Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

Birth name: Lucy Liu
Born: December 2, 1968
Age: 53
Birthplace: Queens, New York City, U.S.
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Lucy Liu (born December 2, 1968) is an American actress, voice actress, director and artist who 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. Liu's film work includes starring as one of the heroines (Alex Munday) in Charlie's Angels (2000), portraying O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill (2003) and starring roles in the main casts of Payback (as Pearl; 1999) and Chicago (as Kitty Baxter; 2002), and the animated film series Kung Fu Panda (2008-present) portraying the character Master Viper.

In 2008, she starred in an ABC comedy-drama, Cashmere Mafia, as Mia Mason, which ended after one abbreviated season. The show was one of only a few American television shows to have an Asian American series lead. 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. She is currently co-starring in the Sherlock Holmes-inspired crime drama series Elementary as Joan Watson for which she won the Seoul International Drama Award for Best Actress and voicing Silvermist in Disney's Tinker Bell film series.

Lucy Liu was born on December 2, 1968, in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City, New York. In high school, she adopted a middle name, Alexis.[3] 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.[4][5] Liu's parents originally came from Beijing and Shanghai and immigrated to Taiwan as adults before meeting in New York.[4][6][7][8] She has an older brother, Alex,[9][10][11][12] and an older sister, Jenny.[13] Her parents worked many jobs while Lucy and her siblings were growing up.[14]

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.[15] She studied the martial art kali-eskrima-silat as a hobby when she was young.[16] 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.[17]


Acting career


Liu was discovered by an agent at the age of 21 while traveling on the subway. She did one commercial.[18] As a member of the Basement Arts student-run theater group,[19] 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,[20] 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."[21] In May 1992, Liu made her New York stage debut in Fairy Bones, directed by Tina Chen.[22]

Liu at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival

Liu had small roles in films and TV, marking her debut. In 1993, she appeared in an episode of L.A. Law as a Chinese widow giving her evidence in Mandarin.[23] She was cast in both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys in "The March to Freedom" and The X-Files in "Hell Money", In 1996, Liu landed her first role in the main cast of a television series, that of Amy Li in Pearl alongside Rhea Perlman and Malcolm McDowell.

Shortly after the end of Pearl's run in 1997, Liu was cast in 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[24] 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.[20] 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 US$125 million in the United States. Charlie's Angels earned a worldwide total of more than US$264 million. The sequel, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, opened in June 2003 and also did well at the box office, earning US$100 million in the U.S. and a worldwide total of more than US$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.[25]


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[15] (for which she was ranked number 41 on "Top 50 Sexiest Vampires");[26] 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.[20] Liu guest-starred as lawyer Grace Chin on Ugly Betty in the 2007 episodes "Derailed" and "Icing on the Cake."

In 2007 Empire named Liu number 96 of their "100 Sexiest Movie Stars."[27] 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).[28] Liu voiced Silvermist in Disney Fairies and Viper in Kung Fu Panda.[20]

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.[29]

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.[30] She has gained praise for her role as Watson, including 3 consecutive nominations for the People's Choice Awards for Favorite TV Crime Drama Actress.

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.[31][32] She received the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Drama Guest Actress for this role.[33]

In August 2011, Liu became a narrator for the musical group The Bullitts.[34][35]

In 2013, Liu was invited to become a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[36]

Liu was named Harvard's 2016 Artist of the Year. She was awarded the Harvard Foundation’s arts medal at the annual Harvard Foundation Award ceremony, during the Cultural Rhythms Festival in Sanders Theatre.

She is also part of the cast in the post-apocalyptic thriller Future World, directed by James Franco and Bruce Thierry Cheung.[37]

Directing career

Lucy Liu kicked off her directing career in 2015. The movie, titled Meena, was based on a true story, about an eight-year-old Indian girl who is sold to a brothel. The movie was screened in New York City in 2014.[38]

Lucy Liu's other directorial credits include 4 episodes of Elementary, an episode of Graceland[39] and the second-season premiere of Luke Cage.[40]

Career as visual artist

Liu had previously presented her artwork under a pseudonym, Yu Ling (which is her Chinese name).[4][41] Liu, who is an artist in several media, has had several gallery shows showcasing her collage, paintings, and photography.[42] She began doing collage mixed media when she was 16 years old, and became a photographer and painter.[43] Liu attended the New York Studio School for drawing, painting, and sculpture from 2004 to 2006.[44]

In September 2006, Liu held an art show and donated her share of the profits to UNICEF.[43][45] 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.[46] Liu has stated that she donated her share of the profits from the NYC Milk Gallery gallery show to UNICEF.[47] In London, a portion of the proceeds from her book Seventy Two went to UNICEF.[48]


In 2001, Liu was the spokeswoman for the Lee National Denim Day fundraiser, which raises money for breast cancer research and education.[49] In 2004 Liu was appointed an ambassador for U.S. Fund for UNICEF.[48] She traveled to Pakistan and Lesotho, among several other countries.[20]

Early in 2006, Liu received an "Asian Excellence Award" for Visibility.[50] 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.[51][52]

Liu is a supporter of marriage equality for gays and lesbians, and became a spokeswoman for the Human Rights Campaign in 2011.[53] 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.[54]

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.[55]

Liu has studied various religions, such as Buddhism, Taoism and Jewish mysticism. She has stated, "I'm into all things spiritual—anything to do with meditation or chants or any of that stuff. I studied Chinese philosophy in school. There's something in the metaphysical that I find very fascinating."[16]

She has been a member of the Chinese-American organization Committee of 100 since 2004.[56]

Liu is a single parent by choice. She has a son, Rockwell Lloyd Liu, who was born in 2015 via gestational surrogate and is biologically related to Liu.[57][58][59]

Commenting on choosing the method, she states that it is the right option for her as she was busy working at the time.[60] Since the birth of her son, Liu has been heavily involved in celebrating diversity in modern families. One major campaign she was involved in was the Tylenol's #HowWeFamily Mother's Day Campaign.[61]


As actress

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 Flypaper Dot
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 The Female's Friend (Lydia)
1999 Play It to the Bone Lia
2000 Shanghai Noon Princess Pei Pei
2000 Charlie's Angels Alex Munday
2001 Hotel Kawika
2002 Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever Agent Sever
2002 Cypher Rita Foster
2002 Chicago Kitty Baxter
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Alex Munday
2003 Kill Bill: Volume 1 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
2007 Code Name: The Cleaner Gina Also executive producer
2007 Rise: Blood Hunter Sadie Blake
2007 Watching the Detectives Violet
2008 The Year of Getting to Know Us Anne
2008 Kung Fu Panda Master Viper (voice) English and Mandarin version
2008 Tinker Bell Silvermist (voice)
2009 Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Silvermist (voice)
2009 Redlight Herself/Narrator Also producer
2010 Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue Silvermist (voice)
2010 Nomads Susan
2010 Kung Fu Panda Holiday Master Viper (voice)
2011 Detachment Dr. Doris Parker
2011 The Trouble with Bliss Andrea
2011 Kung Fu Panda 2 Master Viper (voice) English and Mandarin version
2011 Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Hilda Temple
2012 Secret of the Wings Silvermist (voice)
2012 The Man with the Iron Fists Madame Blossom
2014 The Pirate Fairy Silvermist (voice)
2014 Magic Wonderland Princess Ocean (voice) English and Mandarin version
2014 The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Lady Sagami (voice)
2014 Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast Silvermist (voice)
2016 Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll Master Viper (voice) Short film
Kung Fu Panda 3 English and Mandarin version
2018 Future World The Queen
2018 Set It Up Kirsten Stevens
2018 Sherlock Gnomes Special thanks
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 The X-Files Kim Hsin Episode: "Hell Money"
1996 High Incident Officer Whin 2 episodes
1996-97 Pearl Amy Li Main cast; 22 episodes
1997 The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest Melana (voice) 2 episodes
1997 NYPD Blue Amy Chu Episode: "A Wrenching Experience"
1997 Riot Boomer's girlfriend Television film (segment "Empty")
1997 Dellaventura Yuling Chong Episode: "Pilot"
1997 Michael Hayes Alice Woo Episode: "Slaves"
1998-02 Ally McBeal Ling Woo Main cast (seasons 2-5); 72 episodes
2000 MADtv Herself Season 6, episode 6
2000 Saturday Night Live Herself Episode: "Lucy Liu/Jay-Z"
2001-02 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
2004-07 Maya & Miguel Maggie Lee (voice)
2004-05 Joey Lauren Beck 3 episodes
2005 Clifford's Puppy Days Teacup, Mrs. Glen (Voices) Episode: "Adopt-a-Pup/Jokes on You"
2005 The 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)
2008-09 Dirty Sexy Money Nola Lyons Main cast (season 2); 13 episodes
2008 Little Spirit: Christmas in New York Leo's mom (voice) Television film
2009 Afro Samurai: Resurrection Sio (voice) Television film
2010 Kung Fu Panda Holiday Master Viper (voice) Television special
2010 Marry Me Rae Carter Miniseries; 2 episodes
2011 Pixie Hollow Games Silvermist (voice) Television special
2011-16 Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness Master Viper (voice)
2012 Southland Jessica Tang 10 episodes
2012-present Elementary Joan Watson Main cast
2013 Pixie Hollow Bake Off Silvermist (voice) Television short film
2016 Girls Detective Mosedale Episode: "Japan"
2017 Difficult People Veronica Ford 4 episodes
2017 Michael Jackson's Halloween Conformity Voice role, TV special
Video games
Year Title Role Notes
2001 SSX Tricky Elise Riggs Voice
2003 Charlie's Angels Alex Munday Voice
2012 Sleeping Dogs Vivienne Lu Voice

As director

Year Title Notes
2011 Meena Short film
2014-17 Elementary 4 episodes
2015 Graceland Episode: "Master of Weak Ties"
2018 Luke Cage Episode: "Soul Brother #1"

Art exhibitions

Year Title Location Notes
1993 Unraveling As Liu Yu-ling, Cast Iron Gallery, SoHo, New York, US[62] Collection of multimedia art pieces, photographs
1995 Catapult As Yu Ling, Purple Gallery, Los Angeles, US [63] Collage mixed media exhibition
2006 Antenna Emotion Picture Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada[64] Incorporating paint and drawing into photographs. Seven pieces of which two new. March 5 to June 30
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[65] Painting Escape, a black and white abstraction
2008 je suis. envois-moi As Yu Ling, Six Friedrich Lisa Ungar, Munich, Germany[66][67][68] 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[69] Painting
2011 Seventy Two Salon Vert, London, UK[70] Personal canvases - hand-stitched and stuck with funny little found objects, pieces of rubbish
2013 Totem The Popular Institute gallery, Manchester, UK[71] Series of work on linen, explores the fragility of the human form

Awards and nominations

Year Award[citation needed] Category Nominated work Result
1997 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Ally McBeal
1998 Won
1999 Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series Nominated
2000 Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Award Favorite Supporting Actress - Action
Shanghai Noon
2001 Favorite Team
Charlie's Angels
MTV Movie Award Best On-Screen Duo Won
Best Dressed Nominated
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2003 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Cast
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Cast Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Won
Teen Choice Award Choice Hissy Fit Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Dance Sequence
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
2004 Best Villain
Kill Bill: Volume 1
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2011 NAACP Image Award Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Marry Me
2012 New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award Best Actress
2013 Prism Awards Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Nominated
Seoul International Drama Awards Best Actress Won
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Actress: Action Won
Critics' Choice Television Award Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2015 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Crime Drama Actress
2016 Nominated
2017 Nominated

Lucy Liu supports the following charitable causes: LGBTQ Rights, Rape/Sexual Abuse, Heart Disease, Heart Disease, Cancer, Breast Cancer.

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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