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Lucy Lawless was born in Mount Albert, New Zealand to a large Irish Catholic family headed by Frank and Julie Ryan.
Lawless was the fifth child (four older brothers and one younger sister) who found her niche as an actor and a singer whilst at secondary school. A little known fact about Lucy is that she was studying to be an opera singer but lack of interest in the life of an opera singer saw her onto other endeavours.
Lawless enrolled at Auckland University where she studied languages. Whilst she was studying she got her first acting break in a New Zealand commercial for Getaway Tours. With the money from that break, she dropped out of University and headed to Europe.
Lawless ended her overseas experience with her last stop in Australia splitting rocks for a gold-mining company in Kalgoorlie. She married her boyfriend Garth Lawless in 1988 and they went back to New Zealand where Lucy gave birth to her daughter, Daisy.
Studied acting at the William Davis Center for Actors in Vancouver in 1991. When she returned to New Zealand, she had minor roles on New Zealand TV for The Love of Mike (1991) and Shark In the Park III (1991). That same year also saw her in two movies The Bitter Song and The End of the Golden Weather.
In 1992, Lawless starred with Jon Voight and Sam Neill in the movie The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. Various roles followed and the actress was in steady employment.
In 1995, after doing several appearances in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, the producers were looking to cast for a role that would change the actress's life forever. Due to several actresses being unavailable to travel to New Zealand where Hercules was being shot, Lawless was approached and offered the role which was initially going to be for three episodes.
Universal Studios saw the dailies for the Xena episodes and realised they had found another hit. The spin off series proved to be a giant killer, toppling Baywatch and Star Trek: The Next Generation from the number 1 position in the Nielsen ratings, becoming one of the most watched syndicated shows in the US and in 115 other countries.
The year of 1996 was momentous for Lawless. In August, Lawless appeared on the hit talk show The Rosie O'Donnell Show where she performed "I'm an old Cowhand". One of the producers from the musical Grease! on Broadway was watching the show and was so impressed when Lucy started singing that he called her and Lucy was on the road to Broadway to star as Rizzo in Grease! for the following year.
Later that year (1996), Lucy fractured her pelvis when she was thrown from a horse while preparing for a skit for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
In addition to her acting, Lawless is a tireless worker for charities such as the Starship Foundation in New Zealand, Breast Cancer Research, AIDS charities and World Vision. In June 2004, Lawless was awarded Order of Merit in the Queen's Birthday Honour List for 2004. Lawless has been given this honor for services to entertainment and the community.
Lawless married Xena producer Robert Gerard Tapert in 1998. They have two children, Julius and Judah and daughter, Daisy, from her first marriage to Garth Lawless.
Lawless has also appeared in the movies Eurotrip, Boogeyman, had a cameo as a punk in Spiderman and will shortly be seen in the movies Darkroom and Welcome to the Pleasure Dome. She is voice for the character of Goldmoon in the animated movie Dragonlance: Dragons of Autumn Twilight. Often cited on fan boards as a popular choice for playing the superhero Wonder Woman, Lawless provided the voice for the character in the animated film Justice League: New Frontier.
Since completing work on Battlestar Galactica, Lawless has portrayed Lucretia on the Starz series 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand since 2010 and recently joined the cast of No Ordinary Family along with Tricia Helfer.
Filming Battlestar Galactica
Lawless portrays D'Anna Biers, a Number Three Humanoid Cylon. The Biers copy is a Colonial reporter who does an exposé on Colonel Saul Tigh, and is one of the three humanoid Cylons to be revealed in the second season of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica.