Lucy was born in New York City, and was raised with her older brother, Alex
Liu, and older sister, Jenny Liu, in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York by
Chinese immigrant parents. Lucy has said that she grew up in a "diverse"
neighborhood; her family spoke Chinese at home and she did not learn English
until she was five years old. Lucy Liu's father worked as a civil engineer
and her mother as a biochemist in China, but they sacrificed to come to the
United States. Liu, at her parents' insistence, devoted her spare time to
studying, and she attended New York City's famous Stuyvesant High School. Lucy
Liu attended New York University for one year, before transferring to University
of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she joined the Chi Omega sorority and graduated
with a Bachelor of Science degree in Asian Languages and Cultures. At one
point, Lucy worked as a waitress in Michigan.
Lucy began acting in 1989, after auditioning for a role in the University of Michigan's production of Alice in Wonderland during her senior year. Liu was cast in the lead role, although she had originally only tried out for a supporting part. Lucy had small roles in films and TV (including the X-Files) 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. Lucy's part on the series was originally not meant to be regular but the enthusiastic audience response to the actress' 'feisty' Ling Woo secured Liu as a permanent cast member. It also earned her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series.
Lucy became better known with her turn as Alex in the Charlie's Angels movie, alongside established Hollywood stars Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. The film became a hit, earning more than $125 million in the U.S., and a worldwide total of more than $258 million. The sequel, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, opened to poor reviews but was a box-office hit again, earning more than $252 million. In between the two films, Liu starred with Antonio Banderas in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, a critical and box-office failure.
Lucy with Cameron Diaz and Drew Barrymore in Charlie's AngelsLiu next played O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth), one of the major villains in Quentin Tarantino's 2003 film, Kill Bill. Lucy Liu won an MTV Movie Award for "Best Movie Villain" for the part. Subsequently, Lucy appeared on several episodes of Joey with Matt LeBlanc, who played her love interest in the Charlie's Angels movies. She also had smaller roles as Kitty Baxter in the smash hit Chicago, and as a psychologist opposite Keira Knightley in the thriller Domino. In 2006, she played leading lady and love interest to Josh Hartnett in the popular crime thriller Lucky Number Slevin. Other appearances include a cameo on the animated show Futurama and recently, The Simpsons.
In April 2006, the documentary Freedom's Fury premiered, with Lucy as executive producer. The film dramatizes the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, climaxing with the infamous water polo showdown between Hungary and the Soviet Union at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, known as the 'Blood In The Water match'.
Lucy's most recent role is in the drama film 3 Needles, which was released on December 1, 2006. In the film, she plays Jin Ping, an HIV-positive Chinese woman. Liu agreed to star in the film for lower than usual pay because she wanted to spread awareness about the way AIDS is improperly treated in China and Thailand. Lucy's upcoming roles include Code Name: The Cleaner, an action comedy scheduled for a January 5, 2007 release, Rise, a supernatural thriller co-starring Michael Chiklis in which Liu plays an undead reporter, Watching the Detectives, an independent romantic comedy co-starring Cillian Murphy, and Kung Fu Panda, an animated film scheduled for 2008 in which she will voice a snake. Liu has also signed on to star in Beautiful Asian Brides and a new version of Charlie Chan which has been in pre-production since 2000; she will produce both films.
In 2004, Lucy announced her engagement to New York playwright Zach Helm. Their relationship ended in 2005.
In a Jane interview, she indicated that she was bis--ual, saying, "I think people sometimes get the wrong impression when they're like, 'Oh, well, so-and-so was straight and then she was gay, and now she's straight again,' you know? But it's like, how many times do I have to kiss a woman before I'm gay? Everybody wants to label people. Sometimes you just fall in love with somebody, and you're really not thinking about what gender or whatever they happen to be. I think that if I happen to fall in love with a woman, everyone's going to make a big deal out of it. But if I happen to fall in love with a man, nobody cares."
With Lucy Liu's parents' work ethic, Liu continued, "I'm always multitasking, doing 10 things at once". Lucy Liu is fluent in Chinese, and also speaks some Italian, Spanish and Japanese, a language she learned in preparation for her role in Kill Bill. Lucy Liu also rock climbs, practices martial arts, skiis, and plays the accordion. Liu is also an artist in several media, and has had three gallery shows showcasing her collage, paintings, and photography".
In 2001, Lucy was the spokesperson for the Lee National Denim Day fund-raiser which raises millions of dollars for breast cancer research and education. In 2005, Liu was appointed a U.S. Fund for UNICEF Ambassador; in that capacity, she has traveled to Pakistan and Lesotho, among other countries. Early in 2006, Liu received an "Asian Excellence Award" for Visibility, since she is considered the most well-known and visible Asian American in the media today. Lucy Liu is also the first (and only) Asian-American woman to host Saturday Night Live. Liu has said about her background, "when you grow up Asian-American it’s difficult because you don’t know if you’re Asian or you’re American. You get confused" and that "You need to recognize where your background is from. I think it’s important. Just for yourself. It makes you more whole. It does."
Lucy has a tattoo of a tiger on her lower back..
Film List for Lucy Liu
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