set to Wiz Khalifa's song "See You Again" at the end of 'Furious 7.' Walker starred posthumously in three films, including 'Furious 7,' 'Hours,' and 'Brick Mansions.'

Yet younger then both Yelchin and Walker at the time of his death, James Dean is perhaps best remembered for his role as troubled teen Jim Stark in 'Rebel Without a Cause.'

The 24-year-old star was killed in Cholame, Calif., on September 30, 1955, while preparing for a weekend car race in Salinas.

During a drive through Blackwells Corner, Dean was traveling west on what is now State Route 46 when his vehicle collided nearly head on with another vehicle, according to the Los Angeles Times.

IN MEMORIAM: Celebrities and notable figures who have recently passed away

1 of 125
In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, actor Max von Sydow poses at the International Film Festival Berlinale, in Berlin.
AP Photo/Gero Breloer, File

A witness, John Robert White, told police he saw Dean's 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder smash into the ground two or three times before landing in a ditch beside the shoulder of the road.

A nurse who saw the crash stopped and attempted to help the actor, but said she detected a weak pulse.

James Dean suffered a broken neck and severe internal and external injuries, including a mangled left foot which was found by emergency workers to be crushed between the clutch and brake pedal. Dean was pronounced dead on arrival to the hospital.