Lucy Lawless –

Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess.

About Lucy Lawless (1968 – ____)

Lucille Frances "Lucy" Lawless was born in the Auckland suburb of Mount Albert in New Zealand, the daughter of Julie Ryan, a teacher, and Frank Ryan, who was a banker and Mount Albert mayor. She has four brothers and one sister, and was the fifth of the six siblings herself, having described her family as "this big, sprawling Irish Catholic family."

Ryan appeared in her first musical at the age of 10, and began acting in secondary school. She attended Marist College, Auckland. At 18, like many young New Zealanders she went on her "overseas experience", traveling through Europe and Australia with future husband, Garth Lawless, and at 21 she won the 1989 Mrs New Zealand competition.

Lawless has admitted to suffering from bulimia as a child, but was able to overcome the illness.

Her debut on television was two and a half seasons as a cast member of the New Zealand sketch comedy series "Funny Business" – after which she studied drama at the William Davis Centre for Actors Study in Vancouver.

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."

Lawless found her best-known role when she was asked to play a heroic warrior woman named Xena in the episode "The Warrior Princess," which aired in March 1995 (R. J. Stewart, one of Pacific Renaissance Pictures's in-house writers, dramatized the teleplay from a story that Robert G. "Rob" Tapert commissioned John Schulian to write). The character proved to be very successful among fans of the show.

Vanessa Angel was originally cast in the role, but she fell ill and was unable to travel to New Zealand for shooting. To differentiate between Xena and the similar Lysia, Lawless' hair, previously an ash blonde, was dyed black. She also wore a much darker costume, which made her unrecognizable as the Lysia character. Lawless subsequently returned as Xena 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. Xena: Warrior Princess, like its parent program, was a huge hit and achieved high ratings and cultural significance, lasting six seasons. The series brought Lawless an immense amount of attention and she 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, but several episodes of the second season of Xena were rewritten to focus on background characters to minimize the time Lawless was needed on set.

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. 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 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.

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 (Number Three).

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.

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 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, Lawless appeared with her former Xena stuntwoman Zoë Bell in Sony (Crackle)'s new web series Angel of Death, written by Ed Brubaker, which debuted online in early 2009.

In 2009 Lawless guest-starred in the 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 was based on the life of Spartacus, the famous gladiator, and the slave revolt he led, and was produced by long-time Xena producers Sam Raimi and "Rob" Tapert, her own husband. Lawless played the role of Lucretia, the wife of Lentulus Batiatus, who were both the owners of a gladiator ludus, which also saw Lawless doing nude scenes for the first time. Lawless won the 2011 Saturn Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Lucretia in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Lawless reprised her role as Lucretia in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which chronicled life in the Ludus before Spartacus's arrival, and she also returned for the sequel Spartacus: Vengeance.

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. From 2012 to 2014, Lawless had a recurring role on the NBC series Parks and Recreation as Diane, the love interest and eventual wife of Ron Swanson.

In 2014, she guest starred in Agents of Shield as Isabelle Hartley in the season two premiere, and reprised the role later in episode 15 of season two, 'One Door Closes.' In 2015, Lawless landed the recurring guest role of Countess Marburg in WGN America's Salem. She plays Countess Marburg, one of the last remaining survivors of the legendary line of ancient German witches. In March 2015, it was announced that she would be portraying the role of Ruby in Starz TV series Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Lawless, who has a background in musical theatre, played Betty Rizzo on Broadway in a production of Grease in 1997. Indeed, she continued to sing during the run of Xena, even contributing dirge music of her own composition; this made it into the episode "The Path Not Taken" as the dirge "Burial," which she sang for the first time in the episode. Two musically-oriented episodes, "The Bitter Suite" and "Lyre, Lyre, Heart's On Fire," also showcased not only her singing but also that of some of her cast mates. (See also List of Xena: Warrior Princess episodes for details.)

Lucy was encouraged to pursue a career in singing after being a contestant on Celebrity Duets, which she finished as runner-up to Alfonso Ribeiro. She made her onstage debut at the Roxy in Hollywood on 13 January 2007, with a sold-out crowd for back-to-back concerts.

Lucy Lawless's TV, movie and video game credits include...

Year Movie Role
2016The Cosmic OceanHiidrala (voice)
Ash vs Evil Dead (TV Series) Ruby Knowby
2015Salem (TV Series)Countess Marburg
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (TV Series)Isabelle 'Izzy' Hartley
2015The Barefoot Bandits (TV Series) Denenis Gobb
2014Adventure Time (TV Series)General Tarsal
2014The Code (TV Series) Alex Wisham
Parks and Recreation (TV Series)Diane Lewis
2013Top of the Lake (TV Series)Caroline Platt
Spartacus: War of the Damned (TV Series) Lucretia
2011Hunted: The Demon's Forge (Video Game)Seraphine (voice)
2011No Ordinary Family (TV Series)Helen Burton / Mrs. X
2011Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (TV Mini-Series)Lucretia
2011American Dad! (TV Series)Stacy
2010Lez Chat ShortConstruction Worker
2009Bitch SlapMother Superior
2009Angel of DeathVera
2009Flight of the Conchords (TV Series)Paula
2009The L Word (TV Series)Sgt. Marybeth Duffy
Battlestar Galactica (TV Series)D'Anna Biers
2008Bedtime StoriesAspen
2008CSI: Miami (TV Series)Audrey Yates
2008Late Show with David Letterman (TV Series)D'anna Biers - Top Ten Presenter
2008Justice League: The New Frontier (Video)Wonder Woman (voice)
2008Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Video)Goldmoon (voice)
2007Football Wives (TV Movie)Tanya Austin
2007Curb Your Enthusiasm (TV Series)Lucy Lawless
2007Burn Notice (TV Series)Evelyn
2006Veronica Mars (TV Series)Agent Morris
2006The DarkroomCheryl
2005Vampire Bats (TV Movie)Maddy Rierdon
2005Locusts (TV Movie)Maddy Rierdon
2005Two and a Half Men (TV Series)Pamela
2005BoogeymanTim's Mother
2004Less Than Perfect (TV Series)Tracy Fletcher
2004EuroTripMadame Vandersexxx
2003Tarzan (TV Series)Kathleen Clayton
2002The Bernie Mac Show (TV Series)Lucy Lawless
2002Spider-ManPunk Rock Girl
2002Xena: Warrior Princess - A Friend in Need The Director's Cut (Video)
2001The X-Files (TV Series)Shannon McMahon
Xena: Warrior Princess (TV Series)Xena / Meg / Annie Day
2001Just Shoot Me! (TV Series)Stacy
2000Celebrity Deathmatch (TV Series)Lucy Lawless
2000Ginger SnapsAnnouncer on School's PA System (voice), uncredited
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (TV Series)Xena / Lyla
1998Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus VideoXena (voice)
1997Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen ShortXena
1996Peach ShortPeach
High Tide (TV Series)Sharon List / Undercover policewoman
1994Hercules and the Amazon Women (TV Movie)Lysia
1993Typhon's People (TV Movie)Mink Tertius
1993The Rainbow Warrior (TV Movie)Jane Redmond
1993The New Adventures of the Black Stallion (TV Series)Sarah McFee
1992The Ray Bradbury Theatre (TV Series)Liddy Barton
1991The End of the Golden WeatherJoe's Girl
1991For the Love of Mike (TV Series)Helen
1990A Bitter Song ShortNurse 1
1990Within the Law ShortVerity
1990Shark in the Park (TV Series)Kim Hughes
1987Funny Business (TV Series)Various

Memorable Quotes by Lucy Lawless

“Usually? 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.”

“I don't take business seriously, I take acting seriously. I take my job really seriously, but a lot of the job is not about acting, but I don't take business seriously.”

“We live at the edge of the world, so we live on the edge. Kiwis will always sacrifice money and security for adventure and challenge.”

“My plan is to shock people with what I can do, because I've got a few sides to me that I've never used on screen.”

“I am waiting for a sign that will indicate to me what meaning I must give to my life, but right now my existence is satisfactory.”

“I was black and blue for about two years, but it's paid off tremendously. You know, if you get enough whacks, your reflexes pick up, and I've become quite good - if somebody throws keys or something, I can catch them.”

Things You May Not Know About Lucy Lawless

In 1992 she fractured her pelvis after falling from a horse, while practicing a scene for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Lucy suffered a miscarriage immediately following the filming of the last episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. She considered canceling the appearance she was going to make with her "Xena" partner, Renée O'Connor, at a fan convention. However, she decided to show up despite the tragic event.

She wanted to be an opera singer until she was 16. Then she learned they have a strict diet and can't stay out all night. After that she changed her mind — but she still sings. Her vocal range is contralto.

She speaks German, French, some Italian.

Peter Jackson asked her to audition for the role of "Galadriel" in "Lord of the Rings", but declined because her pregnancy would stall production.

The dwarf planet Eris was originally informally named Xena, with its moon nicknamed Gabrielle (after Xena's sidekick). Their official names, Eris and Dysnomia, refer to Greek goddesses associated with lawlessness, another wink to Lucy Lawless.

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Lucy Lawless in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014-2015)... bottom picture second from left.
Lucy Lawless in Angel of Death (2009).
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Lawless in Ash vs. The Evil Dead (2015-2016)... top picture with Bruce Campbell.
Lawless with Guy Pearce in Bedtime Stories (2008).
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In Bitch Slap (2009).
In Boogeyman (2005).
In CSI: Miami (2008).
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As Madame Vandersexxx in Eurotrip (2004).
Supplying her voice for the Seraphine character
in the video game Hunted: The Demon's Forge (2011).
Lawless in Locusts (2005).
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Lawless and Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation (2012-2014).
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As Countess Marburg in Salem (2015)... first and third
pictures with Janet Montgomery... second picture with Oliver Bell.
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Lawless in Spartacus... bottom picture with Jaime Murray.
Lawless with Travis Fimmel in Tarzan (2003).
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As Alex Wisham in The Code (2014).
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In Vampire Bats (2005).
In Veronica Mars (2006).
Lawless in a Season 9 episode of The X-Files:
"Nothing Important Happened Today" (2001), with Gillian Anderson.
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Lucy Lawless in the role that brought her fame, in Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001).