Name:
Lucy Liu
Birth Date:
December 2, 1968
Birth Place:
Queens, New York, USA
Height:
5' 2''
Nationality:
American
Famous for:
Her role as Ling Woo on the Fox comedy Ally McBeal (1998-2001)
Profession:
actress
Education:
High school at Stuyvesant H.S.
BIOGRAPHY
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Charlie's Angels

Background:

"I'm so proud of my heritage, but yes, I think there's always a danger when people put you on a pedestal. Especially when you're just trying to live your life and pursue your dreams. The intention is not to represent Asian Americans, but to be an Asian American who is working as an actress. People often confuse the two. When you are "representing," you have the burden of some people projecting their hopes onto you. This can eventually lead to a certain amount of disappointment. I strive to not deny myself experiences that open up to me. I hope to live without looking back in regret. If people want to join me on the ride, then I'm happy to have them along." Lucy Liu.

Chinese-American Hollywood actress Lucy Liu received recognition when she landed the regular role of malevolent lawyer Ling Woo in the hit comedy Ally McBeal (1998-2002). For her brilliant performance she was garnered with a Screen Actors Guild and received an Emmy nomination.

On the silver screen, Liu was promoted to stardom after playing therole of the kidnapped Princess Pei Pei in the Jackie Chan martial arts period comedy Shanghai Noon (2000). Due to her significant performance, she was awarded with an Ammy (Asian-American film award) in 2000 and a Blockbuster Entertainment award in 2001. Liu's bravura skills could be seen again in the blockbuster hit Charlie's Angels (2000, alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz), for which she netted a Blockbuster Entertainment award as well as a MTV Movie Award in 2001.

In 2002, the actress also gained notice for her small, but impressive role as Kitty Baxter in the Oscar-winning film Chicago (2002). Liu won her second Screen Actors Guild and a Broadcast Film Critics Association award for her performance in the film. In the year 2003, she continued attracting the attention of the public when she was cast as the deadly O-Ren Ishii in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003, starring Uma Thurman), in which she was honored with a MTV Movie award for Best Villain in 2004.

Off screen, 5' 3" inches tall Liu has just returned from impecunious Lesotho in southern Africa where she was involved with the children's charity UNICEF. As for her romantic life, once chosen as one of Entertainment Weekly's sexiest women on television, Liu was discovered on a date with Charlie's Angeles: Full Throttle playwright Zach Helm while the couple enjoyed a concert of Norah Jones in New York's Beacon Theater.

Alice in Wonderland

Childhood and Family:

"I grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, with no money. I was taught not to take anything for granted. If you are too busy being a diva or a freak, then you are not enjoying it." Lucy Liu

Daughter of a civil engineer and a biochemist, Lucy Alexis Liu was born on December 2, 1968, in the Italian neighborhood of Queens, New York. Spending her childhood in Jackson Heights, alongside her sister and brother, Lucy's parents, who are Chinese immigrants, educated her in the American way and Lucy felt ethnically estranged due to her Asian background.

Focusing on the importance of the education, Lucy, who was taught both English and Mandarin, was sent to Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School. Upon graduation in 1986, she briefly attended New York University. However, feeling disappointed with campus life, Lucy transferred to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where she studied acting, dancing, fine arts and singing. When she was in her senior year, Lucy tried her hand at theatre by joining the audition for a part in the University of Michigan production of "Alice in Wonderland." Fortunately, Lucy won the lead role, hence encouraging her to pursue acting as a career. After getting her B.A in Asian Languages and Cultures in 1990, Lucy relocated to Los Angeles.

Off screen, Lucy is an expert mixed media artist. She initially exhibited her collection of multimedia art pieces at the Cast Iron Gallery in Soho, New York in 1993. Due to her excellent work, she won a scholarship to study art in China. In 1997, she had her second exhibit in Venice, California. During her off time, Lucy, who shares a birthday with Britney Spears, enjoys such sports as rock climbing, skiing and horseback riding, as well as practicing martial arts of Kali-Eskrima-Silat (knife-and-stick fighting). She also enjoys playing the accordion.

Kill Bill's Villain

Career:

Discovering an interest in acting, Lucy Liu, who once supported herself as an aerobics instructor, began pursuing a professional acting career after landing a starring role in Andre Gregory's adaptation of "Alice in Wonderland" in 1989. Upon graduation from college, she headed to Los Angeles. In 1991, Liu, who worked as a waitress during hard times in L.A, eventually made her professional acting debut as a waitress (guest spot) at the Peach Pit in the popular series Beverly Hills, 90210.

Moving to the silver screen, Liu was seen in the Hong Kong feature Ban wo zong heng (1992) and appeared in the small films Protozoa (1993) and Bang (1995). She also had a small role as one of Jerry's former girlfriends in Jerry Maguire (1996). In addition to bit part in films, Liu landed guest spots in such TV shows as L.A. Law, Coach, Home Improvement, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, as well as an impressive performance in a reoccurring role on NBC's ER.

Liu began to cement her position in Hollywood after being cast as series regular Amy Li, an ambitious college student, in the short-lived CBS sitcom Pearl (1996-1997) alongside Rhea Perlman and Malcolm McDowell. In 1997, Liu added five more films to her resume: Flypaper (1997), Gridlock'd (1997), Riot (1997,TV), City of Industry (1997) and Guy (1997). Another small role in Mario Van Peebles' Love Kills (1998) followed.

In 1998, Lucy Liu's big break finally came when she played the character of the malevolent but beautiful lawyer Ling Woo in the popular comedy series Ally McBeal. Formerly auditioned for the part of Nelle Porter (went to Portia de Rossi), Liu's performance impressed writer-producer David E. Kelley so much that he created a special character for her to appear in upcoming episodes. During her stay in Ally McBeal from 1998-2002, Liu attracted the heart of audiences and critics alike. In 1999, she won a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and received a nomination at the Emmys.

"I'm kind of getting into a place where I can actually be--it sounds a little strange--sexual as a woman and as a minority. And that's really unusual. That's really kind of exciting for me." Lucy Liu on Ling Woo, her character in Ally McBeal.

Led by her great success in Ally McBeal, Liu was in demand and could be seen in several motion pictures in 1999. She was cast as a dominatrix in the Mel Gibson action flick Payback (1999) before appearing in Clint Eastwood's True Crime (1999). She also had supporting roles in Molly (1999) and The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human (1999, alongside Carmen Electra). Moving to a more prominent role, Liu was cast as a backpacker in the sport comedy Play It to the Bone (1999, starring Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas). Entering the new millennium, the actress starred as kidnapped Princess Pei Pei in the action comedy Shanghai Noon (2000, starring Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson). Liu's bright performance handed her 2000's Ammy (Asian-American film award) as well as 2001's Blockbuster Entertainment award for Favorite Supporting Actress-Action.

That same year, Liu was delivered another big break when she starred alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz as one-third of the titular crime fighters in Charlie's Angels (2000). As soon as the film broke out at the box office, Liu collected more fans and worldwide fame. She was also awarded with a Blockbuster Entertainment award for Favorite Action Team (2001) and a MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Team (2001). Additionally, Liu signed a contract with cosmetic giant Revlon and became a guest host for the well-known Saturday Night Live.

After Charlie's Angels, Liu was involved in such unremarkable films as Hotel (2001, played Kawita), rejoined Antonio Banderas in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (2002, portrayed Sever, a government agent) and Cypher (2002, as Rita Foster). Nevertheless, Liu reconfirmed her position as a star when she played Kitty Baxter in the Oscar-winning film Chicago (2002). Her performance helped nab a second Screen Actors Guild award for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture and a Broadcast Film Critics Association award for Best Acting Ensemble in 2003.

In 2003, Liu again drew attention when she rejoined the "Angels" for Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003), but really made a name for herself when Quentin Tarantino cast her as the lethal O-Ren Ishii in the hit Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003, starring Uma Thurman). For Liu's outstanding performance, she netted a MTV Movie award for Best Villain in 2004.

In 2004, the Charlie's Angels and Kill Bill costar did voice works for UPN's animated series Game Over (2004), Maya & Miguel (2004, TV) and Mulan II (as Mei).

2005 will find moviegoers enjoying Liu in Domino (2005, plays Taryn Miles, a FBI psychologist, starring Keira Knightley) and in the forthcoming Lucky Number Slevin (2005, portrays Lindsey), 3 Needles (2005, as Jin Ping) and director Sebastian Gutierrez's Rise (2005,plays Sadie Blake).

Awards:

  • MTV Movie: Best Villain, Kill Bill Vol. 1, 2004
  • Young Hollywood: Adrenaline Rush, 2003
  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a
  • Theatrical Motion Picture, Chicago, 2003
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Acting Ensemble, Chicago, 2003
  • MTV Movie: Best On-Screen Team, Charlie's Angels, 2001
  • Blockbuster Entertainment: Favorite Action Team, Charlie's Angels, 2001
  • Blockbuster Entertainment Award: Favorite Supporting Actress-Action,
  • Shanghai Noon, 2001
  • Ammy (Asian-American film award): Shanghai Noon, 2000
  • Screen Actors Guild: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a
  • Comedy Series, Ally McBeal, award shared, 1999
  • The Actor 1998

 

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