Karl Urban
Birth Date:
June 7, 1972
Birth Place:
Wellington, New Zealand
6' 2
New Zealander
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Éomer of Rohan


“That's always an interesting concept when you try to make your dream into a reality and you come up against the facts of exactly what it is you're attempting to do.” Karl Urban

New Zealand actor Karl Urban played Julius Cesar and Cupid in the cult TV series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" and "Xena: Warrior Princess" before landing the star-making role of Éomer of Rohan in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). Since then, he became even more popular while playing the villainous Kirill in The Bourne Supremacy (2004), the honorable, yet ambitious warrior Lord Vaako in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004) and the heroic John “Reaper” Grimm/Doomguy in Doom (2005). The 6' 2" brown-haired, hazel/green-eyed actor recently took the lead in the epic adventure movie Pathfinder and will star in the upcoming TV miniseries “Comanche Moon.”

“Now I'm this far up the ladder and I've got so much farther to go with what I want to achieve with it.” Karl Urban


Childhood and Family:

In Wellington, New Zealand, Karl-Heinz Urban was born on June 7, 1972. His mother worked at a production company in New Zealand and his father, a German descendant, was a leather goods manufacturer. He attended St Mark's Church School, in Wellington, New Zealand, and later Victoria University, also in Wellington, New Zealand.

When he is not filming, Karl, who is really into organic foods, enjoys playing golf, surfing, indoor-rock climbing, gardening and fishing. He also likes to play with his black lab terrier named Ire, who is named after a Bob Marley song.

Karl has a son named Hunter (born in November 2000) with his wife, Natalie Dennis, whom he married in 2004.



“That is a big danger, losing your inspiration. When I work in film and television, I try to do each take a little differently. I never want to do the same thing twice, because then you're not being spontaneous, you're just recreating something.” Karl Urban

Son of a mother who worked at a production company, Karl Urban, who used to write and perform his own skits at school as a child, found a small acting part at age 8 as a child peeking in a window on a New Zealand television show. Afterward, he didn’t continue acting, but began doing several odd jobs, including working on his aunt and uncle's farm for many years. Graduating from high school, he returned to acting and got his first major role as a crack addict in a 1990 episode of the cop drama "Shark in the Park."

As he was preparing to attend Victoria University, Karl landed a regular role as a paramedic in the New Zealand soap opera set in a modern metropolitan Auckland City hospital, "Shortland Street." But his breakout year came in 1996 when he was cast as both Cupid and Julius Caesar on the internationally successful syndicated American TV series filmed in New Zealand, the super-natural dramas "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," starring Kevin Sorbo, and its spin-of, "Xena: Warrior Princess," starring Lucy Lawless.

“Caesar will not be back! You never know what could happen on Xena, but I really doubt they'd bring him back. I'm sure that ‘Ides of March’ was the end of Caesar. 52 stab wounds in the back seems pretty final to me.” Karl Urban (on whether or not his character will return in the show)

Meanwhile, he went to the stage to play Mark Antony in Auckland Theatre Company's production of William Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar” and portray the character Jett Lane in a play called “The Herbal Bed” at Auckland’s the Maidment Theatre in New Zealand.

Moviegoers often remember him as Éomer of Rohan, a Chief Marshal of the Riddermark, in the second and third films of Peter Jackson's big screen version of J. R. R. Tolkien’s books, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). On working with Peter Jackson, he revealed, “Peter's really open to the humor in the day-to-day. One time we were referencing a line in the book, 'We counted all the slain and despoiled them, then we piled the carcasses and burned them.' Of course we went on all sorts of disgusting tangents about what else these Rohan soldiers did to the poor orcs.”

In 2004, Karl was cast as an assassin named Kirill, opposite Matt Damon, in Paul Greengrass' adaptation of Robert Ludlum's 1986 novel, The Bourne Supremacy, and co-starred with Vin Diesel and Judi Dench, playing Lord Vaako, an honorable and ambitious Necromonger warrior, in David Twohy's science fiction/fantasy/thriller film The Chronicles of Riddick. The following year, he starred as the protagonist John "Reaper" Grimm/Doomguy, a member of the elite Rapid Response Tactical Squad, in Andrzej Bartkowiak's Doom, which was based on the popular video game about Space Marines. On working in the film, he admitted, “Doing this film is like going through hell. It's one of the most challenging, exhausting, physical films I've ever done, but I get guilty pleasures firing these cool weapons. It's so wrong, but it's so right.”

He also described his character John "Reaper" Grimm, saying, “He's a very good soldier. He's very good at his job. As opposed to the archetype of the typical masculine, macho soldier, John Grimm is a little bit more introspective, a little more cerebral. He can go and be violent and do his job with the utmost efficiency, but he's also a thinking man's soldier. I think he will appeal a lot to the gamers who aren't these guys who are built like brick shithouses. They're just normal guys like you and me. I was really conscious of that and wanted to invest a lot of down-to-earth human traits in this guy so that he will be readily identifiable. He's very efficient with his job, very forward-thinking, anti-establishment, anti-corporation. Very in tune to the way the universe really works. He can see the angles. He's a character running away from his past and in a sense running away from himself.”

Afterward, Karl returned to his native country to film Out of the Blue, director Robert Sarkies' film based on the Aramoana Massacre, which premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival in Canada. He explained, “That's (Out of the Blue) about a massacre that occurred in New Zealand in 1992 or 1994. I play a police officer in that who is faced with choice; he has the gunman in his sights, but doesn't pull the trigger. It's a very heavy story and it's the first time I've played a character who is alive. I also have a Western coming out at the end of the year called Comanche Moon, which stars Val Kilmer, Steve Zahn, Rachel Griffiths, and myself. It's a prequel to Lonesome Dove, written by Larry McMurtry. It was really fun to mix it up. I've always wanted to do a Western and this was a really great shoot. I've seen it and it's really good.”

Recently, on April 13, 2007, Karl's latest film, Pathfinder, was released. In the epic action-adventure film by Marcus Nispel, he stars as Ghost, a young Viking adopted by a local Indian tribe. He revealed, “It's an epic story of survival, and this story of how this Viking boy helps the Indians. Ghost is well adapted to his life and doesn't quite fit in. He comes face to face with his past. It's through a process of him having to make the hard decisions.”

Karl is currently filming "Comanche Moon," a TV miniseries version of Larry McMurtry's prequel to his western saga "Lonesome Dove" in which he will portray Texas Ranger Woodrow F. Call. It will also star Steve Zahn and Val Kilmer.

"I've turned down a lot of stuff. I've read several scripts and said, ‘That's not me. I'm not interested in doing that.’ It's got to be something that inspires me and captures my imagination. I want to be able to say, ‘There's a challenge.’" Karl Urban


  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2004
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Acting Ensemble, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2004
  • National Board of Review: Best Acting by an Ensemble, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, 2003
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