Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lucy Lawless

Lucy Lawless, MNZM (born Lucille Frances Ryan; 29 March 1968) is a New Zealander actress and singer. She is best known for playing the title character of the internationally successful television series Xena: Warrior Princess which ran from 1995 to 2001. She is also known for the role of D'anna Biers (Number Three) on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Most recently she appeared on the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, playing main character Lucretia.

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.

Marriages

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 (born 15 July 1988). The couple divorced in 1995. On 28 March 1998, Lawless married Robert Tapert. They have two sons, Julius Robert Bay Tapert (born 16 October 1999) and Judah Miro Tapert (born 7 May 2002).

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." 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," which aired in March 1995. (R. J. Stewart, one of Pacific Renaissance Pictures' in-house writers, had dramatised the teleplay from a story that Robert G. "Rob" Tapert had commissioned John Schulian to write.) 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 coloured black. Xena subsequently returned in two more episodes of the first season of Hercules, which portrayed her turn from villainess to good character.

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 a notable, possibly intentional, howler when the subject of David being Jewish was mentioned and Lawless commented: "we don't have them where I'm from". (A Jewish community has existed in New Zealand for more than a century and has contributed some prominent citizens.) 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 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 (Gabrielle Union, Kiele Sanchez, Ving Rhames and James Van Der Beek).

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 starring in episodes of The Simpsons, The X-Files, Just Shoot Me!, Veronica Mars, Burn Notice, Less Than Perfect, No Ordinary Family, and bro'Town;
starring in the short-lived television series Tarzan.
cameo appearances in the movies EuroTrip, Spider-Man, and Boogeyman (2005)
the TV movie Locusts! and its sequel, Vampire Bats.

Charity

Lawless is a member of the board of trustees 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 set up to provide additional equipment, support and help to staff, patients and families. She devotes much time and energy to fundraising for the organization. She recently sat for the New Zealand television series The Sitting, an arts series where celebrity portraits are produced during an interview session with the portraits later auctioned for charity. Lucy attended the auction where her portrait fetched the top price, with the whole event raising $39,000 for Starship. Lawless has often raised money for concerts and events, donates part of her salary in favor of the institution, and has sold some Xena costumes to contribute funds. Friday 21 September is "Lucy Lawless Feel the Love Day."The day, organised by the Official Lucy Lawless Fan Club, begins a week of charitable acts and donations by fans in honor and support of Lucy.

Filmography

Films
Year Title Role Notes
1990 Within the Law Verity
A Bitter Song Nurse 1
1991 The End of the Golden Weather Joe's Girl
1992 The Rainbow Warrior Jane Redmond
1993 Typhon's People Mink Tertius
1994 Hercules and the Amazon Women Lysia Made for TV.
1995 Peach Peach
1997 Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen Xena
1998 Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus Xena
2000 Ginger Snaps Announcer on School's PA System
2002 Spider-Man Punk Rock Girl
2004 EuroTrip Madame Vandersexxx
2005 Boogeyman Mary Jensen
Locusts Maddy Rierdon Made for TV.
Vampire Bats Maddy Rierdon Made for TV.
2006 The Darkroom Cheryl
2007 Football Wives Tanya Austin Made for TV.
2008 Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight Goldmoon
Justice League: The New Frontier Wonder Woman voice
Bedtime Stories Aspen
2009 Bitch Slap Mother Superior
Angel of Death Vera

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