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Lucy Lawless Biography


Home > Actresses > L > Lawless, Lucy > Biography


Birth Name: Lucy Lawless
Born: 03/29/1968
Birth Place: Mount Albert, Auckland, NZ


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.