Friday, February 26, 2010

Standing up for Andrew, and Walter, Koenig

For those that haven't heard, Andrew Koenig, the son of Star Trek's Walter Koenig, was found dead of an apparent suicide in Vancouver's Stanley Park yesterday. Andrew played Boner, the goofy best friend of Kirk Cameron's character, Mike Seaver, on the '80s sitcom Growing Pains. As such, there are a number of cheap jokes being floated around gossip-o-sphere about the apparent humor of guy named Boner whacking himself.

I can promise you there are at least two people who aren't laughing: Walter and Judy Koenig. A couple years back, I got to spend a weekend with Walter Koenig as his fan liaison at a local sci-fi con. It was a privilege, and I took a great deal away from our time together. I would not be so bold as to call Walter a friend, but I am absolutely certain he was a proud and invested father who loved his children with an obvious, almost illuminated intensity. I have no doubt that the loss of Andrew has wounded Walter in a fashion I can barely comprehend.

No father deserves that, especially not one so generous and devoted as Walter. And whatever you think of Walter or Andrew or fame in general, no family deserves to have such a profound and horrific loss rendered a public punchline. So before you go make Boner jokes around the water cooler, take a moment and think of Walter and his family. They need our sympathies and our support, not our sarcasm.