February 2004 Issue
Spotlight: Lucy Lawless
Scan by Ann
Transcript by MaryD
Eurotrip as sex club owner Madam Van Der Sexx, who teaches an American teen a thing or two about nasty Euro-sex.
In 1996, when her TV show Xena: Warrior Princess dethroned Baywatch as the most-watched syndicated show in the world, 28-year-old Lucy Lawless became one of the most
recognizable women on the face of the planet. Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "There are no second acts in American lives," so it's lucky Lawless is a resilient New Zealander, and one who's out to prove there is life
after Xena's death.
The actor was born Lucy Ryan on March 29, 1968, in Mount Albert, a suburb of Auckland. Her father, Frank, became Mount Albert's mayor the year she was born, while her mother, Julie, was busy at home raising Lucy and her six siblings.
Although Lawless grew up with four older brothers and was considered a tomboy, her childhood nickname was "Unco," short for uncoordinated. Lawless craved attention and she found it performing in school musicals. Her voice was especially strong, which led Lawless to major in opera and languages at Auckland University. However, she quickly realized she didn't have the dedication to sing professionally and dropped out of school to travel through Europe.
While abroad she hooked up with fellow Kiwi Garth Lawless, and together they picked grapes in Germany and worked as gold miners in the Australian outback, which is where the 19-year-oid Lawless discovered she was pregnant. The couple got married, returned home, and Lawless decided that she was going to become an actor.
She landed a few TV commercials and eventually hosted a travel show, but her big break came in 1994 when she got a small part in an episode of the surprisingly popular TV
series Hercules. When the producers needed an evil female warrior for a three-episode storyline, Lawless's name did not come up. However, when the actor hired for the part became ill and dropped out, and four other
American actors rejected the part, the producers desperately turned to Lawless.
They immediately saw Lawless as a gem in the rough, and offered her the lead in a spin-off series. Her beauty, athleticism and wit was the perfect fit for a show that took a
tongue-in-cheek approach to everything from ancient history to lesbianism.
Look for Lawless later this year in the horror flick Boogeyman.
Punk Rock Girl in Spider-Man (2002),
Xena in Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie: The Battle for Mount Olympus (1998)
Divorced Garth Lawless in 1995, with whom she has a 14-year-old daughter, Daisy. Married Xena creator and executive producer Rob Tapert in 1998. The couple has two sons, four-year-old Julius, and two-year-old Judah.
Fractured her pelvis in 1996 while performing a riding stunt on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Played Rizzo in the Broadway production of Grease. Chosen Mrs. New Zealand
in 1989. Provides the voice of the P.A. announcer in Ginger Snaps. Cites her top slipping down while singing the American national anthem at a Detroit Red Wings hockey game as her most embarrassing moment.
ON HER CHOICE OF FEMALE COMPANIONSHIP: "If I was gay I'd want to go out with Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. 'Cause I reckon Mary Ann was secretly a very bad girl." [PlanetOut.Com, November, 2003] IR