- Karl-Heinz Urban
June 07, 1972 (age 49)
- Natalie Wihongi
Karl-Heinz Urban (born 7 June 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, Cupid and Julius Caesar in Xena: Warrior Princess, Kirill in Bourne Supremacy, 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. He recently played the main character John Kennex in the television series Almost Human.
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 1996 to 2001. He also made an appearance as Mael in the episode "Altared States", from the first season of Xena. 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 dramatization 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 The Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Two Towers and The Return of the King), 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.
In 2009, he played Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy, a role famously originated by DeForest Kelley, in the eleventh Star Trek film. 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.
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, the first movie of which he has cited as one of his favorites. They lived in Auckland, New Zealand. The couple announced their separation in June, 2014. Urban is currently dating Katee Sackhoff, which was confirmed by Sackhoff on the "Schmoes Know Movie" show on 29th January 2015.