||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2009)|
Lucy Lawless at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2012
|Born||Lucille Frances Ryan
29 March 1968
Mount Albert, Auckland,
|Other names||Lucy Tapert|
|Spouse(s)||Garth Lawless (1988–1995)
Robert Tapert (1998–present)
Lucy Lawless, MNZM (born Lucille Frances Ryan; 29 March 1968) is a New Zealand actress, activist and musician best known for playing the title character of the internationally successful television series Xena: Warrior Princess.
She is also widely known for her role as Number Three on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series, and for the role of Lucretia on the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, its prequel Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and its sequel Spartacus: Vengeance.
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. Lawless was the fifth of seven children, and has five brothers and one sister, and has described her parents and siblings as "this big, sprawling Irish Catholic family." While filming in Ireland for the Discovery Channel in 2004, Lawless told Ireland on Sunday that her father's family originated in Quilty, County Clare, and her great grandfather arrived in New Zealand as a convict.
Lawless appeared in her first musical at the age of 10, and began acting in secondary school. She attended Marist College, New Zealand. She later said she "used to quite like bulimia", but 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, and considered becoming a singer. But university studies in opera and languages were abandoned after she decided that opera would mean compromising her own mantra of being the best she could at everything she tried.
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).
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". 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, previously ash blonde, 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 (born 16 October 1999) and Judah Miro Tapert (born 7 May 2002), 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.
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. The dialogue included the subject of David being Jewish, and Lawless commented: "we don't have them where I'm from". (This may have been a satirical swipe at widespread ignorance regarding both New Zealand and Jews[according to whom?]; many New Zealanders of Jewish descent have been prominent in public life, even though they comprise less than 0.2% of New Zealand's population.) 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: (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.
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 husband). Lawless played the role of Lucretia, the wife of Lentulus Batiatus, who were both the owners of a gladiator ludus. Lawless reprised her role as Lucretia in Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which chronicled life in the Ludus before Spartacus' arrival. Despite her character's ambiguous status in the season one finale, Lawless was set to return in Spartacus Season 2. 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,, Super City, Less Than Perfect, No Ordinary Family and bro'Town;
- star in the short-lived television series Tarzan.
- cameo appearances in the movies Spider-Man (2002), Boogeyman (2005), and EuroTrip.
- the TV movie Locusts! and its sequel, Vampire Bats.
- the video game Hunted: The Demon's Forge as Seraphine
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 organisation. 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 favour of the institution, and has sold some Xena costumes to contribute funds. In mid February 2012, Lucy sang at New Zealander Of The Year donating her appearance fee to the Starship Foundation. 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 honour and support of Lucy.
In February 2012, Lawless and five other Greenpeace activists boarded an oil drilling ship at Port Taranaki, New Zealand, and remained on it for 77 hours to stop it leaving for the Arctic where it was going to take part in oil exploration. She was subsequently arrested and charged with burglary, which carries an imprisonment term of up to 10 years if convicted. She pleaded guilty on 14 June 2012 to trespass charges regarding the February incident. Lawless said she intends for now to remain involved with Greenpeace. In February 2013, she and the other six activists were each sentenced to pay a fine of NZ$651 (about US$547) and 120 hours of community service. The judge denied the $545,000 in reparations that Shell Todd Oil Services had sought from the activists. Following the sentencing, Lawless said: "I consider it a great victory that the court has struck down the reparation demand from Shell, which I think was absolutely ludicrous."
Astronomer Mike Brown nicknamed his newly discovered dwarf planet "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 a planet.
The object's nickname "Xena" was used in the press. New Scientist magazine polled the public on their preferred final name for the so-called 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." Eventually, both it and Pluto were deemed not to be planets, and were instead classified as dwarf planets.
Lawless has a background in musical theatre and she played Betty Rizzo on Broadway in a production of Grease in 1997. She has continued to pursue a career in singing after being a contestant on Celebrity Duets. She made her onstage debut at the Roxy in Hollywood on 13 January 2007, with a sold-out crowd for back-to-back concerts.
- 13–14 January 2007 – The Roxy Theater; Los Angeles
- 31 May – 2 June 2007 – The Canal Room; New York City
- 5–6 October 2007 – Buddy Guy's Legends; Chicago
- 25–26 January 2008 – The Roxy Theater; Los Angeles
- 3–4 May 2008 – "Bad Girls In Heaven", Carling Academy Islington; London
- June 2008 – Live at CityWalk, Universal Studios; Hollywood
- 27 September 2008 – Live at the Herbst Theater; San Francisco
- 30–31 January 2009 – "The Pleasuredome", The Roxy Theater; Los Angeles
- Come 2 Me
- Come To Mama: Lucy Lawless In Concert: The Roxy Theater In Hollywood
- Concert DVDs
- Come To Mama: Lucy Lawless In Concert: The Roxy Theater In Hollywood
- Gimme Some, Sugar: Lawless, NYC
- Lucy Lawless Live In Chicago: Still Got The Blues
- Lucy Lawless Live At The Roxy Theater: Ho Down
- Lucy Lawless Live In Concert: "Welcome To The Pleasuredome"
- Other songs
- "Little Child" on Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars
- "4 all of us" with Pauly Fuemana (OMC)
- "Little Child" The Starship Christmas Album 2012 - Starship Foundation
|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.|
|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|
|Locusts||Maddy Rierdon||Made for TV.|
|Vampire Bats||Maddy Rierdon||Made for TV.|
|2007||Football Wives||Tanya Austin||Made for TV.|
|2008||Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight||Goldmoon|
|Justice League: The New Frontier||Wonder Woman||voice|
|2009||Bitch Slap||Mother Superior|
|Angel of Death||Vera|
|1989||Funny Business||Various Characters||New Zealand sketch comedy show|
|1990||Shark in the Park||"Double or Quits"|
|1991||For the Love of Mike||Helen||Episode 1.06|
|1992||The Ray Bradbury Theatre||Liddy Barton||6.13 "Fee Fie Foe Fum"|
|1993||The Black Stallion||Sarah McFee||3.16 "Riding the Volcano"|
|1994||High Tide||Undercover Policewoman||1.08 "Shanghied"|
|1995||Hercules: the Legendary Journeys||Lyla||1.06 "As Darkness Falls"; 2.05 "Outcast"|
|Xena||6 episodes (1995–1998)|
|Xena: Warrior Princess||Xena||Series Lead (1995–2001)|
|High Tide||Sharon List||1.17 "Dead in the Water"|
|1999||The Simpsons||Herself||11.04, "Desperately Xeeking Xena" segment|
|2001||Just Shoot Me!||Stacy||5.14 "The Auction"|
|The X Files||Shannon McMahon||9.01 & 9.02 "Nothing Important Happened Today Parts 1 & 2"|
|2002||The Bernie Mac Show||Herself||2.1 "Keep It on the Short Grass"|
|2003||Tarzan||Kathleen Clayton||7 episodes|
|2004||Less Than Perfect||Tracy Fletcher||3.04 "Ignoring Lydia"|
|2005||Two and a Half Men||Pamela||2.18 "It was Mame, Mom"|
|Battlestar Galactica||D'Anna Biers/Number Three||(2005–2009) 16 episodes|
|2006||Veronica Mars||Agent Morris||2.11 "Donut Run"|
|2007||Burn Notice||Evelyn||1.10 "Red Flag"|
|Curb Your Enthusiasm||Herself||6.07 "The TiVo Guy"|
|2008||CSI: Miami||Audrey Yates||7.07 "Cheating Death"|
|2009||Flight of the Conchords||Paula||2.08 "NewZealandTown"|
|The L Word||Sgt. Marybeth Duffy||6.01 "Long Night's Journey Into Day"; 6.08 "Last Word"|
|2010||Spartacus: Blood and Sand||Lucretia||All 13 Episodes of Season 1|
|2011||Spartacus: Gods of the Arena||Lucretia||All 6 Episodes of Mini-series|
|No Ordinary Family||Helen Burton/Mrs X||4 episodes|
|2012||Spartacus: Vengeance||Lucretia||All 10 Episodes|
|2012||Parks and Recreation||Diane||Recurring character starting Season 5, episode 3 ("How a Bill becomes a Law")|
|2013||Top of the Lake||Caroline|
- Lucy Lawless Film Reference biography
- "ESSENTIAL LUCY". Lucy Lawless. AUSXIP. 2 April 2012.
- Gaffney, Siobhan (2004). "Grainne Mhaol". Ireland on Sunday.
- Biography, "NZ On Screen" website
- "Lawless Bulimic No More". People. 17 May 1999. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
- Lucy Lawless – Newsweek Magazine – Her Cup Runneth Over
- [dead link]
- AfterEllen.com – Xena and Gabrielle: Lesbian Icons
- Girl on girl action becomes passé. Village Voice, 22 June 2011
- Lucy Lawless and lesbians bring the sexy to the "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" trailer. AfterEllen.com, 27 July 2009
- Lucy and Renee in Sydney in 1999 – Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras
- Lesbian News[dead link]
- ABC's 'Football Wives' Still Alive, zap2it.com, 28 June 2007.
- "Football" still in ABC's game, HollywoodReporter.com, 28 June 2007
- Hustvedt, Marc (21 October 2008). "Behind the Scenes with Crackle’s ‘Angel of Death’ Zoe Bell". Tubefilter News. Retrieved 21 October 2008.
- Justice League: The New Frontier at the Internet Movie Database
- [dead link]
- "Home". Starship.org.nz. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- [dead link]
- [dead link]
- "Greenpeace New Zealand". Sign On. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
- "Lucy Lawless boards oil drilling ship". 3news.co.nz. February 2012.
- "Lawless charged with burglary after ship protest". Television New Zealand. 27 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- "Actress Lucy Lawless Pleads Guilty to Trespass". ABC News. 14 June 2012.
- "Lucy Lawless sentenced, and the warrior princess is thrilled". Los Angeles Times. 7 February 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- Your top 10 names for the tenth planet – space – 8 August 2005 – New Scientist
- Messages from Lucy
- SkyandTelescope.com – Homepage News – All Hail Eris and Dysnomia
- "AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Grease! Lucy Lawless On Broadway". Lucylawless.info. 28 September 1997. Retrieved 19 March 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lucy Lawless.|