Karl Herlinger

Karl Herlinger


Karl is drawn to conflicted and struggling characters; emotionally wounded tough guys who maybe aren’t so tough after all, world-weary dudes scratching out a living in a hard world.

Julie Talen’s multichannel masterpiece PRETEND, described by A.O. Scott as a “harrowing, dazzling” feature, showcased Karl as an unemployed poet dad trying to juggle family and art, failing at both.  Karl’s predatory performance as Rottweiler, a war-horrored returning serviceman who cannot function in society in the feature THE LOCAL, propelled him into the independent film world, and brought him back to Los Angeles.  Karl then performed opposite screen legend Frances Bay in the film SHORT ON TIME as Howard, a down-and-out divorced father working as a hospice nurse.  The film was an Emmy finalist.

On the small screen, Karl has gone toe-to-toe with HAWAII 5-0 as the mayhem-causing villain “Toothpick,” sneered at Tim Roth in LIE TO ME, glared at Paul Guilfoyle and George Eads in CSI, punched Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger and Dominic Monaghan in FLASHFORWARD, and has been featured in WITHOUT A TRACE, TRAUMA, DOLLHOUSE, THE WHOLE TRUTH, MONK, and LAW & ORDER.

A graduate of the UCLA Theater Department, Karl there won the coveted Carol Burnett Musical Theater Comedy Award, the Dana Lind Drama Award, and the Judith and Milton Stark Scholarship.  He trained in NYC at Circle-in-a-Square, with both Gene Frankel and Robert Castle.  As a member of ThingsezIsee’m Dance/Theater, Karl has performed all over the world including New York, Baltimore, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Lublin, Poznan, Warsaw, and Taiwan.

Karl’s New York theater work includes the world renowned SLAVA’S SNOWSHOW at the Union Square Theater, Adam Rapp’s MISTRAL at the Drama League DirectorFest, the New York premiere of Stephen Belber’s TRANPARENCY OF VAL, Imua Theater’s six hour epic THE GREEKS, and Manhattan Ensemble Theater’s inaugural production of THE IDIOT.

Karl developed and performed his ventriloquism play, VENT, that was a “Fringe First” award finalist at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2010, as well as being hailed as “mind boggling”, “dirty”, “not for kids”, “deliciously uncomfortable” and “burned in my brain”.  Karl just created his “haunting” new ventriloquism routine for the HFF 2011, described as “compelling and touching…there was scarcely a dry eye in the audience.”

Karl lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.