Lucille Frances "Lucy" Lawless, MNZM (née Ryan; born 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. Early life: Lucille Frances "Lucy" Ryan 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." 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. Ryan 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. 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. Career: 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's 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 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. 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: The Legendary Journeys episode "Outcast," transmitted 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, 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. 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. See also: Xena: Warrior Princess in popular culture Lawless became a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2004 Queen's Birthday Honours List, which entitled her to use the postnominal letters MNZM. 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 has an uncredited appearance in the second episode of season two as well. She 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 (TV series). 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. Charity: 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. Lawless 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, Lawless sang at New Zealander of the Year donating her appearance fee to the Starship Foundation. Since 2006, 21 September marks "Lucy Lawless Feel the Love Day/Week." 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 Lawless. Activism: In May 2009, Lawless became a "climate ambassador" for the Greenpeace "Sign On" campaign. 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." Astronomy: Astronomer Michael E. 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 number 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' moon Dysnomia after the Greek goddess of lawlessness. Singing career: 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. Personal life: In 1988 at the age of 19, Ryan became pregnant to boyfriend Garth Lawless, while working together in the Australian outback. They married in Kalgoorlie and returned to New Zealand where their daughter Daisy was born on 15 July 1988. They 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). Stage: 1997: Grease! - On Broadway, NY USA, 2002: The Vagina Monologues - Auckland, NZ, 2005: Gentlemen Prefer Blonds - Seattle, USA, 2011: BARE For Christchurch - Auckland, NZ, 2013: Chicago The Musical - Hollywood Bowl, LA, USA, 2013: Chicago The Musical - Auckland, NZ, 2014-2015: SLEEPING BEAUTY and Her Winter Knight - Pasadena, CA, USA, Filmography: Films: Year Title Role Notes 1990 Within the Law Verity 1990 Bitter Song, AA Bitter Song Nurse 1 Short film 1991 End of the Golden Weather, TheThe End of the Golden Weather Joe's Girl 1996 Peach Peach Short film 1997 Hercules & Xena: Wizards of the Screen Xena Short film 1998 Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie Xena (voice) Video 2002 Spider-Man Punk Rock Girl (cameo) 2004 EuroTrip Madame Vandersexxx 2005 Boogeyman Tim's Mother 2006 Darkroom, TheThe Darkroom Cheryl 2008 Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight Goldmoon (voice) Video 2008 Justice League: The New Frontier Wonder Woman (voice) Video 2008 Bedtime Stories Aspen 2009 Bitch Slap Mother Superior 2010 Lez Chat Construction Worker Short film Television: Year Title Role Notes 1989 Funny Business Various TV series 1990 Shark in the Park Kim Hughes Episode: "Double or Quits" 1991 For the Love of Mike Helen Episode: "1.6" 1992 Ray Bradbury Theater, TheThe Ray Bradbury Theater Liddy Barton Episode: "Fee Fie Foe Fum" 1993 New Adventures of the Black Stallion, TheThe New Adventures of the Black Stallion Sarah McFee Episode: "Riding the Volcano" 1993 Rainbow Warrior, TheThe Rainbow Warrior Jane Redmond TV film 1993 Typhon's People Mink Tertius TV film 1994 Hercules and the Amazon Women Lysia TV film 1994 High Tide Undercover policewoman Episode: "Shanghied" 1995 High Tide Sharon List Episode: "Dead in the Water" 1995 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Lyla Episodes: "As Darkness Falls", "Outcast" 1995 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Xena Episodes: "The Warrior Princess", "The Gauntlet", "Unchained Heart" 1995-2001 Xena: Warrior Princess Xena Lead role (134 episodes) 1997 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Xena Episodes: "Judgment Day", "Stranger in a Strange World" 1998 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Xena Episode: "Armageddon Now: Part 2" 2001 Just Shoot Me! Stacy Episode: "The Auction" 2001 X-Files, TheThe X-Files Shannon McMahon Episodes: "Nothing Important Happened Today: Parts 1 & 2" 2003 Tarzan Kathleen Clayton Main role (7 episodes) 2004 Less than Perfect Tracy Fletcher Episode: "Ignoring Lydia" 2005 Two and a Half Men Pamela Episode: "It Was Mame, Mom" 2005 Locusts Maddy Rierdon TV film 2005 Vampire Bats Maddy Rierdon TV film 2005-2009 Battlestar Galactica D'Anna Biers Recurring role (16 episodes) 2006 Veronica Mars Agent Morris Episode: "Donut Run" 2007 Burn Notice Evelyn Episode: "False Flag" 2007 Curb Your Enthusiasm Lucy Lawless Episode: "The TiVo Guy" 2007 Football Wives Tanya Austin Unsold TV pilot 2008 CSI: Miami Audrey Yates Episode: "Cheating Death" 2009 L Word, TheThe L Word Sgt. Marybeth Duffy Episodes: "Long Night's Journey Into Day", "Last Word" 2009 Flight of the Conchords Paula Episode: "NewZealandTown" 2009 Angel of Death Vera Episode: "Help" 2010 Spartacus: Blood and Sand Lucretia Main role 2011 Spartacus: Gods of the Arena Lucretia Main role 2011 American Dad! (voice) Episode: "A Piñata Named Desire" 2011 No Ordinary Family Helen Burton Recurring role (4 episodes) 2011 Hunted: The Demon's Forge Seraphine (voice) Video game 2012 Spartacus: Vengeance Lucretia Main role 2012-2014 Parks and Recreation Diane Lewis Recurring role 2013 Top of the Lake Caroline Platt TV miniseries 2014-2015 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Isabelle Hartley Episodes: "Shadows", "One Door Closes" 2014 The Code Alex Wisham TV miniseries 2015 Salem Countess Palatine Ingrid von Marburg 3 episodes 2015 Ash vs. Evil Dead Ruby Upcoming series Awards/nominations: Awards Year Award Category Production Result 1997 Saturn Award Best Genre TV Actress Xena: Warrior Princess Nominated 2010 Golden Nymph Outstanding Actress - Drama Series Spartacus: Blood and Sand Nominated 2010 Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress on Television Spartacus: Blood and Sand Won 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

Source: Wikipedia

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