Jun. 7th, 1972
Wellington, New Zealand
Karl Urban's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
Karl-Heinz Urban (born June 7, 1972) is a New Zealand actor. He is best known for playing Éomer in the second and third installments of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, Caesar on Xena: Warrior Princess, Vaako in The Chronicles of Riddick and Riddick, and Judge Dredd in the 2012 film Dredd. He won acclaim for his performances in New Zealand films The Price of Milk and Out of the Blue.
Urban was born in Wellington, New Zealand. His father, a German immigrant, owned a leather goods store, and his mother once worked for Film Facilities in Wellington. Through his mother, the young Urban was exposed to classic New Zealand cinema, and developed an interest in the film industry. Urban attended St Mark's Church School, where he showed an early love for public performance. His first acting role came at age eight, when he had a single line in one episode of the New Zealand television series Pioneer Woman. Though continuing to take part in school stage productions, he did not act professionally again until after high school.
He attended Wellington College from 1986–1990, then Victoria University of Wellington in the Bachelor of Arts program for one year, then left to pursue his acting career. Over the next few years, he appeared in several local TV commercials in addition to theater roles in the Wellington area. Eventually he moved to Auckland, where he was offered many guest roles in TV shows (one of which was playing a heroin addict in the police drama Shark in the Park). Urban then moved briefly to Bondi Beach, Sydney, Australia in 1995, before returning to New Zealand the following year.
Urban first acting role was when he was 8 -- he had a line on a television show. However, he did not act again until after high school. He was offered a role in the NZ drama Shortland Street (1992), as he was preparing to attend Victoria University. After appearing on the show for the 1993-1994 season he attended the university for one year, then left to pursue his acting career. Over the next few years, he landed several theater roles in the Wellington area.
One of his first roles was that of a heroin addict in the drama Shark in the Park (1989). He was in a movie as well, entitled Once in Chunuck Bay (a.k.a. Chunuk Bair (1992). Other television roles followed, including a guest starring role in the series White Fang (1993).
Urban married Natalie Wihongi (who was his makeup artist on The Privateers) in September 2004. Together they have two sons; Hunter, born November 2000, and Indiana ('Indy'), born January 2005 and named for the eponymous hero of the Indiana Jones franchise, which Urban has cited as among his favorite films. They live in Auckland, New Zealand.
Urban serves as a celebrity ambassador for KidsCan, a charity which currently supports over 16,000 disadvantaged children in New Zealand by providing them with essentials such as food, clothing, and shoes.
He is a fan of rugby union; in particular, the New Zealand All Blacks national team.
- His character of Cupid was originally written into the _"Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995)_ (qv) Season 5 finale episode "Motherhood", but Urban was unavailable because he was filming "The Lord of the Rings" elsewhere in New Zealand. As compensation, 'Robert G. Tapert' (qv) wrote the Season 6 episode "When Fates Collide" specifically for him, this time for his more popular character of Julius Caesar. Tapert also used this episode as an opportunity to bid farewell to two other fan favorite recurring characters; Alti and Brutus, portrayed by 'Claire Stansfield' (qv) and 'David Franklin (I)' (qv). "When Fates Collide" became one of the most popular episodes of the entire series.
- Appears in _The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)_ (qv), which was previously made as an animated film with the voice of 'John Huston (I)' (qv). Urban later appeared in _"Comanche Moon" (2008)_ (qv), a prequel to _"Lonesome Dove" (1989)_ (qv), which featured 'Anjelica Huston' (qv).
- Hobbies include fishing, surfing, golf, and gardening.
- Has played the younger versions of iconic characters in two "prequels." He plays Woodrow Call in the _"Lonesome Dove" (1989)_ (qv) prequel _"Comanche Moon" (2008)_ (qv) and Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in _Star Trek (2009)_ (qv).
- Primary school classmate of Jack Yan.
- Was considered for the part of Kainan in _Outlander (2008)_ (qv).
- He is, and has almost always been, very active. He worked on his aunt and uncle's farm for many years doing odd jobs. For filming the "Lord of the Rings" movies, he realized that Eomer was a consummate horseman and he was nowhere near that level, so he invested a lot of time learning--six to eight weeks, five days a week, two hours a day. He wanted to learn to neck rein, a method of steering a horse using one hand while leaving the other hand free to wield a sword. He wanted to be so at one with the horse that he wasn't conscious or concerned about what the horse was doing. In addition, he also enjoys indoor rock climbing.
- Of German descent on his father's side.