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Lucy Lawless (1968)

Lucille Frances Ryan

Type :  

  Summary  

Lucy Lawless, MNZM is a New Zealander actress and singer best known for playing the title character of the internationally successful television series Xena: Warrior Princess.

She is also known for her role on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Most recently she appeared on the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and its prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, playing the major character Lucretia.

  Biography  

 early life
Born in the Mount Albert suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, Lucy is the daughter of Julie, a teacher, and Frank Ryan, who was a banker and Mount Albert mayor. The fifth of seven children, she has five brothers and one sister.

Lawless began acting in secondary school. During her adolescence, Lucy suffered from bulimia, and was able to overcome the illness. Lawless attended The University of Auckland and studied foreign languages for a year, including German, Italian and French, and she also studied opera for three years. After learning that opera required changes in her lifestyle she was not ready to make, she gave up on both and studied violin and jazz instead.

 personal life
At 19, Lawless became pregnant with Garth Lawless' child. The couple married in Kalgoorlie, Australia in 1988. They returned to New Zealand and had a daughter, Daisy Lawless . The couple divorced in 1995. On 28 March 1998, Lawless married Robert Tapert. They have two sons, Julius Robert Bay Tapert and Judah Miro Tapert .

 acting career
In 1994, Lawless appeared in "Hercules and the Amazon Women," a Pacific Renaissance Pictures made-for-television film that became the television pilot for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In that episode, she played a man-hating Amazon named Lysia. She went on to play another character, Lyla, in the first season episode "As Darkness Falls." She received her best-known role when she was asked to play a villainous warrior woman named Xena in the episode "The Warrior Princess", which aired in March 1995 (R. J. Stewart, one of Pacific Renaissance Pictures' in-house writers, dramatised the teleplay from a story that Robert G. "Rob" Tapert commissioned John Schulian to write). Vanessa Angel was originally cast in the role, but fell ill and was unable to travel to New Zealand for shooting. To differentiate between Xena and the similar Lysia, Lawless' hair, naturally ash blond, was coloured black. Xena subsequently returned in two more episodes of the first season of Hercules, which portrayed her turn from villainess to a good, heroic character.

The character was popular enough that a spin-off series was created. Xena: Warrior Princess debuted on 4 September 1995 (Lawless appeared as Lyla once again in the second season Hercules episode "Outcast" – aired in October 1995). Xena: Warrior Princess, like its parent program, was a hit, lasting six seasons, and Lawless became an international celebrity.

While taping an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in October 1996, Lawless suffered a fractured pelvis when the horse she was riding lost its footing in the studio parking lot. She made a complete recovery, and her absence from the Xena set had minimal impact on the show.

In 1997, Lawless was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People Weekly Magazine. Days earlier, on 6 May 1997, Lawless had inadvertently exposed her breasts as she concluded a performance of the US national anthem at an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, California between the Mighty Ducks and Detroit Red Wings. Lawless was quoted in Newsweek as saying, "Obviously, I was mortified....It was quite a bit more exposure than I want."

Lawless first appeared on Broadway in September 1997 in the Grease revival, as the "bad girl" character, Betty Rizzo. She wanted to play the lead role of Sandy, and later stated her belief that the producers typecast her to play "bad girls" following her success as Xena. She said the Sandy character was very similar to her sheltered childhood, growing up in New Zealand with many protective older brothers.

Lawless married Xena's executive producer, Pacific Renaissance Pictures CEO Robert G. "Rob" Tapert, on 28 March 1998. They have two sons: Julius Robert Bay Tapert and Judah Miro Tapert , who were both born in Auckland, New Zealand.

Lawless became a 'lesbian icon' because of Xena's ambiguous relationship with traveling companion Gabrielle. This reputation has become cemented after her "graphic lesbian sex scenes" in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena. Although Lawless is heterosexual, she has appeared at gay pride events such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. In a 2003 interview with Lesbian News magazine, she said that she had come to see Xena and Gabrielle's relationship as gay after viewing the series finale, though she has also stated on several occasions that she was undecided on the nature of the relationship while playing the role.

Lawless became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List, which entitled her to use the postnominal letters MNZM.

From 2005 to 2009, she had a recurring role in the television series Battlestar Galactica. Lawless appeared as D'Anna Biers, a reporter with the Fleet News Service who worked on a critical documentary about the crew of the Galactica and was later revealed to be a Cylon .

She competed as one of the celebrity singers on the reality TV show Celebrity Duets in 2006, finishing as the runner-up to winner Alfonso Ribeiro. Lawless has also performed as a voice actor in several animated features. In 2007, Lawless guest-starred as herself in the cult HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm. In a sub-plot of an episode entitled "The TiVo Guy", she met and flirted with Larry David. The dialogue included the subject of David being Jewish, and Lawless commented: "we don't have them where I'm from". Currently, the Jewish population is estimated at around 7,000 out of the total New Zealand population of 4.2 million (less than 0.2%). The story concluded with Lawless going on a date with David and leaving in disgust, after he mentioned suffering a groin injury and pointed out, presumptuously, that this would preclude them from having sex.

Lawless was to appear as one of the leads in the ensemble cast of the ABC television series, Football Wives, based on the popular British series Footballers' Wives, in 2007. The series did not continue past the pilot episode, though the network did extend the options on its contracts with Lawless and the other actors slated to star in the series: .

Lawless returned to television on 10 November 2008 in a guest-starring role on the hit CBS television series, CSI: Miami, playing a madam with connections to a murder. She appeared in two episodes of the final season of The L Word, and also had a role in the Adam Sandler movie, Bedtime Stories, released Christmas 2008. Also in 2008, Lucy stars with her former Xena stuntwoman Zoë Bell in Sony 's new web series Angel of Death written by Ed Brubaker set to debut online in early 2009.

In 2009 Lawless guest-starred in the hit HBO series, Flight of the Conchords as Paula, assistant to the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

Lawless co-starred in the Starz original series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. The show is based on the life of Spartacus, the famous gladiator, and the slave revolt he led, and is produced by long-time Xena producers Sam Raimi and "Rob" Tapert . Lawless played the role of Lucretia, the wife of Lentulus Batiatus, who are both the owners of a gladiator ludus. Lawless reprised her role as Lucretia in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which chronicles life in the Ludus before Spartacus' arrival. Despite her character's ambiguous ending in the season one finale, Lawless is set to return in Spartacus Season 2 due to positive fan reaction. Lawless won the 2011 Saturn Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

Lawless provided the voice of Goldmoon for Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, a direct-to-DVD animated movie based on the novel of the same name, as well as Wonder Woman in the direct-to-video animated movie Justice League: The New Frontier.

Other appearances include:

  • on-stage in the Vagina Monologues;
  • guest star in episodes of The Simpsons, The X-Files, Just Shoot Me!, Veronica Mars, Burn Notice,, Less Than Perfect, No Ordinary Family and bro'Town;
  • star in the short-lived television series Tarzan.
  • cameo appearances in the movies EuroTrip, Spider-Man, and Boogeyman
  • the TV movie Locusts! and its sequel, Vampire Bats.
  • the video game Hunted: The Demon's Forge as Seraphine

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Lucy Lawless", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.