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Urban in 2017
7 June 1972
|Education||St Mark's Church School|
|Alma mater||Wellington College|
(m. 2004; sep. 2014)
Karl-Heinz Urban (born 7 June 1972) is a New Zealand actor. His career began with appearances in New Zealand films and TV series such as Xena: Warrior Princess. His first Hollywood role was in the 2002 horror film Ghost Ship. Since then, he has appeared in many high-profile movies, including the second and third instalments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in the role of Éomer. He has also portrayed Leonard McCoy in the Star Trek reboot film series, Vaako in the Riddick film series, and Judge Dredd in Dredd. Since 2019, he has starred as Billy Butcher in Amazon's web television series The Boys.
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 in 1986–1990. He then enrolled at Victoria University of Wellington in the Bachelor of Arts program but left after one year to pursue a career in acting. 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.
New Zealand roles
Urban was seen on the internationally syndicated American/New Zealand TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and on its spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess, in which he played the recurring roles of both Cupid and Julius Caesar from 1997 to 2001. He also made appearances as Mael in the episode "Altared States" from the first season of Xena, then as Kor in the episode "Lifeblood" from the fifth season. Both programs were filmed in New Zealand. In 2001, he appeared in the offbeat rural romance The Price of Milk, for which he received his first nomination at the New Zealand Qantas Film and Television Awards. Urban later won acclaim for his portrayal of policeman Nick Harvey in Out of the Blue, a dramatisation of New Zealand's Aramoana massacre, for which he won the Qantas Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2008.
Urban's first Hollywood role was in the 2002 horror film Ghost Ship. Since then, he has worked on many high-profile movies, including the second and third installments of The Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Two Towers and The Return of the King) as Eómer, The Bourne Supremacy (as Russian Federal Security Service agent Kirill), The Chronicles of Riddick, Star Trek and Doom. The Hollywood Reporter speculated that Urban was one of several actors being considered for the part of British secret service agent 007 in Casino Royale, directed by fellow New Zealander Martin Campbell. However, he was unable to make the audition because of filming commitments. The role eventually went to Daniel Craig.
Urban played John "Reaper" Grimm in Universal Pictures' Doom (based on the first-person shooter video game Doom), which was released on 21 October 2005. In 2007, he starred in the Viking adventure Pathfinder. A longtime fan of Westerns, Urban appeared as Woodrow Call in Comanche Moon, the CBS miniseries prequel to Lonesome Dove, in January 2008.
In 2009, he played Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, a role originated by DeForest Kelley in the original Star Trek TV series. A fan of the Star Trek franchise since childhood, Urban actively pursued a role in the film. His performance was widely embraced by the Star Trek fan community for its faithfulness to the spirit of Kelley's McCoy. In 2009, he appeared as himself in the documentary film Reclaiming the Blade, discussing his sword-wielding experience in films such as The Lord of the Rings.
Urban next appeared as CIA agent William Cooper in Red, adapted from the graphic novel of the same name and co-starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren. He portrayed Black Hat, a villainous priest-turned-vampire, in the film adaption of the Korean manhwa Priest, released in 3-D in 2011.
In 2012, Urban starred as law-enforcing comic book hero Judge Dredd in the film Dredd. In an interview with Shave magazine, Urban described it as a "high-octane, action-fueled film... about the day in the life of Dredd". The film was directed by Pete Travis, with a script by Alex Garland. Though it underperformed at the box office, Dredd was well received by critics. He then reprised his role of "Bones" McCoy in the sequel to Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, which was released on 15 May 2013.
In 2013, Urban starred as Detective John Kennex in Almost Human, a TV series created by J. H. Wyman. The series was set 35 years into the future when cops in the L.A.P.D. are paired up with lifelike androids. Urban played a detective who has a dislike for robots but ends up being teamed up with one with emotional feelings. Urban next appeared in the ensemble thriller The Loft, a remake of the Belgian film of the same name. It was filmed in New Orleans and Belgium by the director of the 2008 original, Erik Van Looy. In January 2015, Urban replaced Michael C. Hall as the main antagonist in the 2016 remake of Pete's Dragon. In 2017, he played Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok. Since 2019, Urban has starred as William "Billy" Butcher in the Amazon Prime series The Boys.
Urban together with Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Orlando Bloom, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, Miranda Otto, John Rhys-Davies, Andy Serkis, Liv Tyler, and Elijah Wood, plus writer Philippa Boyens and director Peter Jackson on June 1, 2020 joined Josh Gad's YouTube series Reunited Apart which reunites the cast of popular movies through video-conferencing, and promotes donations to non-profit charities.
Urban married his long time partner, Natalie Wihongi (who was his makeup artist for the 2000 television film The Privateers), in September 2004. Together they have two sons: Hunter, born 16 December 2000, and Indiana ("Indy"), born 28 June 2005 and named for the eponymous hero of the Indiana Jones franchise, the first movie of which he has cited as one of his favourites. They lived in their NZ$5.25 million mansion in the affluent Herne Bay section of Auckland, New Zealand. The couple announced their separation in June 2014, selling their home for NZ$6.65 million in December 2014. From 2014 to 2018, he was in a relationship with actress Katee Sackhoff.
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.
|1990||Shark in the Park||Rohann Murdoch||6 episodes|
|1992||Homeward Bound||Tim Johnstone||Unknown episodes|
|1993||White Fang||David||Episode: "Tough Kid"|
|1993–1994||Shortland Street||Paramedic Jamie Forrest||Recurring|
|1995||Riding High||James Westwood||Unknown episodes|
|1996||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys||Cupid||Episode: "The Green-Eyed Monster"|
|Xena: Warrior Princess||Mael||Episode: "Altared States"|
|1997||Amazon High||Kor||Television film|
|Xena: Warrior Princess||Julius Caesar||8 episodes|
|Xena: Warrior Princess||Cupid||2 episodes|
|1998||Hercules: The Legendary Journeys||Julius Caesar||Episode: "Render Unto Caesar"|
|2000||Xena: Warrior Princess||Kor||Episode: "Lifeblood"|
|The Privateers||Capt. Aran Dravyk||Television film|
|2008||Comanche Moon||Woodrow F. Call||Miniseries|
|2013||Almost Human||John Kennex||13 episodes|
|2014||Short Poppies||Alex Turnbull||Episode: "Mary Ledbetter"|
|2019–present||The Boys||Billy Butcher||Lead role|
|2013||Star Trek||Leonard McCoy||Also likeness|
- "Miami Herald: Search Results". 7 June 2009.
- "Karl Urban to Star in Amazon Superhero Drama Series 'The Boys'". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Biography". Karlurbanonline.com. Archived from the original on 13 July 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Dixon, Greg (15 July 2000). "Karl Urban – The price of fame". The New Zealand Herald.
-  Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Karl Urban rewinds TV favorites, 10 January 2008
- And Karl Urban as McCoy!, 17 October 2007
- Urban, Pine join Abrams' 'Star Trek', 18 October 2007
- Karl Urban: From Comanche Moon's Old West to Star Trek's Exciting Future, 11 January 2008
- Urban Talks Trek Characters and Production Design, 11 January 2008
- "Karl Urban Was Ready For Star Trek". TrekMovie.com. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Happy Birthday, Karl Urban". TrekMovie.com. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Interview: Karl Urban on the set of RED, 15 July 2010
- "SD Comic-Con '10: Karl Urban Goes Vampirific in 'Priest'". Bloody Disgusting!.
- "Interview: Karl Urban". Shave. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
- "Dredd Wraps Its Theatrical Run". comicbook.com. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
- Extraterrestre (8 June 2011). "Erik Van Looy's Loft Receives Second Remake in Three Years". Twitchfilm.com. Archived from the original on 13 July 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Sneider, Jeff (29 January 2015). "Karl Urban to Replace Michael C. Hall in Disney's 'Pete's Dragon' Remake". TheWrap. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
- "Marvel Studios Confirms Stellar New Cast Members of the Highly Anticipated 'Thor: Ragnarok' - News - Marvel.com".
- "Karl Urban Online". Karl Urban Online. Archived from the original on 13 July 2013. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Hunter's Instagram post". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
- "Natalie's Instagram post". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
- "Natalie's Instagram".
- "Empire Online". Empire Online. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- Atchity, Matt (23 July 2010). "Five Favorite Films with Karl Urban". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
- "Karl Urban and wife separate". The New Zealand Herald. 28 June 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
- Glucina, Rachel (9 January 2015). "The Diary: Karl Urban's new romance gets serious". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
- "Patrons and Ambassadors". KidsCan. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- Tony Kaye Says Unreleased 'Black Water Transit' Is "Not Finished Yet" Archived 30 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 28 April 2011
- "Urban Joins And Soon The Darkness". Empire. 17 March 2009. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Smith, Michael. "Filming 'Red' painful for Karl Urban". Tulsa World. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Weintraub, Steve 'Frosty' (19 April 2010). "Karl Urban Talks PRIEST and STAR TREK 2". Collider. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Trenholm, Richard. "What a 'Judge Dredd' show needs to learn from the Stallone film". CNET. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Karl Urban Nearly Didn't Return After Star Trek Into Darkness". Comicbook.com. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Goldberg, Matt (23 September 2011). "Karl Urban to Reprise His Role as "Vakko" for RIDDICK". Collider. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Debruge, Peter (20 December 2013). "Film Review: 'Walking With Dinosaurs'". Variety. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Foutch, Haleigh (12 December 2014). "New THE LOFT Trailer Takes Karl Urban and Wentworth Miller to the Height of Paranoia". Collider. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Why Karl Urban Almost Didn't Return For Star Trek Beyond". CINEMABLEND. 8 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Why Karl Urban almost wasn't in Pete's Dragon, one of his best roles yet". New Zealand Herald. 16 August 2016. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "'Thor: Ragnarok': Karl Urban on How He Was Convinced to Play Skurge". Comicbook.com. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Harvey, Dennis (26 October 2017). "Film Review: 'Acts of Vengeance'". Variety. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "'Hangman': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Knight, Jacob (16 May 2018). "BENT Review: Karl Urban Wants To Know Who Set Him Up". Birth.Movies.Death. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- "Karl Urban: From Comanche Moon to Star Trek". IGN. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Andreeva, Nellie (5 April 2018). "'The Boys': Karl Urban To Play Lead Billy Butcher In Amazon's Superhero Series". Deadline.
- "Karl Urban's Star Trek Performance Moved Leonard Nimoy To Tears". Comicbook.com. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
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