He attended the University of Chicago, as well as Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He studied acting further at the Organic Theater in Chicago in 1972-1978. Szarabajka's surname, pronounced [ʂaraˈbajka] in Polish, means "gray fable". In 1982, he had a supporting role in the Costa-Gavras film Missing.
His acting resume is extensive, appearing in numerous television programs including The Equalizer, Profit, The X-Files, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Charmed, Roswell,24, Max Steel, The Inside, and Law & Order. In 1994 he portrayed the quotable "Matthew Stoner" in Babylon 5 episode "Soul Mates". He is known for his role as Mickey Kostmayer in the 1980s show The Equalizer, as well as for his recurring role as vampire hunter Daniel Holtz in the cult series Angel, the spin-off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He played the lead role in Stephen King's Golden Years.
Szarabajka has also contributed his voice to several audio books, notably "Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates" by Tom Robbins, for which he won the 2001 Audie Award for Best Fiction, unabridged, Fear Nothing and Seize the Night by Dean Koontz, several roles in a Grammy nominated audio dramatization of The Maltese Falcon, Rising Sun by Michael Crichton, Nelson Algren's Walk on the Wild Side, and The Mark of Zorro opposite Val Kilmer.
Additionally, he provided the voice for antagonist Dmitri Yuriev in the Xenosaga series and for The Master of Whispers in the game Guild Wars: Nightfall and for Emile Dufraisne in Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent., in addition he played the role of Detective Stephens in the Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight and voiced Dr. Terrence Kyne for the animated sci-fi horror movie Dead Space: Downfall based on the Dead Space video game. He also voiced a minor character in Condemned 2: Bloodshot named Inferi. He also is the Archangel Azrael in Darksiders: Wrath of War and played a very small role in Dragon Age: Origins as a nameless dwarf collecting nugs. He plays Harbinger, the main villain of the video game Mass Effect 2, and as a result of several of his quotes, has developed into an internet meme. In 2008, he voiced Venom in Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. In 2010 he voiced theAutobot Ironhide in Transformers: War for Cybertron and Mr. Freeze in Young Justice. He also provides the voice for Gilgamesh in the video game, Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy. He also provided the voice for Joshua Graham in Honest Hearts, downloadable content for Fallout: New Vegas.
His most recent roles include the narrator Detective Herschel Biggs in the video game LA Noire, the Chaos Advisor and Captain Apollo Diomedes in Relic Entertainment's Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II – Retribution and Laserbeak in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.