He was born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, USSR, to a Jewish family. His parents, Irina Korina and Viktor Yelchin, were a successful pair of professional figure skaters in Leningrad, and his grandfather was also a professional sportsman, a soccer player. Anton was a six-month-old baby when he emigrated to the United States, where his parents eventually developed coaching careers. He demonstrated his strong personality from the early age of four, and declined his parent’s tutelage in figure skating, because he was fond of acting, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do in his life.
Yelchin attended acting classes in Los Angeles, and eventually was noticed by casting agents. In 2000, at the age of 10, he made his debut on television, appearing as Robbie Edelstein in the medical drama ER (1994). At the age of 11, he shot to fame as Bobby Garfield, co-starring opposite Anthony Hopkins in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), and earning himself the 2002 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film as Leading Young Actor. Over the course of his acting career, Yelchin has already played roles in more than twenty feature films and television productions, including Pavel Chekov in the hugely successful franchise reboot Star Trek (2009), and its sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness (2013).
Outside of his acting profession, Anton loved reading, and was also fond of playing chess. He wrote music and performed with a band, where he also played piano and guitar. He lived in Los Angeles, California, until his death on the evening of June 19, 2016.