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Brave Xena Vows to Ride Again

Star Magazine

26 October 1996

PLUCKY Xena star Lucy Lawless vowed she'll be back riding horses and doing her own stunts just days after a terrifying accident left her writhing in agony. The action star was filming a comedy skit with Jay Leno for The Tonight Show when her horse slipped and sent her crashing onto the pavement.

"Everyone was horrified," says a witness. "You couldn't help think about what happened to Christopher Reeves. "Lucy just lay on the ground moaning in tremendous pain, but everyone was breathing sigh of relief that it was her pelvis that had been broken and not her neck.

"It all happened so fast. It took everyone a second to realize just what had happened. Jay and the rest of the crew ran over to her and the paramedics were immediately called."

Leno was beside himself as Lawless, 28, writhed in pain.

"Jay got down on the ground next to Lucy and held her hand. He was very sweet to her, trying to ease her and keep her distracted," according to the witness. "He said. 'Oh. my God. I am so sorry. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Don't worry about anything. Don't worry about anything ... we'll take care of it, we'll take care of everything.'

'"He managed to get a little smile out of her when he jokingly added, 'We'll even re-book you.'

"At the same time, she was apologizing for messing up, which really got to Jay. He was feeling guilty enough and now she was saying she was sorry and hoped it didn't ruin his show for that evening. But Lucy swears she'll be back riding horses and doing her stunts just not right away."

Lawless, a 6-foot New Zealander, was taken to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, near NBC's Burbank Studios.
She was listed in stable condition with pelvic fractures. Leno sent huge bouquets of flowers to Lawless' room, visited her in the hospital and has called every day.

He also told his staff: "Whatever she wants, make sure she has it."

Leno told a pal: "I feel so bad about this. It's going to take at least six weeks for her to heal."

"But I can tell you this, nothing like this will ever happen again."

The insider says: "Jay wanted to do a comedy sketch with Lucy. The one that everyone agreed on, which Lucy thought would be fun, had her ride up to the stage door on the back of a horse, like her character Xena."

Luckily for Xena fans, there are 10 new episodes ready to air through November sweeps. It will then go into reruns as originally planned.

STEPHEN VIENS and WALTER BARAN