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Karl-Heinz Urban (born June 7, 1972) is an actor from New Zealandmarker.

He is best known for playing Éomer in the second and third installments of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Dr Leonard McCoy in the 2009 film Star Trek. He played Vaako in The Chronicles of Riddick and the Russian assassin Kirill in The Bourne Supremacy, and won acclaim for his performances in New Zealand films The Price of Milk and Out of the Blue.

Early life

Urban was born in Wellington,marker New Zealandmarker, the son of a leather goods manufacturer. He attended St Mark's Church Schoolmarker where he showed an early love for public performance. His first acting role was when he was eight he had a line on a television show. However, he did not act again until after high school. He then went on to Wellington Collegemarker. Upon leaving high school Karl was offered a role in the hit New Zealand TV-series Shortland Street playing gay paramedic Jamie Forrest. After appearing on the show for the 1993-1994 season he attended Victoria University of Wellingtonmarker for one year, then left to pursue his acting career. Over the next few years, he landed several theater roles in the Wellington area. Eventually, he moved to Aucklandmarker where he was offered many guest roles in local shows. One of his first roles was that of a heroin addict in police drama Shark In the Park.


As well as appearing in films and television shows, Urban had various roles in theatre productions and TV advertisements. In February/March 1998, he was in a play called The Herbal Bed at the Maidment Theatre in Auckland. In August 1998, he played Mark Antony in Auckland Theatre Company's production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. The following year he appeared in the Auckland Theatre Company's production of New Zealand classic Foreskin's Lament.

Urban was seen on the internationally syndicated Americanmarker TV series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and on its spin-off Xena: Warrior Princess, in which he played both Cupid and Julius Caesar from 1996 to 2001. Both shows were filmed in New Zealand. He won the New Zealand Film and TV Awards for his starring role in the offbeat rural romance The Price of Milk. Urban later won acclaim for his portrayal of policeman Nick Harvey in Out of the Blue, a dramatisation of New Zealand's Aramoana Massacre.

International roles

Urban's Hollywood break came with his role in the 2002 horror film Ghost Ship. Since then, Urban has worked on many high-profile films, including in two of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Bourne Supremacy and The Chronicles of Riddick. Urban starred as the protagonist in the 2007 movie Pathfinder.

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. The role eventually went to Daniel Craig.

Urban at the premiere of Peter Jackson's King Kong in Wellington, New Zealand
Urban played John "Reaper" Grimm, one of the lead characters in Universal Pictures' Doom which was released on October 21, 2005. Following his role in Doom, he played the lead in the Viking adventure Pathfinder, which is regarded as a box office disappointment.

A longtime fan of Western, Urban appeared in Comanche Moon, the miniseries prequel to Lonesome Dove. In 2009, he portrayed the role of Dr Leonard McCoy in the eleventh Star Trek film.

In 2009, Urban appeared as himself in the documentary film Reclaiming The Blade talking about his past roles in films such as Lord of the Rings where wielding a sword was a main part of his character.


Year Film Role Other 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 Éomer
2004 The Chronicles of Riddick Vaako
The Bourne Supremacy Kirill
2005 Doom Sgt. John 'Reaper' Grimm
2006 Out of the Blue Nick Harvey
2007 Pathfinder Ghost
2009 Star Trek Dr.Leonard "Bones" McCoy
Black Water Transit Earl Pike
2010 And Soon the Darkness Michael post-production
Priest Black Hat post-production
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Shark in the Park Episode: Suffer Little Children
1992 Homeward Bound Tim Johnstone
1993 White Fang David Episode: Tough Kid
1993–1994 Shortland Street Paramedic Jamie Forrest
1995 Riding High James Westwood
1996, 1998 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Cupid

Julius Caesar
Episode: The Green-Eyed Monster

Episode: Render Unto Caesar
1996–2001 Xena: Warrior Princess Mael

Julius Caesar

12 episodes
1997 Amazon High Kor Unsold TV-Pilot
2000 The Privateers Capt. Aran Dravyk TV-Movie/Unsold TV-Pilot
2008 Comanche Moon Woodrow F. Call CBS Miniseries


  1. Karl Urban rewinds TV favorites, January 10, 2008
  2. And Karl Urban as McCoy!, October 17, 2007
  3. Urban, Pine join Abrams' 'Star Trek', October 18, 2007
  4. Karl Urban: From Comanche Moon's Old West to Star Trek's Exciting Future, January 11, 2008
  5. Urban Talks Trek Characters and Production Design, January 11, 2008

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