Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, Iqbal Theba came to the US as a college Freshman at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. While in college in Oklahoma, Iqbal studied Civil Engineering and eventually obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Engineering Management. After realizing his true passion was acting, Iqbal returned to the University of Oklahoma study Acting. Thoroughly enjoying his time in Oklahoma (he is a true Sooner Football fan), after leaving college Iqbal decided to move to New York City to pursue his love of acting. After struggling in New York for over two years, Iqbal decided to make the move to Los Angeles in hopes of more acting work. Broke and not knowing anyone in Los Angeles, Iqbal stayed with friends in San Bernardino until he could save up enough money to finally move full-time to Los Angeles.
Once in Los Angeles, things started to turn around for Iqbal. He soon found a niche acting in television commercials. His first big commercial was for the Wherehouse Music Chain – where he sang the Chris Isaak song Wicked Game. This was followed by commercials for MacDonalds, Burger King, Subway, AT&T, Sprint, American Express, Capital One, Holiday Inn, Kelloggs Cereal, Tostitos, Got Milk and many others. Iqbal was the first South Asian to have appeared in dozens of mainstream national commercials in the 90’s. It was through these television commercials that he was able to get his SAG Card, which opened the door to more mainstream Television and Film opportunities.
Iqbal’s big Television break came after booking a role on the NBC pilot Death and Taxes (his second job in Los Angeles as an actor). Although the pilot wasn’t picked up, this led to numerous co-starring and guest-starring roles in Television and Film (including working on TV in shows such as L.A. Law, Living Single, Mad About You and Seinfeld). Over the next 10 years, Iqbal continued to hone his craft and work on more television shows such guest starring on television shows such as Ellen, Caroline in the City, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, King of the Hill, The West Wing, Judging Amy, Alias, Arrested Development, and Weeds (to name a few) as well as recurring roles on The George Carlin Show, Sister, Sister, Rosanne, Married With Children, Family Matters, ER, JAG and Life With Bonnie. Some of Iqbal’s film work includes Indecent Proposal, Driven, Basketball, Dancing At the Blue Iguana, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Playing For Keeps.
After successfully establishing himself as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood, Iqbal’s big break came from his being cast as Principle Figgins in the hugely successful FOX television series Glee. Although originally written for a Caucasian, Iqbal won the role and has in the process brought his own unique perspective to the character. As the beleaguered Principle of William McKinley High School, Principle Figgins tries to walk the tightrope between being fair with teacher Will Schuster (Matthew Morrison) while being constantly blackmailed and harassed by Coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch). In addition to Glee, Iqbal is also simultaneously starring on the NBC series Community playing Danny’s Dad on the series.
2010 has proven to be a busy and successful year for Iqbal. He started the year off by winning a Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) Awards for his work on Glee, continues filming new episodes of Glee and Community and is looking at several Feature Film offers. In addition to his acting career Iqbal enjoys spending time with his wife Humera and their two children aged 7 and 4 and traveling. His favorite writer is Anton Chekov, favorite movie is 2001 A Space Odyssey and works with his favorite charity Edhi Foundation.
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