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Karl Urban

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Karl Urban
Karl Urban by Gage Skidmore 2.jpg
Urban in 2017
Born
Karl-Heinz Urban

(1972-06-07) 7 June 1972 (age 47)[1]
EducationSt Mark's Church School
Alma materWellington College
OccupationActor
Years active1990–present
Spouse(s)
Natalie Wihongi
(m. 2004; sep. 2014)
Partner(s)Katee Sackhoff
(2014–present)
Children2

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 installments 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.

Early life[edit]

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.[2] 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.[3]

Career[edit]

New Zealand roles[edit]

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, and 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.

International roles[edit]

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.[4] However, he was unable to make the audition because of filming commitments. The role eventually went to Daniel Craig.

Urban, Zachary Quinto, J. J. Abrams, and Chris Pine, at the Star Trek Into Darkness movie premiere in Sydney, Australia, April 2013

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,[5] 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 famously originated by DeForest Kelley, in the eleventh Star Trek film.[6][7][8][9] A fan of the Star Trek franchise since childhood, Urban actively pursued a role in the film.[10] His performance was widely embraced by the Star Trek fan community for its faithfulness to the spirit of Kelley's McCoy.[11] In 2009, he also 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.[12] He portrayed Black Hat, a villainous priest-turned-vampire, in the film adaption of the Korean manhwa Priest, released in 3-D in 2011.[13]

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.[14] Though it underperformed at the box office, Dredd was well received by critics.[15] 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.[16] In January 2015, Urban replaced Michael C. Hall as the main antagonist in the 2016 remake of Pete's Dragon.[17] In 2017, he played Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Urban married his long time partner, Natalie Wihongi (who was his makeup artist for the 2000 television movie The Privateers),[19] in September 2004. Together they have two sons: Hunter, born 16 December 2000,[20][21] and Indiana ("Indy"), born 28 June 2005[22] and named for the eponymous hero of the Indiana Jones franchise,[23] the first movie of which he has cited as one of his favourites.[24] They lived in their NZ$5.25 million mansion in the affluent Herne Bay section of Auckland, New Zealand.[25] The couple announced their separation in June 2014,[25] selling their home for NZ$6.65 million in December 2014. As of 2015 he was with Katee Sackhoff.[26]

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.[27]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1992 Chunuk Bair Wellington Soldier
1998 Heaven Sweeper
Via Satellite Paul
2000 The Irrefutable Truth about Demons Harry Ballard
The Price of Milk Rob
2002 Ghost Ship Munder
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Éomer
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
National Board of Review Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick Siberius Vaako
The Bourne Supremacy Kirill
2005 Doom John Grimm Nominated—Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Bloodiest Beatdown (with Dwayne Johnson)
2006 Out of the Blue Nick Harvey Won—Qantas Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor
2007 Pathfinder Ghost
2009 Star Trek Leonard McCoy Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cast
Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Black Water Transit[28] Earl Pike
2010 And Soon the Darkness Michael
Red William Cooper
2011 Priest Black Hat
2012 Dredd Judge Dredd
2013 Star Trek Into Darkness Leonard McCoy
Riddick Siberius Vaako Cameo
Walking with Dinosaurs Zack
2014 The Loft Vincent Stevens
2016 Star Trek Beyond Leonard McCoy
Pete's Dragon Gavin Magary
2017 Thor: Ragnarok Skurge
Acts of Vengeance Officer Hank Strode
Hangman Detective Will Ruiney
2018 Bent Danny Gallagher

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
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 Unknown episodes
1995 Riding High James Westwood Unknown episodes
1996 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Cupid Episode: "The Green-Eyed Monster"
1996 Xena: Warrior Princess Mael Episode: "Altared States"
1997 Amazon High Kor Television film
1997–2001 Xena: Warrior Princess Julius Caesar 8 episodes
1997 Xena: Warrior Princess Cupid 2 episodes
1998 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Julius Caesar Episode: "Render Unto Caesar"
2000 Xena: Warrior Princess Kor Episode: "Lifeblood"
2000 The Privateers Capt. Aran Dravyk Television film
2008 Comanche Moon Woodrow F. Call Miniseries
2013–2014 Almost Human John Kennex 13 episodes
2014 Short Poppies Alex Turnbull Episode: "Mary Ledbetter"
2019 The Boys[29] Billy Butcher

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Star Trek Leonard McCoy Voice and likeness

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Miami Herald: Search Results". 7 June 2009.
  2. ^ "Biography". Karlurbanonline.com. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  3. ^ Greg Dixon (15 July 2000). "Karl Urban – The price of fame". The New Zealand Herald.
  4. ^ [1] Archived 1 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Karl Urban rewinds TV favorites, 10 January 2008
  6. ^ And Karl Urban as McCoy!, 17 October 2007
  7. ^ Urban, Pine join Abrams' 'Star Trek', 18 October 2007
  8. ^ Karl Urban: From Comanche Moon's Old West to Star Trek's Exciting Future, 11 January 2008
  9. ^ Urban Talks Trek Characters and Production Design, 11 January 2008
  10. ^ "Karl Urban Was Ready For Star Trek". TrekMovie.com. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  11. ^ "Happy Birthday, Karl Urban". TrekMovie.com. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  12. ^ Interview: Karl Urban on the set of RED, 15 July 2010
  13. ^ "SD Comic-Con '10: Karl Urban Goes Vampirific in 'Priest'". Bloody Disgusting!.
  14. ^ "Interview: Karl Urban". Shave. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  15. ^ "Dredd Wraps Its Theatrical Run". comicbook.com. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  16. ^ Extraterrestre (8 June 2011). "Erik Van Looy's Loft Receives Second Remake in Three Years". Twitchfilm.com. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  17. ^ Sneider, Jeff (29 January 2015). "Karl Urban to Replace Michael C. Hall in Disney's 'Pete's Dragon' Remake". TheWrap. Retrieved 30 January 2015.
  18. ^ "Marvel Studios Confirms Stellar New Cast Members of the Highly Anticipated 'Thor: Ragnarok' - News - Marvel.com".
  19. ^ "Karl Urban Online". Karl Urban Online. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  20. ^ "Hunter's Instagram post". www.instagram.com. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Natalie's Instagram post". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Natalie's Instagram".
  23. ^ "Empire Online". Empire Online. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  24. ^ Atchity, Matt (23 July 2010). "Five Favorite Films with Karl Urban". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  25. ^ a b Staff writers (28 June 2014). "Karl Urban and wife separate". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  26. ^ Glucina, Rachel (9 January 2015). "The Diary: Karl Urban's new romance gets serious". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Patrons and Ambassadors". KidsCan. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  28. ^ Tony Kaye Says Unreleased 'Black Water Transit' Is "Not Finished Yet", 28 April 2011
  29. ^ Deadline

External links[edit]