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Performers of the Year - Lucy Lawless

TV Guide

20 December 1997

I don't know that I'm ever going to be able to top this year," says Lucy Lawless, ensconced in her family home outside the New Zealand city of Auckland. The actress's outlook is understandable. With her unaffected charm and Kiwi accent, the acrobatic star of Xena: Warrior Princess has beguiled audiences on every interview show from Good Morning America to Conan O'Brien, from The View to Howard Stern. She's sung cowgirl songs on Rosie. She even performed on Broadway—singing and dancing in "Grease!"

Meanwhile Xena has become a runaway hit, soaring above Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and muscling past Hercules to become the most popular action-adventure show in syndication. As the saucy drama's lusty and lethal title character, Lawless suddenly finds herself a sensation in 82 countries. "I'm much bigger in Cairo than I am in my hometown," she marvels. Success has unleashed a flood of merchandise. (Lawless's 9-year-old daughter, Daisy, favors Xena earrings. Lucy is partial to the plastic light-switch cover.) A recent episode, "The Furies," suggested that Xena's lineage, like Here's, may be half-human and half-god. That would explain the Warrior Princess's prowess. But, as far as we're concerned, she's totally divine.