Originally from Wellington, New Zealand, Karl Urban now lives in Auckland. Born on June 7, 1972, he is the son of a leather goods manufacturer (who had hoped that Karl would follow in his footsteps). His first acting role was when he was eight years old -- he had a line on a television show. He did not act again until after high school, being offered a role in the New Zealand drama Shortland Street (1992), as he was preparing to attend Victoria University. After appearing on the show for the 1993-1994 season he attended the university 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 Auckland where a number of guest roles in NZ television followed. One of his first roles was that of a heroin addict in the drama Shark in the Park (1989). He was in a movie as well, entitled Once in Chunuck Bay (AKA Chunuk Bair (1992). Other television roles followed, including a guest starring role in the series White Fang (1993). Karl's biggest role yet is Leonard "Bones" McCoy in J.J. Abrams' remake Star Trek (2009). He also portrayed four different roles on Xena: Warrior Princess (1995), in which co-starred Manu Bennett. In 2017, he played Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok, a Marvel film.
Karl and his wife Natalie Wihongi (she was his make-up artist in Privateers) have two sons, Hunter (born November, 2000) and Indy (born January, 2005). Hunter was born during the filming of The Lord of the Rings, and, according to one interview with Brad Dourif, Karl was torn between rushing home to see his son, and showing up for filming the next day as he was originally scheduled to do; Dourif "ordered" him to go home.
Karl's hobbies include fishing, surfing, golfing, indoor rock climbing and gardening. He is said to be very active and athletic, and put hard work into learning to ride horseback for his role in The Lord of the Rings.
Regardless of rumors and assumptions, Karl's management has often stated that he is not related to Keith Urban, the famous singer, who is also from New Zealand and with whom Karl shares a 'K' initial and a last name.
He is said to have a band with his two brothers called "The Urban Brothers".
Sean Astin • Sean Bean • Cate Blanchett • Orlando Bloom • Billy Boyd •