Chinlund was born in New York City. He attended the Friends Seminary in Lower Manhattan, later moving to Albany, NY in order to participate in Albany High School's varsity basketball program. Chinlund had designs on further pursuing basketball at Brown University and majoring in history, but was sidelined with a shoulder injury. The resulting injury left a two inch scar on his left shoulder.
Taking up acting, with his narrow eyes and gravelly voice, Chinlund is frequently cast as villainous or smarmy characters.
In 2004 he was cast as Toombs in The Chronicles of Riddick, he also voiced Toombs in DVD special feture Toombs' Chase Log, and in animated movie Dark Fury. Nick Chinlund even voiced Toombs in a flash game promoting The Chronicles of Riddick, titles Hunt for Riddick.
- Nick Chinlund apparently really enjoyed the Toombs character. He enjoyed it so much, in fact, that he began writing a Merc Cookbook.