Birth name: Lucille Francis Ryan
Date of birth: 29 March 1968
Place of birth: Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand
Nickname: Unco, Loo, Luce, LL, Flawless
Height: 5′ 11″ (1.80 m)
Spouse: Robert G. Tapert (28 March 1998 – present) 2 children, Garth Lawless (1988 – 1995) (divorced) 1 daughter.
Famous Quote: “I don’t even consider myself usually. Soccer mom, that’s what I consider myself. Yeah, I think I’m a funny person. I started out in comedy. You know I remember the moment I realized the value of comedy is when I was eight years old and I was sitting in class and I realized that if I just acted really stupid, I could get away with a lot of stuff. And it would diffuse a lot of tension and the teachers would focus on you. I just found out the value of being a funny dunce at times.”
Contact Address and Autograph: Addresses and fan mail information
9601 Wilshire Blvd. 3rd Floor
Beverly Hills, CA 90212, USA
Biography: Lucy Lawless (born Lucille Frances Ryan; March 29, 1968) is a New Zealand actress and singer perhaps best known for playing the title character of the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. Standing almost 6′ tall, with her natural honey brown hair dyed black and exhibiting a distinctive flair for martial arts, Lucy Lawless went from being an obscure New Zealand actor to international fame as “Xena: Warrior Princess” (syndicated, 1995-2001).
Lawless, the fifth of seven children, was born in Mount Albert, New Zealand, the daughter of Julie and Frank Ryan, who was a banker and mayor. She has five brothers and one sister, and began acting in secondary school. At Auckland University, she studied foreign languages for a year. She dropped out and left for Europe with her boyfriend, Garth Lawless, to travel in Germany and Switzerland.
The couple then moved to Australia, where she worked briefly as a gold miner. As a college student, Lawless (born Lucy Ryan) decided she did not have the passion for opera she had thought and dropped out of school to travel throughout Europe. Joined by her high school sweetheart Garth Lawless, she landed in Australia where she found herself pregnant. After a hasty marriage, Lawless and the family (which now included a daughter) moved to British Columbia for a short spell so she could study acting. Returning to New Zealand, she landed bit parts in international co-productions.
In 1994, Lawless made two guest appearances on the internationally syndicated series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys”, as a renegade Amazon lieutenant and an unrepentant villain who gives birth to a baby centaur. American actress Vanessa Angel had been cast as Xena, the female counterpart to Hercules, in three episodes of the series. When she fell ill, the producers turned to Lawless to make additional “Hercules” guest shots. A three-part storyline turned into the “Xena: Warrior Princess” spin-off series, which became the international syndication hit of the 1995-96 season, and garnered a devoted fan following on par with fans of “Star Trek.”
Lawless not only convincingly embodied Xena’s combative, tough-as-nails demeanor, she was also extremely potent in the series’ more emotional scenes and had fun with the are-they-or-aren’t-they? relationship between Xena and her sidekick Gabrielle (Renee O’Connor). Her marriage to Garth Lawless was a casualty of her burgeoning career, ending in divorce in 1995, but she married “Xena” producer Rob Tapert in 1998.
Lawless had a guest role in New Zealand TV series Shark in the Park (1990), around the same time as future Xena actor Karl Urban. In 1994, Lawless appeared in Hercules and the Amazon Women, the pilot film 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”, but her key role was given to her when she was asked to play a villainous warrior woman named Xena in the episode “The Warrior Princess”, aired in March 1995. Vanessa Angel had originally been 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 dyed black. Xena subsequently returned in two more episodes of Hercules first season.
Xena underwent a change of heart over the course of her several Hercules episodes, and decided to devote her life to fighting for good to make up for her past misdeeds. The character was popular enough that a spin-off series was created for her. Xena: Warrior Princess debuted on 4 September 1995 (although 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. After the series went off the air in 2001, Lawless had a key role in a two-part episode of the even bigger cult hit “The X-Files” titled “Nothing Important Happened Today: Part 1 and Part 2,” playing a “super solider” who claims to have driven the missing Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) into hiding. Demonstrating a knack for snappy one-liners and physical comedy, Lawless was next seen in a cameo as a Punk Rock Girl commenting on “Spider-Man” in the superhero blockbuster (directed by her friend and “Xena” executive producer Sam Raimi) and as the sexy/scary dominatrix Madame Vandersexxx in the funny frat-mentality comedy “EuroTrip” (2004), bolstered by especially amusing guest stints on the sitcoms “Less Than Perfect” and “Two and a Half Men” in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
She returned to genre fare with turns in the horror feature “Boogeyman” (2004) as the mother of a traumatized young man (Barry Watson), and the telepic “Locusts” (2005), a less-than-impressive insect invasion-fest that cast her as an investigator for the Department of Agriculture struggling to protect America from a deadly breed of bioengineered locusts. Much better was her recurring stint–complete with her natural accent–on SciFi’s high-quality reimagination of the cult series “Battlestar Galactica” as D’anna Biers, a journalist allowed unprecedented access to the starship who is also secretly a Cylon spy.
She even appeared as a super-powered version of herself on the The Simpsons episode Treehouse of Horror X (1999), though she spoke with an American accent, as she did when hosting Saturday Night Live in 1998, rather than her native New Zealander accent. In the end, she flies away carrying Bart and Lisa Simpson. Lisa points out Xena can’t fly and Lucy replies that she’s not Xena, she’s Lucy Lawless.
In 1997, Lawless was named one of the “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” by People magazine. Days earlier on 6 May 1997, Lawless inadvertently exposed one of 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 has since appeared onstage in the Vagina Monologues, and as a television guest star in episodes of The X-Files, Just Shoot Me!, The Bernie Mac Show, Two and a Half Men, and Veronica Mars. She was also featured in the short-lived television series Tarzan. Lawless has made cameo appearances in the movies EuroTrip, Spider-Man, and the horror film Boogeyman (2005). She returned to television in the TV movie Locusts! and its sequel Vampire Bats.
From 2005 to 2007, Lawless has had a recurring role in the television series Battlestar Galactica. She portrays D’Anna Biers, a reporter with the Fleet News Service who works on a critical documentary about the crew of the Galactica and is later revealed to be a Cylon (Number Three). In 2007, she was slated to star in the new ABC TV series Football Wives – a remake of the ITV drama Footballers’ Wives which ran for five years. Instead of soccer players, this series would have been about the wives of professional American football players. However, Lucy announced on her official website that the show had not been picked up by ABC. Although her character appeared to be ‘killed’ off Battlestar Galactica it has been confirmed that she will return to the show for the series’ last season for a 2-3 episode arc.
Lawless has a cult following in the lesbian community, largely because of Xena’s ambiguous relationship with travelling companion Gabrielle. 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 competed as one of the celebrity singers on the reality TV show Celebrity Duets, which premiered August 29, 2006, on the U.S. Fox channel. She finished runner-up to Alfonso Ribeiro. She co-starred in the 2006 movie The Darkroom. She also guest starred in the USA network series Burn Notice on September 13, 2007. On October 21, 2007, she guest starred as Larry David’s date on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, after Larry’s wife Cheryl leaves him.
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. The movie was released on January 15, 2008. In addition, she will provide the voice for Wonder Woman in the direct-to-video animated movie Justice League: The New Frontier.
Lawless is a major supporter of the StarShip Foundation, the charity arm of the Starship Children’s Health (hospital) which is part of the Auckland District Health Board. It is is set up to provide additional equipment, support and help to staff, patients and families – as an extra to state funding. Lawless has often raised money for concerts and events, donates part of her salary in favour of the institution, and has sold some Xena costumes to contribute funds. Friday, 21 September is “Lucy Lawless Feel the Love Day”. The day is organised by the Official Lucy Lawless Fan Club and kicks off a week of charitable acts and donations by fans in honor and support of Lucy.
Lucy Lawless has also been referenced in astronomy. Astronomer Mike Brown nicknamed the newly discovered dwarf planet Eris “Xena”, finding this name more convenient to use than the then-official designation “2003 UB313″. When this object was determined to be larger than Pluto, it gained international attention and forced a year-long debate among astronomers as to the definition of planet.
The planet’s nickname “Xena” was widely used in the press. So popular did the name become that, when the New Scientist magazine polled the public on their preferred final name for the tenth planet, “Xena” ranked no. 4. Lawless rang Mike Brown in December 2005 to thank him for his “senseless act of beauty,” and claimed that she “never dared hope the name would stick.” Although planet “Xena” is now officially known as “Eris”, Brown made an indirect tribute to Lawless by naming Eris’s moon Dysnomia after the Greek goddess of lawlessness. Since her role as Xena, Lawless has pursued a new career in singing after being a contestant on Celebrity Duets. She made her onstage debut at the Roxy in Hollywood on January 13, 2007. Lawless was welcomed by a sold out crowd for back-to-back concerts.
At 19, she became pregnant with Garth’s child. In 1988, they married in Kalgoorlie, Australia. They returned to New Zealand and had a daughter, Daisy Lawless (born July 15, 1988). The couple divorced in 1995. Lawless married Xena executive producer, Robert Tapert, on March 28, 1998. Lawless and Tapert have two sons: Julius Robert Bay Tapert (born October 16, 1999) and Judah Miro Tapert (born May 7, 2002), both born in Auckland, New Zealand.Related People: