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Lucy Lawless

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Also Known As: Lucy Frances Ryan Died:
Born: March 29, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Mount Albert, Auckland, NZ Profession: actor, picked grapes in Germany, worked in gold mine in Austria sawing rocks

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

With a physical presence (at almost 6' tall) and tough-as-nails demeanor, the statuesque Lucy Lawless rose from unknown actress to international star as "Xena: Warrior Princess" (Syndicated, 1995-2001). A native New Zealander with a flair for adventure, Lawless' physical presence and natural on-screen charisma proved successful for the actress in starring and supporting roles in both film and television. Joining the ensemble cast of the Sci Fi Channel's cult hit "Battlestar Galactica" (2004- ) in 2005, Lawless stood out as Cylon number three, D'Anna Biers, finding international success on the small screen once again.Born Lucille Frances Ryan on March 29, 1968 in Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand to father Frank Ryan, the Chairman of Finance and former mayor in Auckland, and mother Julie Ryan, Lawless grew up the fifth of seven children in the Auckland suburb of Mount Albert. Lawless first took up an interest in acting in secondary school, performing in school plays and musicals. After attending an opera in France at the age of 15, she developed a passion for singing and began to take voice lessons. After graduation, Lawless went on to attend Auckland University for a year where she studied foreign...

With a physical presence (at almost 6' tall) and tough-as-nails demeanor, the statuesque Lucy Lawless rose from unknown actress to international star as "Xena: Warrior Princess" (Syndicated, 1995-2001). A native New Zealander with a flair for adventure, Lawless' physical presence and natural on-screen charisma proved successful for the actress in starring and supporting roles in both film and television. Joining the ensemble cast of the Sci Fi Channel's cult hit "Battlestar Galactica" (2004- ) in 2005, Lawless stood out as Cylon number three, D'Anna Biers, finding international success on the small screen once again.

Born Lucille Frances Ryan on March 29, 1968 in Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand to father Frank Ryan, the Chairman of Finance and former mayor in Auckland, and mother Julie Ryan, Lawless grew up the fifth of seven children in the Auckland suburb of Mount Albert. Lawless first took up an interest in acting in secondary school, performing in school plays and musicals. After attending an opera in France at the age of 15, she developed a passion for singing and began to take voice lessons. After graduation, Lawless went on to attend Auckland University for a year where she studied foreign languages, including French, German and Italian. Dropping out of college to travel, Lawless went to Europe with her high school sweetheart, Garth Lawless. The pair returned to Australia, where they worked for a gold-mining company in the Western Australia town of Kalgoorlie. Upon finding out that Lawless was pregnant, the pair quickly married and returned to New Zealand where their first child, Daisy, was born on July 15, 1988.

Lawless began to pursue acting seriously, auditioning for commercials and television series. Making her television debut in 1989, Lawless joined the cast of the New Zealand comedy series "Funny Business" (1987-89). Relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia for a year in 1990, Lawless studied acting at the William Davis Center for Actors Study. Returning to New Zealand in 1992, Lawless was asked to co-host the travel magazine show "Air New Zealand Holiday" which allowed the actress to travel around the world. She began to land a number of small roles in local New Zealand television and film productions and soon began to appear in international productions, including the film "Rainbow Warrior" (1992) opposite Jon Voight and Sam Neill.

Lawless' first major break came in 1994; after landing a supporting role in the TV movie "Hercules and the Amazon Women" (1994) opposite Kevin Sorbo, Lawless made two guest appearances on the internationally syndicated series that followed, "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (1995-98). Though British actress Vanessa Angel had been cast in the role of Hercules' female counterpart, Xena, Lawless was asked to step in to the role after Angel was unable to take on the role. Initially a three-part storyline, Lawless' performance as Xena impressed the producers of the series. A syndicated spin-off series, "Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995-2001) was developed and debuted in 1995 to a major cult following. Lawless not only convincingly embodied Xena's combative, tough-as-nails demeanor, she was also adept at balancing 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). This dynamic, of course, drew a large lesbian following. As Lawless' career began to take off however, her marriage fell apart. Divorcing in 1995, Lawless soon became involved with "Xena" executive producer Robert Tapert. The pair went on to marry in 1998.

Using "Xena" as a strong foundation, Lawless began to build on her career. She made her Broadway debut in 1997 as Rizzo in the revival of "Grease." Upon completion of her six-year starring role on "Xena" in 2001, Lawless guest-starred as Shannon McMahon, a super soldier who claims to have driven the missing Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) into hiding on the cult sci-fi drama "The X-Files" (1993-2002). Demonstrating a knack for snappy one-liners and physical comedy, Lawless was next seen in a cameo in the superhero blockbuster "Spider-Man" (2002), which was directed by her friend and "Xena" executive producer Sam Raimi. She also starred as the sexy-but-scary dominatrix Madame Vandersexxx in the comedy "EuroTrip" (2004).

Joining the cast of cult TV hit "Battlestar Galactica" (2004- ) in 2005, Lawless found herself back in the spotlight. Initially introduced during the series' second season as D'Anna Biers, a journalist allowed unprecedented access to Galactica's crew, Lawless' character was soon revealed to be a Cylon spy and quickly became integral to the series' plot. Appearing in an eight-episode arc spanning seasons two and three, Lawless' Cylon character was deactivated and put into stasis during the series' third season. As the only character capable of identifying the 'Final Five' Cylons however, Lawless was rumored to make a return during "Galactica's" fourth and final season in 2008.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Angel of Death (2009)
2.
 Bitch Slap (2009)
4.
 Bedtime Stories (2008)
5.
 Locusts (2005)
6.
 Boogeyman, The (2005) Cast
7.
 Eurotrip (2004) Madam Vandersexx
8.
 Double Dare (2003) Herself
9.
 Spider-Man (2002) Punk Rock Girl
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born and raised in New Zealand
1986:
Traveled throughout Europe at age 18 (date approximate)
1987:
Moved to Australia with then-boyfriend, later husband
:
Studied acting in Vancouver, Canada
:
Returned to New Zealand; appeared in small roles in numerous international co-productions
1992:
Acted in the film "Rainbow Warrior"
1994:
Made two guest appearances on the syndicated series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys"
1995:
Breakthrough role playing the title character on the syndicated series "Xena: Warrior Princess"
1997:
Broadway debut as Rizzo in the revival of the musical "Grease"
2001:
Made guest appearance on the two-part season opener of "The X-Files" (Fox)
2002:
Cast as herself on an episode of "The Simpsons" (Fox)
2003:
Cast as Kathleen Clayton on The WB adventure series "Tarzan"
2004:
Appeared in the comedy "Eurotrip" as Madam Van Der Sexxx
2005:
Cast in the thriller "Boogeyman" opposite Barry Watson
2005:
Joined the cast of "Battlestar Galactica" (Sci Fi Channel)
2009:
Made a two-episode guest appearance on Showtime drama "The L Word"
2010:
Returned to series television as Roman widow Lucretia on "Spartacus" (STARZ)
2011:
Reprised role of Lucretia in the STARZ miniseries "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Auckland University: - 1986 - 1987
Auckland University: - 1986 - 1987

Notes

"This is the most physically-demanding show for any woman on television."--Eric Gruendemann, "Xena" producer, in People, April 8, 1996.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd one day be a female action hero. I thought I'd be doing Shakespeare." --Lawless in USA Today, February 15, 1996.

"I don't want any of this role-model nonsense. I don't want anyone copying me. Don't waste your time." --Lucy Lawless in Entertainment Weekly, November 24, 1995.

"Women can be as badass as any man ever way." --Lawless in Entertainment Weekly's Yearend Special December 1995.

Lawless fractured her pelvis when thrown from a horse while preparing for a skit on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in October 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Garth Lawless. Bar manager. High school sweetheart; married in 1987 when Lawless became pregnant; divorced June 1995.
husband:
Robert Tapert. Producer. Born c. 1955; executive producer of "Xena"; married on March 28, 1998.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Frank Ryan. Banker. Born in 1932; formerly served as mayor of Mount Albert, New Zealand.
mother:
Julie Ryan. Born in 1937.
brother:
Daniel Ryan. Younger.
daughter:
Daisy Lawless. Born in July 1988.
son:
Julius Robert Bay Tapert. Born on October 16, 1999 in New Zealand.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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