Lucy Lawless, MNZM

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Born

3/29/1968 , Mount Albert, New Zealand

Birth Name

Lucille Francis Ryan

Gender

Female

Biography:

"Her courage will change the world"-- Xena: Warrior Princess. Lucy was born Lucille Frances Ryan on March 29, 1968, in Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand; she was the 5th of 7 children, of Frank and Julie Ryan. Lucy enjoyed acting and appeared in many plays in high school. Later, she attended Auckland University and studied German, Italian and French for a year. As many young people from New Zealand do, she then headed for her O.E. (that's "Overseas Experience"). Lucy left college and headed for Europe where she and her boyfriend, Garth Lawless, traveled around Switzerland and Germany (to earn travel money, she picked grapes on the beautiful Rhine, "for about 3 seconds" she said later in a TV interview). Then Lucy and Garth headed to Australia to earn some more travel money; they found work with a gold mining company outside of Kalgoorlie, about 500 miles from Perth. Lucy and Garth were married in Australia in 1988, and then returned to New Zealand where Lucy had a daughter, Daisy. Lucy was chosen Mrs. New Zealand in 1989. She did a "really bad, cheesy commercial for travel" which led to her first real acting job in a New Zealand comedy troupe show called "Funny Business." Later, Lucy landed the job as co-host for Air New Zealand Holiday, a travel magazine. Lucy worked in numerous television and film productions. Finally, she got her breakout role of Lysia in Hercules and the Amazon Women (1994) (TV). Shortly thereafter, the producers needed someone to play Xena. Lucy, tall (5' 10-1/2"), athletic, with brown hair and blue eyes, was perfect for the part. But there was a snag: at first, the producers (what do they know?) did not want Lucy for the part of Xena-- after all, she had played a different character already. So, Lucy dyed her light hair a dark brown, making her look a bit different, and history was about to be made! Lucy, in her leather outfit and armed with her mighty Chakram, was thus cast in her signature roll of Xena in 3 episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995)-- "The Warrior Princess"; "The Gauntlet" and "The Unchained Heart"-- that would lead to her own spin-off series, Xena: Warrior Princess (1995). Although "Xena" immediately got a huge fan following in America, ironically "Xena" was not being shown in her native New Zealand, so Lucy did not achieve her tremendous popularity in her homeland until a bit later. In October 1996, Lucy came to America to be on Jay Leno's Tonight show. She was to do a publicity stunt, making a grand entrance by riding a horse in the parking lot. The horse tripped on the cement, Lucy fell and broke her pelvis. (Ironically, for the entire 6-year run of "Xena," Lucy-- doing her own stunts and riding horses-- never received a serious injury.) After convalescence and another season of "Xena," Lucy returned to America for another visit; Lucy made her Broadway debut playing Betty Rizzo in "Grease" from September to October, 1997. Also Lucy (divorced from Garth in 1995) became engaged to "Xena" executive producer Robert G. Tapert at that time. They married in Santa Monica, California on March 28, 1998. On October 16, 1999, they had a son, Julius Robert Bay Tapert, born in New Zealand. Although Xena: Warrior Princess has been canceled after a fantastic 6-year run. In 2005-2009, she had a recurring role in the television series, Battlestar Galactica. She played D'Anna Biers, a reporter with the Fleet News Service who worked on a critical documentary. She also landed recurring roles on CSI: Miami, The L Word, Flight of the Conchords and landed a starring role in Spartacus: Blood and Sand in 2009 as Lucretia, the wife of Lentulus Batiatus. She is a member of the board of trustees of the StarShip Foundation and a 'climate ambassador' for the Greenpeace 'Sign On' campaign. She also has experience in musical theater and she appeared on Broadway in a production of Grease, as the character of Betty Rizzo, in 1997. She was also a contestant on Celebrity Duets and made her onstage debut at the Roxy in Hollywood on 13 January 2007. She has since released 2 albums.

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