Iqbal Theba was born in Karachi, Pakistan. He moved to the United States and took up engineering at the University of Oklahoma, but dropped out to pursue an acting career in New York. He struggled with getting jobs and earning enough, but he later returned to university to take up a degree in acting. The hard work paid off, as in the early 1990s he became a familiar face, through TV commercials.
Theba's first major role was in The George Carlin Show, one which he got after the failure of the NBC pilot he was part of, Death and Taxes. He later held minor roles on Married... with Children and ER, and made guest appearances in shows such as The West Wing, Friends and Arrested Development.
More recently, Theba holds recurring roles in two comedy shows: NBC's Community, as the father of Danny Pudi's Abed, and Fox's Glee, as Principal Figgins.
- As he began his acting career, Iqbal worked as a waiter and cook in several restaurants in Oklahoma and New York to earn money.
- Screen Actors Guild Award, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series, 2010 (for Glee)
- Indecent Proposal (1993)
- Just Looking (1995)
- Driven (1996)
- Sour Grapes (1998)
- BASEketball (1998)
- Dancing at the Blue Iguana (2000)
- Guardian (2001)
- Blind Dating (1996)
- Frankenhood (2009)
- The George Carlin Show (recurring, 1994-1995)
- Married... with Children (recurring, 1995-1997)
- Family Matters (recurring, 1995-1997)
- Sister, Sister (recurring, 1996)
- Roseanne (recurring, 1996)
- ER (recurring, 1997-2001)
- Kitchen Confidential (recurring, 2005-2006)
- Community (recurring, 2009-2010)
- Glee (recurring, 2009-present)