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Overview for Karl Morgan
Karl Morgan

Karl Morgan


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On both the big and small screens, Joseph Morgan often portrayed complex and intense characters who were deeply misunderstood. The actor began making waves in his native London with guest appearances in the miniseries "Henry VIII" (ITV, 2003) and the cult fantasy drama "Hex" (Sky One, 2004-05). Shortly after, Morgan landed roles opposite some of Hollywood's biggest stars, making his film debut in "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" (2003), opposite Russell Crowe, followed by a featured role in the Oliver Stone action adventure "Alexander" (2004), starring Angelina Jolie. The actor scored a lead part in the ABC miniseries "Ben Hur" (2010), where he took on the iconic role of a Jewish prince sold into slavery, before appearing in the swords-and-sandals epic "Immortals" (2011). Morgan's intensely physical and emotionally challenging performances in "Ben Hur" and "Immortals" finally earned the actor the name recognition he deserved, which led to a regular role on the hit fantasy series "The Vampire Diaries" (The CW, 2009-17), where he played a terrorizing vampire-werewolf hybrid. Morgan's role on the series not only showed off his penchant for playing gruesome yet multilayered characters, but it also heralded his foray toward mainstream stardom.

He was born Joseph Martin on May 16, 1981 in London, England, but spent his formative years in Morriston in Wales. In his late teens, Morgan returned to London to attend the Central School of Speech and Drama. He made his acting debut on the small screen, appearing in made-for-TV movies such as "Eroica" (BBC, 2003) and "Henry VIII," a miniseries chronicling the tumultuous 38-year reign of King Henry VIII. He had a minor role in the 2003 action-adventure "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World," about a brash British captain (Russell Crowe) in pursuit of an indefatigable French war vessel around South America. In 2004, Morgan landed a multi-arc part on the cult fantasy television series "Hex," about students who attend an English country school where witches and other evil entities battle for dominance. He played a handsome student who, in spite of his tough guy fa├žade, struggled with insecurity. That same year, he also appeared in the critically maligned epic "Alexander," opposite Colin Farrell in the title role as the great King of Macedonia and Angelina Jolie as Queen Olympias.

Morgan continued to make inroads in his native Britain with a recurring role in the miniseries "The Line of Beauty" (BBC, 2006) based on the 2004 novel by Alan Hollinghurst about Nick Guest (Dan Stevens), a homosexual Oxford graduate who moves in with the aristocratic Fedden family. Morgan played a wealthy, pleasure-seeking estate agent who was also one of the love interests of the family's sole daughter, Cat Fedden (Hayley Atwell). The year 2007 was a busy one for Morgan; he appeared in the TV movie "Mansfield Park" (ITV); portrayed a James Dean impersonator in the comedy-drama "Mister Lonely;" and began appearing on the comedy series "Doc Martin" (ITV, 2004-2011), which followed a socially inept surgeon (Martin Clunes) who moves from his high-profile London clinic to a small seaside town. In 2008, Morgan joined the cast of the long-running medical drama "Casualty" (BBC, 1986- ), as a villainous drug-dealer.

Morgan next scored the lead on the ABC drama "Ben Hur," a swords-and-sandals epic that chronicled the life of a Jewish prince who was betrayed and then sold into slavery. Obviously drawn to epic adventure films, Morgan's next role was in yet another fantasy saga, "Immortals," which was loosely based on the Greek myths of Theseus, the Minotaur, and the War of the Titans. In the film, Morgan portrayed a cowardly soldier-gone-rogue who ends up maimed and disfigured after being defeated in combat by Theseus (Henry Cavill). In 2011, Morgan joined the cast of the supernatural hit "The Vampire Diaries," as Klaus, a manipulative and egotistical vampire-werewolf hybrid that, over the course of the series, slowly unveils a more human and vulnerable side.

By Candy Cuenco

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