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Lucy Lawless, MNZM (born March 29, 1968) is a New Zealandmarker actress and singer known for playing the title character of the television series Xena: Warrior Princess for which she won a Saturn Award, and for her role as Number Three on the series Battlestar Galactica.

Early life

Lawless, born Lucille Frances Ryan, the fifth of seven children (five brothers and one sister), was born in Mount Albert, New Zealand. She is the daughter of Julie and Frank Ryan, who was a banker and Mount Albert mayor. Lawless began acting in secondary school. At Auckland Universitymarker, she studied foreign languages for a year. She dropped out and left for Europe with her boyfriend, Garth Lawless, to travel in Germany and Switzerland. She speaks German fluently. The couple then moved to Australia, where she worked briefly as a gold miner.

Personal life

At 19, Lawless became pregnant with Garth's child. In 1988, they married in Kalgoorliemarker, Australia. They returned to New Zealand and had a daughter, Daisy Lawless (born July 15, 1988). The couple divorced in 1995. Lawless married Xena executive producer, Robert Tapert, on March 28, 1998. They have two boys: Julius Robert Bay Tapert (born October 16, 1999) and Judah Miro Tapert (born May 7, 2002), both born in Auckland, New Zealand.

Acting career

In 1994, Lawless appeared in "Hercules and the Amazon Women," 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" – aired in March 1995. 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 villainous to good character.

The character was popular enough that a spin-off series was created for her. Xena: Warrior Princess debuted on 4 September, 1995 (although 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 ultimately had minimal impact on the show.

In 1997, Lawless was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" by People magazine. Days earlier on May 6, 1997, Lawless inadvertently exposed a breast as she concluded a performance of the US national anthem at an NHL hockey game in Anaheim, Californiamarker 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 Broadwaymarker in September 1997 in the Grease play remake, as the "bad girl" Rizzo character. She had wanted to play the lead role of Sandy, and later stated her belief that the producers had 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 has since appeared onstage in the Vagina Monologues and as a television guest star in episodes of The Simpsons, The X-Files, Just Shoot Me!, Veronica Mars, Burn Notice, Less Than Perfect, Curb Your Enthusiasm and bro'Town. She was also featured in the short-lived television series Tarzan. Lawless has made cameo appearances in the movies EuroTrip, Spider-Man and Boogeyman (2005), and in the sitcom Curb Your Enthusiasm. She returned to television in the TV movie Locusts! and its sequel Vampire Bats.

Lawless became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and therefore is entitled to use the postnominal letters, MNZM.

From 2005 to 2009, Lawless has had a recurring role in the television series Battlestar Galactica. She portrays D'Anna Biers, a reporter with the Fleet News Service who works on a critical documentary about the crew of the Galactica and is later revealed to be a Cylon (Number Three).

Lawless appeared in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, in season 6 as herself. She goes on a date with Larry David, only to finally walk away after Larry makes an inappropriate suggestion about his underwear and the potential for sex between them.

Lawless 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. She has also performed as a voice actor in several animated features.

The lesbian community is interested in Lawless, largely because of Xena's ambiguous relationship with traveling companion Gabrielle. Although Lawless is heterosexual, she has appeared at gay pride events such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Grasmarker. 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 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), which seemed to indicate the show was still under consideration. The series never aired. It is unclear whether the Hollywood writers' strike, which delayed and effectively halted numerous television and film productions, played a part in the series not continuing.

Lawless returned to television on Nov. 10, 2008 in a guest-starring role on the hit CBS television series, CSI: Miami playing a madame with connections to a murder. She is also set to guest star in the show The L Word, and also had a role in the Adam Sandler movie, Bedtime Stories, released Christmas 2008. Also in 2008, Lucy stars with her former Xena stuntwoman Zoe Bell in Sony (Crackle)'s new web series Angel of Death written by Ed Brubaker set to debut online in early 2009.

In 2009 Lawless guest-starred on the hit HBO series, Flight of the Conchords as Paula, assistant to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Lucy Lawless is set to co-star in the upcoming Starz original series, Spartacus. The show will be based on the life of the famous gladiator and the slave revolt he led. The show will be produced by long-time Xena producers Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert and is set to premiere in the early summer. Lucy Lawless will play the role of Lucretia, who owns a gladiator camp with her husband, Batiatus.

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.Her performance in the latter was notable for being the first time Wonder Woman was portrayed as a tough, hardened feminist in a film.


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 (episode link). 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 is organised by the Official Lucy Lawless Fan Club and kicks off a week of charitable acts and donations by fans in honor and support of Lucy.

In May 2009 Lucy Lawless became a 'climate ambassador' for the Greenpeace 'Sign On' campaign.


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.

Although "Xena" is now officially known as Eris, Brown made an indirect tribute to Lawless by naming Eris's moon Dysnomia after the Greek goddess of lawlessness, although for a time said moon was named "Gabrielle".

Singing career

Since her role as Xena, Lawless has pursued a new career in singing after being a contestant on Celebrity Duets. She made her onstage debut at the Roxymarker in Hollywoodmarker on January 13, 2007. Lawless had a sold-out crowd for back-to-back concerts.


  • January 13 - 14, 2007 - The Roxy Theater; Los Angeles
  • May 31 - June 1-2, 2007 - The Canal Room; New York City
  • October 5-6, 2007 - Buddy Guy's Legends; Chicago
  • January 25 - 26, 2008 - The Roxy Theater; Los Angeles
  • May 3-4, 2008 - Carling Academy Islington; London, England, UK


  • 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



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 Tim's Mother
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
Bedtime Stories Aspen
2009 Bitch Slap Mother Superior
Angel of Death Vera


Year Title Role Notes
1989 Funny Business Various Characters
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"
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"
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 (2005-2009)
2006 Veronica Mars Agent Morris 2.11 "Donut Run"
2007 Burn Notice Evelyn 1.10 "False Flag"
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


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