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Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu
Liu at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1968-12-02) December 2, 1968
Queens, New York City, U.S.
Education Stuyvesant High School[1]
Alma mater University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
Occupation Actress
Years active 1988–present
Children 1
Website .netlucyliu
Lucy Liu
Traditional Chinese 劉玉玲
Simplified Chinese 刘玉玲

Lucy Alexis Liu (born Lucy Liu; December 2, 1968) is an American actress.

She became known for playing the role of the vicious and ill-mannered Ling Woo in the television series Ally McBeal (1998–2002), for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series. Her film work includes starring as one of the heroines in Charlie's Angels, playing O-ren Ishii in Kill Bill, and appearances in Payback, Chicago, and animated hit series Kung Fu Panda.

In 2012, Liu joined the cast of the TNT series Southland in the recurring role of Jessica Tang, for which she won the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Guest Actress. In 2008 she starred in her own television show, ABC comedy-drama, Cashmere Mafia, which ended after one abbreviated season. The show was one of only a few American television shows to have an Asian American series lead. She is currently co-starring in the Sherlock Holmes–inspired crime drama series Elementary as Joan Watson, and voicing Silvermist in Disney's Tinkerbell film series.

Early life

Lucy Liu as a high school senior in 1986

Lucy Liu was born on December 2, 1968 in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. In high school, she adopted a middle name, Alexis.[2] She is the youngest of three children born to Cecilia, who worked as a biochemist, and Tom Liu, a trained civil engineer who sold digital clock pens to make a living.[3][4] Her parents worked many jobs while Lucy and her siblings were growing up.[5] Liu's parents originally came from Beijing and Shanghai and emigrated to Taiwan before meeting in New York.[3][6][7] She has an older brother, John,[8][9][10][11] and an older sister, Jenny.[12]

Liu has stated that she grew up in a diverse neighborhood. She learned to speak Mandarin at home and began studying English when she was 5.[13] She studied kali-eskrima-silat as a hobby when she was young.[14] Liu attended Joseph Pulitzer Middle School (I.S.145), and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1986.[1] She later enrolled at New York University and transferred to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. Liu earned a bachelor's degree in Asian languages and cultures. Liu worked as a waitress at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase club circa 1988–89.[15]

Career as actress


Liu was discovered by an agent at the age of 19 while traveling on the subway. She did one commercial.[16] As a member of the Basement Arts student-run theater group,[17] she auditioned in 1989 for the University of Michigan's production of Alice in Wonderland during her senior year of college. Although she had originally tried out for only a supporting part,[18] Liu was cast in the lead role. While queuing up to audition for the musical Miss Saigon in 1990, she told The New York Times, "There aren't many Asian roles, and it's very difficult to get your foot in the door."[19] In May 1992, Liu made her New York stage debut in Fairy Bones, directed by Tina Chen.[20]

Liu had small roles in films and TV, marking her debut. She was cast in both The X-Files in "Hell Money" and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in "The March to Freedom," before landing a role on Ally McBeal. Liu originally auditioned for the role of Nelle Porter (played by Portia de Rossi), and the character Ling Woo was later created specifically for her. Liu's part on the series was originally temporary, but high audience ratings secured Liu as a permanent cast member. Additionally, she earned a Primetime Emmy Award[21] nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.[18] In Payback (1999), Liu portrayed Pearl, a high-class BDSM prostitute with links to the Chinese mafia.


Liu was cast as Alex Munday in the film Charlie's Angels, alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. The film opened in November 2000 and earned more than $125 million in the United States. Charlie's Angels earned a worldwide total of more than $264 million. The sequel, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, opened in June 2003 and also did well at the box office, earning $100 million in the U.S. and a worldwide total of more than $259 million. Liu also starred with Antonio Banderas in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, a critical and box office failure.

In 2000 she hosted Saturday Night Live with Jay-Z. In a 2001 episode of Sex and the City entitled "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" she guest starred as herself, playing Samantha Jones' new client. She starred in the Sex and the City–inspired TV show Cashmere Mafia on ABC. Liu also made a cameo appearance on Futurama (as herself and robot duplicates) in the episodes "I Dated a Robot" and "Love and Rocket", and on The Simpsons in the season 16 episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan."

In 2002 Liu played Rita Foster in Vincenzo Natali's Brainstorm (a k a Cypher). Soon thereafter, she appeared as O-Ren Ishii in Quentin Tarantino's 2003 film, Kill Bill. She won an MTV Award for Best Movie Villain for the part. Subsequently, Liu appeared on several episodes of Joey with Matt LeBlanc, who played her love interest in the Charlie's Angels films. She also had minor roles as Kitty Baxter in the film Chicago and as a psychologist opposite Keira Knightley in the thriller Domino. In Lucky Number Slevin, she played the leading love interest to Josh Hartnett. 3 Needles was released on December 1, 2006, Liu portrayed Jin Ping, an HIV-positive Chinese woman.[22]


Liu speaking at the USAID Human Trafficking Symposium in September 2009.

In 2007 Liu appeared in Code Name: The Cleaner; Rise, a supernatural thriller co-starring Michael Chiklis in which Liu plays an undead reporter[13] (for which she was ranked number 41 on "Top 50 Sexiest Vampires");[23] and Watching the Detectives, an independent romantic comedy co-starring Cillian Murphy. She made her producer debut and also starred in a remake of Charlie Chan, which had been planned as early as 2000.[18] Liu guest starred as lawyer Grace Chin on Ugly Betty in the 2007 episodes "Derailed" and "Icing on the Cake."

In 2007 Peter Krause).[25] Liu voiced Silvermist in Disney Fairies and Viper in Kung Fu Panda.[18]

In March 2010, Liu made her Broadway debut in the Tony Award–winning play God of Carnage as Annette on the second replacement cast alongside Jeff Daniels, Janet McTeer, and Dylan Baker.[26] In March 2012, she was cast as Joan Watson for Elementary. Elementary is an American Sherlock Holmes adaptation, and the role Liu was offered is traditionally played by men.[27] She also has played police officer Jessica Tang on Southland, a television show focusing on the lives of police officers and detectives in Los Angeles as a recurring guest actor during the fourth season.[28][29] She received the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Guest Actress for this role.[30]

In August 2011, Liu became a narrator for the musical group The Bullitts.[31][32]

In 2013, Liu was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[33]

Career as visual artist

Liu had previously presented her artwork under a pseudonym, Yu Ling (which is her Chinese name).[3][34] Liu, who is an artist in several media, has had several gallery shows showcasing her collage, paintings, and photography.[35] She began doing collage mixed media when she was 16 years old, and became a photographer and painter.[36] Liu attended the New York Studio School for drawing, painting, and sculpture from 2004 to 2006.[22]

In September 2006, Liu held an art show and donated her share of the profits to UNICEF.[36][37] She also had another show in 2008 in Munich. Her painting "Escape" was incorporated into Montblanc's Cutting Edge Art Collection and was shown during Art Basel Miami 2008, which showed works by contemporary American artists.[38] Liu has stated that she donated her share of the profits from the NYC Milk Gallery gallery show to UNICEF.[39] In London, portion of the proceeds from her book Seventy Two went to UNICEF.[40]


In 2001 Liu was the spokeswoman for the Lee National Denim Day fundraiser, which raises money for breast cancer research and education.[41] In 2004 Liu was appointed an ambassador for U.S. Fund for UNICEF.[40] She traveled to Pakistan and Lesotho, among several other countries.[18]

Early in 2006, Liu received an "Asian Excellence Award" for Visibility.[42] She also hosted an MTV documentary, Traffic, for the MTV EXIT campaign in 2007. In 2008, she produced and narrated the short film The Road to Traffik, about the Cambodian author and human rights advocate Somaly Mam. The film was directed by Kerry Girvin and co-produced by photographer Norman Jean Roy. This led to a partnership with producers on the documentary film Redlight.[43][44]

Liu is a supporter of marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and became a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign in 2011.[45] She has teamed up with Heinz to combat the widespread global health threat of iron deficiency anemia and vitamin and mineral malnutrition among infants and children in the developing world.[46]

Personal life

In 1991 Liu underwent surgery after a breast cancer scare. "The doctor sort of felt and said it was cancer and it needs to come out. I went into shell-shock. It was pretty traumatizing." The lump was removed just two days after the doctor's examination and was found to be benign.[47]

Liu has studied various religions, such as Jewish mysticism, Buddhism, and Taoism. She has stated, "I'm into all things spiritual—anything to do with meditation or charts or any of that stuff. I studied Chinese philosophy in school. There's something in the metaphysical that I find very fascinating."[14]

She has been a member of the Chinese-American organization Committee of 100 since 2004.[48]

Liu announced the birth of her son Rockwell Lloyd, who had been born via a gestational surrogate, on August 27, 2015.[49][50][51]


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Rhythm of Destiny Donna
1993 Protozoa Ari Short film
1995 Bang Hooker
1996 Jerry Maguire Former girlfriend
1997 Gridlock'd Cee-Cee
1997 City of Industry Cathi Rose
1997 Riot Boomer's girlfriend Television film (segment "Empty")
1997 Flypaper Dot
1997 Guy Woman at newsstand
1998 Love Kills Kashi
1999 Payback Pearl
1999 True Crime Toy shop girl
1999 Molly Brenda
1999 Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human, TheThe Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human The Female's Friend (Lydia)
1999 Play It to the Bone Lia
2000 Shanghai Noon Princess Pei Pei Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actress – Action
2000 Charlie's Angels Alex Munday Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Action Team
MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Dressed
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2001 Hotel Kawika
2002 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever Agent Sever
2002 Cypher Rita Foster
2002 Chicago Kitty Baxter Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated—Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Hissy Fit
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Alex Munday Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Dance Sequence
2003 Kill Bill: Volume 1 O-Ren Ishii MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress
2004 Kill Bill: Volume 2 O-Ren Ishii
2004 Mulan II Mei Voice; direct-to-video
2005 3 Needles Jin Ping
2005 Domino Taryn Mills
2006 Lucky Number Slevin Lindsey
2006 Freedom's Fury Executive producer
2007 Code Name: The Cleaner Gina Also executive producer
2007 Rise: Blood Hunter Sadie Blake
2007 Watching the Detectives Violet
2008 Year of Getting to Know Us, TheThe Year of Getting to Know Us Anne
2008 Kung Fu Panda Master Viper Voice
2008 Tinker Bell Silvermist Voice; direct-to-video
2008 Little Spirit: Christmas in New York Leo's Mom Voice; television film
2009 Afro Samurai: Resurrection Sio Voice; television film
2009 Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Silvermist Voice; direct-to-video
2009 Redlight Herself Narrator and producer
2010 Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Silvermist Voice; direct-to-video
2010 Nomads Susan
2011 Detachment Dr. Doris Parker
2011 Trouble with Bliss, TheThe Trouble with Bliss Andrea
2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 Master Viper Voice
2011 Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Hilda Temple
2011 Pixie Hollow Games Silvermist Voice; television film
2012 Secret of the Wings Silvermist Voice; direct-to-video
2012 Man with the Iron Fists, TheThe Man with the Iron Fists Madame Blossom
2012 Meena Director[52]
2013 Pixie Hollow Bake Off Slivermist Voice; television film
2014 Pirate Fairy, TheThe Pirate Fairy Silvermist Voice; direct-to-video
2014 Magic Wonderland Princess Ocean Voice; English version
2014 The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Lady Sagami Voice; English version
2014 Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Silvermist Voice; direct-to-video
2016 Kung Fu Panda 3 Master Viper Voice; filming
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Beverly Hills, 90210 Courtney Episode: "Pass, Not Pass"
1993 L.A. Law Mai Lin Episode: "Foreign Co-Respondent"
1994 Hotel Malibu Co-worker Episode: "Do Not Disturb"
1994 Coach Nicole Wong 2 episodes
1995 Home Improvement Woman #3 Episode: "Bachelor of the Year"
1995 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Oi-Lan Episode: "The March to Freedom"
1995 ER Mei-Sun Leow 3 episodes
1996 Nash Bridges Joy Powell Episode: "Genesis"
1996 X-Files, TheThe X-Files Kim Hsin Episode: "Hell Money"
1996 High Incident Officer Whin 2 episodes
1996–1997 Pearl Amy Li Main cast; 22 episodes
1997 Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, TheThe Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Melana Voice; 2 episodes
1997 NYPD Blue Amy Chu Episode: "A Wrenching Experience"
1997 Dellaventura Yuling Chong Episode: "Pilot"
1997 Michael Hayes Alice Woo Episode: "Slaves"
1998–2002 Ally McBeal Ling Woo Main cast (seasons 2–5); 72 episodes
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
2000 MADtv Herself Season 6, episode 6
2000 Saturday Night Live Herself Episode: "Lucy Liu/Jay-Z"
2001–2002 Futurama Herself Voice; 2 episodes
2001 Sex and the City Herself Episode: "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda"
2002 King of the Hill Tid Pao Souphanousinphone Voice; episode: "Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Whatcha Gonna Do"
2004 Jackie Chan Adventures Adult Jade Chan Voice; episode: "J2: Rise of the Dragons"
2004 Game Over Raquel Smashenburn Voice; 6 episodes
2004–2007 Maya & Miguel Maggie Lee Voice
2004–2005 Joey Lauren Beck 3 episodes
2005 Clifford's Puppy Days Teacup, Mrs. Glen Voice; episode: "Adopt-a-Pup/Jokes on You"
2005 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Madam Wu Voice; episode: "Goo Goo Gai Pan"
2007 Ugly Betty Grace Chin 2 episodes
2008 Cashmere Mafia Mia Mason Main cast; 7 episodes
2008 Ben & Izzy Yasmine Voice
2008–2009 Dirty Sexy Money Nola Lyons Main cast (season 2); 13 episodes
2010 Ni Hao, Kai-Lan Bear Queen Voice; episode: "Princess Kai-Lan"
2010 Kung Fu Panda Holiday Master Viper Voice; television special
2010 Marry Me Rae Carter Miniseries; 2 episodes
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special[53]
2011–present Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Master Viper Voice
2012 Southland Jessica Tang 10 episodes
Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series[54]
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series[55]
2012–present Elementary Joan Watson Main cast
Director of the episodes "Paint It Black" and "The Female of the Species"[56]
Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress: Action
Seoul International Drama Award for Best Actress
New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award – Best Actress
Nominated—Prism Award – Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode
2015-present Galaxy Wolrd of Alisa Producer American English dub
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
2001 SSX Tricky Elise Riggs Voice
2003 Charlie's Angels Alex Munday Voice
2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 Master Viper Voice
2012 Sleeping Dogs Vivienne Lu Voice, Songs "Yellow Fever" and "Fly"

Art exhibitions

Year Title Location Notes
1993 Unraveling As Liu Yu-ling, Cast Iron Gallery, SoHo, New York, US[57] Collection of multimedia art pieces, photographs
1995 Catapult As Yu Ling, Purple Gallery, Los Angeles, US [58] Collage mixed media exhibition
2006 Antenna Emotion Picture Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada[59] Incorporating paint and drawing into photographs. Seven pieces of which two new. March 5 to June 30
2006 Glass Onion As Yu Ling, Milk Gallery, New York City, US Paintings. Duration 2 days. Benefits for UNICEF
2007 Art Basel Miami, Casa Tua in South Beach Miami, US as part of Montblanc's Cutting Edge Art Collection[60] Painting Escape, a black and white abstraction
2008 je suis. envois-moi As Yu Ling, Six Friedrich Lisa Ungar, Munich, Germany[61][62][63] Six oil paintings, four prints and ten sculptures. Revenue was donated to UNICEF. May 8 to 31
2010 As Yu Ling, Painting included in the Bloomsbury Auctions 20th Century Art and Editions sale in New York, US[64] Painting
2011 Seventy Two Salon Vert, London, UK[65] Personal canvases - hand-stitched and stuck with funny little found objects, pieces of rubbish
2013 Totem The Popular Institute gallery, Manchester, UK[66] Series of work on linen, explores the fragility of the human form

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ InStyle Magazine, May 2012, page 108
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Lucy Liu – Biography". Yahoo! Movies.
  7. ^ "Lucy Liu – Biography". NNDB.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Lucy Liu- Biography". Yahoo! Movies.
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^ a b Estrin, Eric. Q+LA Lucy Liu, LA Times Magazine, March 2012. Accessed November 8, 2013.
  15. ^
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  17. ^
  18. ^ a b c d e
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Lucy Liu Talks Dirty". AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  26. ^ "Lucy Liu set for Broadway’s 'God of Carnage'". USA Today. January 27, 2010.
  27. ^
  28. ^ "LAPD Angel: Lucy Liu sheds her glamour girl image for the gritty police series Southland". Daily Mail. January 2012.
  29. ^ “'Southland' Star Lucy Liu Talks Upcoming Partner Tensions, Whether She'll Return Next Season And More” Huffington Post. February 27, 2012.
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ “Actress Lucy Liu performs (well, narrates) with UK group The Bullitts: Watch here.”. Music Mix. August 4, 2011.
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ a b Live with Regis and Kelly. First aired on January 21, 2008.
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^ a b
  41. ^ Frontline Newsletter. Fall 2001. "Actress Lucy Liu (Ling Woo—TV's Ally McBeal), served as spokeswoman for the 2001 Lee National Denim Day®, the world's largest single-day fundraiser for breast cancer. The one-day event was not just about raising funds, though—it was also about raising awareness."
  42. ^ “Lucy Liu Charity Work, Events and Causes”.
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^ Liu profile,; accessed October 20, 2014.
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^ Profile,; accessed October 20, 2014.
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^
  52. ^ Lucy Liu understands an actor's psychology: Tannishtha. Times of India. Retrieved on 2012-08-30.
  53. ^ CBS Website. CBS
  54. ^
  55. ^ NAACP Website. CBS
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^

External links

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