Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

Karl Urban (born 7 June 1972; age 52) is a New Zealand actor who played Dr. Leonard McCoy in Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond.

He reprised the role in the video game Star Trek, and appeared on card #35, titled Recruit L. McCoy, card #55, titled Cadet L. McCoy, card #82, titled Medical Officer L. McCoy, and card #98, titled Chief Medical Officer L. McCoy, of the 2013 virtual collectible card battle game Star Trek: Rivals.

Outside of Star Trek, Urban is probably best known for his role as Billy Butcher in the Amazon TV series The Boys, which also stars Jack Quaid and featured Urban's Star Trek co-star Simon Pegg in a recurring role. He is also known for his portrayal of Éomer in the second and third installments of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, The Two Towers and The Return of the King.

He is also played notable supporting roles in such films as The Chronicles of Riddick, The Bourne Supremacy and RED and lead roles in films such as Pathfinder and Dredd.

In 2009, Urban was part of the Star Trek ensemble which received a Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award nomination in the category Best Ensemble and won a Boston Society of Film Critics Award in the category Best Ensemble Cast. He shared these awards with Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Leonard Nimoy, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Ben Cross, Eric Bana, Clifton Collins, Jr., Bruce Greenwood, Jennifer Morrison, Chris Hemsworth, Winona Ryder, Faran Tahir, and Tyler Perry. In 2010, Urban was part of the ensemble which received a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award nomination in the category Best Acting Ensemble for Star Trek. In addition, Urban won the Constellation Award for Best Male Performance in a 2009 Science Fiction Film, TV Movie or Miniseries for his work on Star Trek.

Urban has said his favorite Star Trek film is Star Trek: The Motion Picture. [1]

Early life and New Zealand career[]

Urban was born in Wellington, New Zealand as Karl-Heinz Urban and was educated at St. Mark's Church School in his hometown and later attended Wellington College, where he began to pursue acting. After graduating from secondary school, Urban won the role of homosexual paramedic Jamie Forrest on the hit New Zealand television series Shortland Street. He appeared on the show during the 1993-1994 season. He then attended the Victoria University of Wellington, but left after one year to continue his acting career.

Shortly after leaving Victoria University, he began appearing on the hit series Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, both of which were filmed in his native New Zealand. Between 1996 and 2001, Urban appeared in twelve episodes of Xena and two episodes of Hercules, playing four different characters, primarily those of Cupid and Julius Caesar. He even played a character named Kor, not to be confused with the Klingon of the same name. Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the writers and two of the executive producers of Star Trek, were writers and co-executive producers on both Hercules and Xena.

Urban's first major film role was in the thriller Heaven, which was filmed in New Zealand and which opened in the United States in 1999. He continued working in New Zealand, starring in the 2000 films The Irrefutable Truth About Demons, for which he received a New Zealand Screen Award nomination as Best Actor, and The Price of Milk. His performance in the latter film won Urban acclaim as well as a nomination from the New Zealand Film and TV Awards.

In 2000, Urban was cast as Éomer for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, which was filmed in New Zealand. Among the other Star Trek alumni who appeared in these films were Brad Dourif and John Rhys-Davies. With his prominent roles in the Hercules/Xena and LOTR series, in 2009 he would be interviewed in Reclaiming the Blade, a documentary, narrated by Rhys-Davies, about swordsmanship in Hollywood.

In 2006, he played a New Zealand police officer in Out of the Blue based on the infamous 1990 Aramoana Massacre, which won him a New Zealand Film Award in 2008.

International career[]

Before he was even cast as McCoy in Star Trek, Urban already had one connection with Star Trek: The Original Series: he co-starred with Walter Koenig (the original Pavel Chekov) in an unsold science fiction pilot called The Privateers. Several other Star Trek alumni appeared in this movie, including Jack Donner, Ray Proscia, Benjamin W.S. Lum , and Urban's Star Trek co-star, David Jean Thomas.

Urban's first Hollywood production was the 2002 horror thriller Ghost Ship, although the film itself was shot primarily in Australia. Following the releases of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), Urban had supporting roles in two 2004 summer blockbusters: The Chronicles of Riddick and The Bourne Supremacy. In the former, he played the role of Vaako and worked with Roger Cross; he reprised this role in the sequel, Riddick, in 2013. In The Bourne Supremacy he played the Russian assassin Kirill, who was responsible for killing Jason Bourne's girlfriend, Marie. Bourne was played by Matt Damon, who was approached for a role in Star Trek.

Afterward, Urban played the lead role in the 2005 adaptation of the video game Doom, opposite Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. He then played the lead in the Viking adventure film Pathfinder, in which he worked alongside Clancy Brown. Urban returned to his native New Zealand to star in the 2006 crime drama Out of the Blue, which won him a New Zealand Film Award in the category Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Film. He then played the role of Woodrow Call in the CBS mini-series Comanche Moon (2008).

Urban starred in the 2009 crime drama Black Water Transit, in which he worked with Bill Cobbs. The following year, he was seen in the supporting role of CIA agent William Cooper in the hit action-comedy RED. He then played the vampire villain Black Hat in the action-fantasy film Priest, based on the comic book published by TokyoPop which centers on a war between Humans and vampires. This film also featured Madchen Amick, Alan Dale, Brad Dourif, and Christopher Plummer in the cast; Michael De Luca was one of the producers.

In 2012, Urban starred in the 2012 sci-fi action film Dredd, in which he played the eponymous role of Judge Dredd, based on the comic strip character of the same name. In 2013-14, Urban starred in the FOX science fiction series Almost Human, which was executive produced by J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk through their Bad Robot banner, however, the series got cancelled after only 13 episodes.

Urban then appeared in the thriller The Loft (2014), the fantasy film Pete's Dragon (2016), and the action film Acts of Vengeance (2017), and the Marvel superhero movie Thor: Ragnarok (2017, starring Chris Hemsworth and featuring Idris Elba, Benedict Cumberbatch, and the voice of Clancy Brown).

Since 2019, Urban has been starring in the Amazon Prime satirical superhero series The Boys as Billy Butcher, leader of the eponymus vigilante group, alongside Jack Quaid, who co-stars as Hughie Campbell, Jr.

External links[]