Biography of Karl UrbanKarl Urban, a distinguished New Zealand-born Hollywood actor, gained widespread acclaim for his portrayal of Billy Butcher in the television series "The Boys," which premiered in 2019. Esteemed for his versatile acting skills, Urban is also recognized for his roles as Judge Dredd in the modern adaptation and Éomer in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.
In addition, Urban starred in the post-apocalyptic thriller "The Reckoning," and delivered a brilliant performance as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the science fiction drama "Star Trek." Journalists describe the versatile genre actor as an intelligent and affable individual, which further bolsters his already extensive fan base.
Childhood and YouthKarl-Heinz Urban, the actor's full name, was born in the summer of 1972 to a leather worker and a film production company employee in Wellington, New Zealand. His parents, of German descent and immigrants themselves, raised their son in the Catholic tradition, which did not hinder the young boy from engaging in football and other sports with his peers.
At St Mark's Church School, Karl first exhibited his acting potential, reveling in public performances. At the tender age of eight, he made his first appearance in a television program about cinema. Although his role was minuscule, the experience of being involved in the film industry left an indelible impression.
While visiting his mother at work, the young boy was captivated by the transformations of actors on set, and increasingly found himself drawn to pursuing a similar path. Neither his father's pleas, who hoped to pass down the family leather business, nor his mother's cautious remarks about the challenges of an acting career, could deter him. Karl enrolled in his school's theater program and actively participated in stage performances.
Karl later recalled that his first step toward the role that brought him fame was purchasing a "Judge Dredd" comic book, recommended by a friend:
During my teenage years, I wasn't particularly drawn to comic books, but «Judge Dredd» was one of those I did read. I believe I became instantly fascinated by the character, Dredd – such a strong and enigmatic guardian of law and order. I was particularly taken with his peculiar sense of humor.Karl decided to write his own script and stage an amateur performance. In his senior years, he realized his ambition, earning the respect of his peers and the reputation of a local theater scene star.
Acting CareerUpon finishing school, the young man enrolled at Victoria University in New Zealand's capital. However, when offered a role in the popular television series "Shortland Street," chronicling the activities of an Auckland hospital in the early 1990s, he promptly abandoned his studies to immerse himself in the world of film and television. In the first season, Karl portrayed Jamie Forrest, a non-traditional male nurse.
Before long, Urban secured several roles in Wellington's theater scene; however, as soon as he landed new, albeit minor, roles in television series, he abandoned the theater and relocated to Auckland, the largest city in the country, where a wealth of opportunities awaited him.
Nevertheless, Karl not only participated in television projects but also managed to perform on the stage of the Maidment Theatre, playing Mark Antony in a production of "Julius Caesar" and appearing in the play "Greengrass"
Among Karl's early works are notable New Zealand series such as "Shark in the Park" (Roanne Murdoch), "White Fang" (David), "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (Cupid), "Xena: Warrior Princess" (Julius Caesar), and the war drama "Chunuk Bair."
The actor had not initially planned to develop his artistic career exclusively within the realm of genre cinema. He appeared in independent films directed by New Zealand filmmakers, such as portraying Shep in the mystical film "The Irrefutable Truth About Demons," Paul in "Via Satellite," and Harry Ballard in "Truth About Demons."
Urban gained international recognition for his portrayal of Rob the farmer in the television series "The Price of Milk" (2000). As Hollywood developed a penchant for all things New Zealand, he became one of the prime candidates for the role of Éomer in "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," which, as is well-known, was filmed amidst the stunning landscapes of New Zealand. His performance was met with great success, followed by the sequel, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King."
Following this breakthrough, Karl's Hollywood career soared. He appeared alongside Gabriel Byrne in the horror film "Ghost Ship," portraying Munder. Subsequently, he took on the role of Vaako in "The Chronicles of Riddick," starring alongside Vin Diesel as the main protagonist. He then portrayed the Russian villain Kirill in the thriller "The Bourne Supremacy," co-starring with Matt Damon.
As John "Reaper" Grimm, he delighted fans of the sci-fi game Doom in the eponymous American-Czech horror film adaptation. Urban portrayed a Viking raised among a Native American tribe in the adventure drama "Pathfinder" and took on the lead role of police officer Nick Harvey in the crime drama "Out of the Blue."
In one interview, the actor confessed:
«For me, the question often revolves around whether I find the character and story compelling. Then I consider who the director is and whom I'll be working with. These are the main criteria for choosing a role. If I read a script sent to me and can feel the character's soul, understand their situation and motives, and start thinking about how to become that character, it means the project is right for me, and I'll do everything possible to secure such a role.Urban experienced a surge in popularity following the release of the space action film "Star Trek," which revived the iconic 1960s saga. Alongside Chris Pine (Kirk) and Zachary Quinto (Spock), he became part of the elegant continuation of the fantastic journey that offers danger, sparkling humor, cosmic threats, and impressive battles.
Dr. Leonard McCoy, as portrayed by Karl Urban, became much more interesting and colorful compared to DeForest Kelley's character in the older version. Rumor has it that it was Urban who "fought" for the character who had been pushed to the background, and as a result, the script featured numerous new witty lines for the doctor.
A separate entry in the actor's filmography is the "man in the helmet" from the 2012 remake of the 1995 action film "Dredd." Interestingly, the audience's love for Urban's character, who never removed his armor (unlike Sylvester Stallone, who still showed his face), was astonishing. Fans inundated the creators with questions about a sequel to the law enforcer's story, of course, with Karl Urban reprising his leading role.
The actor joked that there wasn't a single interview in which he wasn't asked about when to expect new episodes:
It's amazing to see such love for a character whose face you don't see. Of course, I believe that the 2000 A.D. comic universe, in regards to Judge Dredd, has a lot of fantastic material that would be incredible to adapt into a movie or a series. I'm confident that one day it will happen. But even if it doesn't, there will still be the cult classic film that I am also pleased with.In addition to his participation in franchises, Urban has also managed to star in the dramatic action film "Almost Human" (in the lead role of John Kennex) and become a hero in the family fantasy movie "Pete's Dragon" (as Gavin).
In 2017, Urban starred alongside Al Pacino in the dramatic thriller "Hangman." Their characters worked together to investigate a series of murders. In the same year, the action film "Acts of Vengeance" was released, in which Urban worked alongside Antonio Banderas. Additionally, in 2018, he starred in the lead role of undercover detective Denny Gallagher in the noir film "Bent."
In 2019, the TV series based on Garth Ennis's comic "The Boys" was launched, where Urban played the lead role of Billy Butcher, the leader of a group of people seeking revenge on out-of-control superheroes (who, in the "The Boys" universe, are not the kind and just characters they are usually portrayed as).
In 2021, the actor continued to star in the TV series "The Boys," playing the rough, brutal, but somewhat sentimental Billy Butcher. In the same year, Karl began preparing for his role as Marty in the crime film "Cold Providence."
In addition, the actor "participated" (without having the slightest idea) in a casting for the role of the new 007 agent. An artificial intelligence that conducted the selection process chose Urban with a 96.7% match rate. Chris Evans (93.3%) and Will Smith (92.2%) were close contenders. This doesn't mean that Urban will become the new Bond, but according to AI, he is the best candidate for the role.
Also, in 2021, he was involved in voicing the animated series "Ark," which was scheduled to be released in 2022. Moreover, rumors suggested that a fourth "Star Trek" project would be launched, with Urban reprising his role.
Personal Life of Karl UrbanThe charming smile of the New Zealand handsome man captivated many women. While filming "Xena: Warrior Princess," Karl met New Zealand actress Natalie Dennis, who had a small role in the series. Their passionate romance led to a whirlwind marriage in 1995, and the couple divorced later that same year. For a while, Urban dated American singer Natalie Cole, but the relationship didn't work out.
In 1999, during the filming of "Space Pirates," Karl met makeup artist Natalie Wihongi. Their romance began in front of the entire film crew, and Natalie couldn't resist the interesting and fun Urban. In 2000, their first child, Hunter, was born. It took another four years before the actor proposed to Natalie and married her.
However, Karl Urban and Natalie Wihongi's marriage didn't last forever. The couple announced their separation in 2014. Since then, Urban has been linked to actress Katee Sackhoff, with whom he has been in a relationship since 2014. The couple appears to be happy, and they continue to support each other's careers while maintaining a relatively private personal life.
According to Karl, when his wife became pregnant for the second time, she exclaimed "Oh! Indy!" while watching one of the Indiana Jones movies. She then turned to her husband and told him that it would be a great name for their future son. The boy, born in 2006, was named Indiana, but the family simply called him Indy.
It seemed that the actor's family life was settled, and his fans sighed with disappointment, while the couple and their children enjoyed life in a luxurious mansion in Auckland's Herne Bay, worth 5 million New Zealand dollars. However, in 2014, fans were shocked by the news of the couple's divorce, to which they gave no comments.
Later, the house, where ten years of family life had passed, was sold for almost seven million dollars. Karl was increasingly seen with actress Katee Sackhoff.
In August 2019, Urban went public with the couple's split by responding to an article about The Boys.
One small inaccuracy... Katee Sackhoff and I are no longer together and have not been for over a year,» he tweeted. «Katee is a phenomenal woman, a compassionate humanitarian & a brilliant actor.I love and respect her.»
Karl Urban NowIn 2022, the third season of "The Boys" was released, and Karl was working on the voice acting of the main character in the animated film "Sea Monster" and preparing for filming in the fourth "Star Trek", which was scheduled for August 2023.
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