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Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego
Born Lucy Liu
December 2, 1968 (age 43)
Queens, New York, United States
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation Actress, producer, narrator
Years active 1989–present
Lucy Alexis Liu (born December 2, 1968) is an American actress, narrator, and film producer. She became known for playing the role of the vicious and ill-mannered Ling Woo in the television series Ally McBeal (1998–2002), and has also appeared in several Hollywood films including Payback, Charlie's Angels, Chicago, Kill Bill, and Kung Fu Panda. In 2012 Liu joined the cast of the TNT original series Southland.

Personal life

Liu as a high school senior in 1986.
Liu was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. In high school, she adopted her middle name "Alexis".[1] She is the youngest of three children born to Cecilia, who worked as a biochemist, and Tom Liu, who was trained as a civil engineer but sold digital clock pens.[2][3] Her parents worked many jobs when Lucy and her siblings were growing up, morning, noon, and night trying to make ends meet.[4] Both of Liu's parents were immigrants from Taiwan and are of Chinese descent.[5][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 Chinese at home and began studying English when she was 5 years old.[13]
Liu attended Joseph Pulitzer Middle School (I.S.145). She graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1986.[14] She enrolled at New York University and transferred to the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. Liu earned a bachelor's degree in Asian languages and cultures. In Michigan, Liu worked as a waitress.[15]
In 2004 Liu was engaged to Zach Helm, whom she had met the year before. She called off the engagement at year's end. In 2005 Liu was dating Will McCormack.[16] She began a relationship with Noam Gottesman in 2010.[17][18]



In 1989 Liu auditioned 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,[19] Liu was cast in the lead role. She told The New York Times in 1990 while queuing up to audition for the musical Miss Saigon: "There aren't many Asian roles, and it's very difficult to get your foot in the door".[20] In May 1992, Liu made her New York stage debut in Fairy Bones, directed by Tina Chen.[21]
Liu had small roles in films and TV, marking her debut. She was cast in 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 an Emmy[22] nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.[19] 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 Charlie's Angels film with Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. The film opened in November 2000 and was a hit, earning 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 was also ranked highly, earning more than $100 million in the U.S. and a worldwide total of more than $259 million. In contrast, Liu 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. Liu starred as lawyer Grace Chin on Ugly Betty in the episodes "Derailed" and "Icing on the Cake." In a 2001 episode of Sex and the City entitled "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" she guest starred as herself, playing a new client of character Samantha Jones who does public relations. She starred in the Sex and the City-inspired TV show, Cashmere Mafia on ABC. Liu also made a cameo appearance on the animated shows Futurama (as herself and/or robot duplicates thereof in the episodes "I Dated a Robot" and "Love and Rocket") and The Simpsons (on the season 16 episode "Goo Goo Gai Pan").
In 2002 Liu played Rita Foster in Vincenzo Natali's Brainstorm (aka 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.[23]


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"),[24] 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.[19]
In 2007 Empire named Liu number 96 of their "100 Sexiest Movie Stars."[25] The producers of Dirty Sexy Money created a role for Liu as a series regular. Liu played Nola Lyons, a powerful attorney who faced Nick George (Peter Krause).[26] Liu voiced Silvermist in Disney Fairies and Viper in Kung Fu Panda.[19]
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.[27] In March 2012, she was cast as Joan Watson for Elementary. Elementary is an American Sherlock Holmes adaption, and the role Liu was offered is traditionally played by men.[28] 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.[29][30] She received the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Guest Actress for this role[31].
In August 2011, Liu became a narrator for the musical group The Bullitts.[32][33]


Liu speaking at the USAID Human Trafficking Symposium in September 2009.
Liu, who is an artist in several media, has had three gallery shows showcasing her collage, paintings, and photography.[34] She began doing collage mixed media when she was 16 years old, and became a photographer and painter.[35] In September 2006, Liu held an art show and donated her share of the profits to UNICEF.[35][36] She also had another show in 2008 in Munich. Liu has stated that she donated her share of the profits to UNICEF.[35]
In 2001 Liu was the spokesman for the Lee National Denim Day fundraiser, which raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research and education.[37] In 2005 Liu was appointed an ambassador for U.S. Fund for UNICEF. She traveled to Pakistan and Lesotho, among several other countries.[19] She also hosted an MTV documentary, Traffic, for the MTV EXIT campaign in 2007. Liu produced Traffic to raise awareness of human trafficking in Asia.[38][39] Early in 2006, Liu received an "Asian Excellence Award" for Visibility.[40] Liu is a supporter of marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and she became a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign in 2011.[41]. 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[42].


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Rhythm of Destiny Donna Released only in Hong Kong
1993 Protozoa Ari
1995 Bang Hooker
1996 Jerry Maguire Former Girlfriend
1997 Flypaper Dot
1997 Riot Boomer's (Luke Perry) Girlfriend
1997 Gridlock'd Cee-Cee
1997 City of Industry Cathi Rose
1997 Guy Woman at newsstand
1998 Love Kills Kashi
1999 Payback Pearl
1999 True Crime Toy Shop Girl
1999 Molly Brenda
1999 The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human 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 Kawikar
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 Mulan II Mei (voice)
2004 Kill Bill Volume 2 O-Ren Ishi[43]
2005 3 Needles Jin Ping, the Blood Smuggler
2005 Domino Taryn Mills
2006 Lucky Number Slevin Lindsey
2007 Code Name: The Cleaner Gina Also executive producer
2007 Rise: Blood Hunter Sadie Blake
2007 Watching the Detectives Violet
2008 Kung Fu Panda Master Viper (voice)
2008 The Year of Getting to Know Us Anne
2008 Tinker Bell Silvermist (voice)
2009 Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
2010 Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
2010 Nomads Susan
2011 Detachment Dr. Parker
2011 Tinker Bell and the Pixie Hollow Games Silvermist (voice)
2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 Viper (voice)
2011 Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Hilda Temple
2012 Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings Silvermist (voice)
2012 The Trouble with Bliss Andrea
2012 The Man with the Iron Fists Madame Blossom Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996–97 Pearl Amy Li
1998–2002 Ally McBeal Ling Woo Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – 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
2004 Game Over Raquel Smashenburn
2004–10 Maya and Miguel Maggie Lee Voice
2008 Ben & Izzy Yasmine Voice acted a major role in a non-American, children's production which was originally released in English.
2008 Cashmere Mafia Mia Mason
2008–09 Dirty Sexy Money Nola Lyons
2009 Afro Samurai Resurrection Sio
2010 Marry Me Rae Carter Lifetime movie
2011 Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Viper Voice
2012 Southland[44] Jessica Tang Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Guest Actress
2012 Elementary[45] Joan Watson CBS

Television guest appearances

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Beverly Hills 90210 Courtney "Pass/Not Pass" (Season 2, Episode 6)
1993 L.A. Law Mai Lin "Foreign Co-Respondent" (Season 8, Episode 4)
1994 Coach Nicole Wong (Season 7, Episode 2 & 11)
1994 Hotel Malibu Co-Worker "Do Not Disturb" (Season 1, Episode 2)
1995 Home Improvement Women #3 "Bachelor Of The Year" (Season 4, Episode 16)
1995 Hercules: The Legendary Journeys Oi-Lan "The March to Freedom" (Season 1, Episode 8)
1995 ER Mei-Sun Leow (Season 2, Episode 3, 4 & 5)
1996 Nash Bridges Joy Powell (Season 1, Episode 1)
1996 The X Files Kim Hsin (Season 3, Episode 19)
1996 High Incident Officer Whin (Season 1, Episode 6 & 7)
1997 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Melana (voice) (Season 2, Episode 19 & 24)
1997 Michael Hayes Alice Woo "Slaves" (Season 8, Episode 21)
1997 Dellaventura Yuling Chong "Pilot" (Season 1, Episode 2)
1997 NYPD Blue Amy Chu "A Wrenching Experience" (Season 4, Episode 17)
2000 MADtv Herself (Season 6, Episode 6)
2000 Saturday Night Live Herself – Host (Season 26, Episode 9)
2001 Sex and the City Herself "Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda" (Season 4, Episode 11)
2002 King of the Hill Tid-Pao (voice) "Bad Girls, Bad Girls Whatcha Gonna Do" (Season 7, Episode 3)
2001–02 Futurama Herself (voice) (Season 3, Episode 15 & Season 4, Episode 4)
2004 Jackie Chan Adventures Adult Jade (voice) (Season 4, Episode 11)
2004–05 Joey Lauren Beck (Season 1, Episode 12, 13 & 14)
2005 The Simpsons Madam Wu (voice) "Goo Goo Gai Pan" (Season 16, Episode 12)
2005 Clifford's Puppy Days Teacup & Mrs. Glen (voice) "Adopt-A-Pup / Jokes on You" (Season 1, Episode 23)
2007 Ugly Betty Grace Chin "Derailed" (Season 1, Episode 16)
"Icing on the Cake" (Season 1, Episode 17)
2010 Ni Hao, Kai-Lan Bear Queen (voice) "Princess Kai-lan" (Season 2, Episode 19)


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Freedom's Fury Co-executive producer Documentary
2007 Code Name: The Cleaner Co-executive producer

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2001 SSX Tricky Elise Riggs
2012 Sleeping Dogs Vivienne Lu


  1. ^ InStyle Magazine, May 2012, page 108
  2. ^ "Lucy Liu Biography (1968–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  3. ^ "Fragments of Lucy Liu". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  4. ^ "BRUSH WITH FAME: LUCY LIU". Retrieved 23 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Lucy Liu Biography". People.
  6. ^ "Lucy Liu". NNDB.
  7. ^ "Young Filmmaker—Lucy Liu" June 2008, American Government web site
  8. ^ Rose, Tiffany (2003-06-29). "Lucy Liu: The Q interview – Features, Films". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  9. ^ "The Asian Faces of Hollywood " MTVAsia.com Blog". Blog.mtvasia.com. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  10. ^ "Lucy Liu – an agent of change". London: Independent.co.uk. 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  11. ^ Talmadge, Eric (2008-07-15). "Liu says ‘Kung Fu Panda’ is an improv adventure". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  12. ^ "Lucy Liu- Biography". Yahoo! Movies.
  13. ^ a b Radish, Christina (2006-12-06). "Lucy Liu and Shawn Ashmore Talk about "3 Needles"". MediaBlvd Magazine. Retrieved 2006-12-21.
  14. ^ Ogunnaike, Lola (2003-10-13). "The Perks and Pitfalls Of a Ruthless-Killer Role; Lucy Liu Boosts the Body Count in New Film". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  15. ^ "ABOUT U-M". University of Michigan.
  16. ^ "Lucy Liu Biography". People.
  17. ^ "Noam Gottesman". Forbes.
  18. ^ "Why there are no more billionaire bachelors: Almost all the world's most wealthy men are attached (and only 33 are under 50)". Daily Mail. April 8, 2011.
  19. ^ a b c d e Roberts, Sheila (2006-12-21). "Lucy Liu Interview, CodeName The Cleaner". Movies Online. Archived from the original on 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2006-12-21.
  20. ^ "Scores of Actors Flock to Tryouts For Ethnic Roles in 'Miss Saigon'". Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Outwitting a Variety of Demons". Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  22. ^ Lucy Liu Emmy Award Winner
  23. ^ "Liu Shocked by Ridiculous Chinese AIDS 'Cures'". Contact Music. 2006-11-29. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  24. ^ "Latest Men's Lifestyle Stories". UGO.com. Retrieved 2010-05-21.
  25. ^ "EimpireOnline.com EmpireOnline.com, 100 Sexiest Movie Stars". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  26. ^ "Lucy Liu Talks Dirty". AsianWeek. Retrieved on 2008-09-08.
  27. ^ "Lucy Liu set for Broadway's 'God of Carnage'". USA Today. January 27, 2010.
  28. ^ Gonzalez, Sandra (February 27, 2012). "Lucy Liu cast as Watson in Sherlock Holmes–based pilot". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 9, 2012.
  29. ^ "LAPD Angel: Lucy Liu sheds her glamour girl image for the gritty police series Southland". Daily Mail. January 2012.
  30. ^ "'Southland' Star Lucy Liu Talks Upcoming Partner Tensions, Whether She'll Return Next Season And More". Huffington Post. February 27, 2012.
  31. ^ "Lucy wins "Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series"". The Hollywood reporter. Retrieved 22-07-2012.
  32. ^ "About The Bullitts".
  33. ^ "Actress Lucy Liu performs (well, narrates) with UK group The Bullitts: Watch here". Music Mix. August 4, 2011.
  34. ^ Tucker, Reed (2006-05-01). "Painting By Numbers With Lucy Liu". Esquire. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
  35. ^ a b c Live with Regis and Kelly. First aired on January 21, 2008.
  36. ^ "Auction of Lucy Liu’s Artwork Raises More Than $330,000, October 17, 2006.". Mcmurry.com. Retrieved 2010-03-08.
  37. ^ Frontline Newsletter. Fall 2001. "Actress Lucy Liu (Ling Woo—TV’s Ally McBeal), served as spokesman 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."
  38. ^ "Lucy Liu Presents MTV Human Trafficking Documentary". humantrafficking.org. November 28, 2007.
  39. ^ Lucy Liu (2007-11-26). Traffic: An MTV EXIT Special presented by Lucy Liu—Part 1. Hulu. Event occurs at 1:11. Retrieved 2012-7-18. "MTV EXIT Documentary presented by Lucy Liu to raise awareness of human trafficking. Log on to www.mtvexit.org for more information. This program is produced rights-free and can be used by any broadcaster, website, organisation, or individual."
  40. ^ "Lucy Liu Charity Work, Events and Causes". looktothestars.org.
  41. ^ [1] Lucy Liu at HRC.com
  42. ^ "Heinz Micronutrient Campaign". Heinz Company. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  43. ^ Kill Bill V2 at IMdb
  44. ^ Southland scores Lucy Liu for Season 4
  45. ^ Jonny Lee Miller & Lucy Liu Explain Their Elementary Take On Sherlock Holmes! News. Yahoo. 2012-05-16. Retrieved on 2012-06-19.

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