Xena, Warrior Princess: Whatever happened to actress Lucy Lawless?

She was Xena, Warrior Princess (by surprise)
They were going to kill Xena... after three episodes!
From supporting character to icon
Breaking taboos on TV
Feminist icon of the 90s
Early debut
Lucy, warrior for equal pay
Lysia changed her life
She married the creator of Xena
Non-stop working
Legendary Lucretia
Planet Xena
Problems with the authorities
Alexa Crowe
Fighting Hercules in real life
She was Xena, Warrior Princess (by surprise)

Two circumstances turned Lucy Lawless into a television and generational icon. The first was that Vanessa Angel, the actress who was to play 'Xena, Warrior Princess' in 1994, contracted a complicated illness right before the series would begin shooting. Producers quickly thought of an alternative: this imposing New Zealander of 1.78 metres (5'8 feet).

They were going to kill Xena... after three episodes!

The second circumstance involves Lucy Lawless already dressed as Xena and ready to film the three episodes of the series 'Hercules' in which she was to take part. Xena was supposed to die in the third chapter. However, Lucy Lawless' impact was so strong that Robert Tapert, one of the creators of the series, did all he could to give Xena her own series.

From supporting character to icon

Thus, more than 25 years later, we find ourselves talking about a historical TV character, an icon of the LGBTQ+ community and an actress who, to this day, continues to be a warrior princess for the rights of women.

Breaking taboos on TV

Lucy Lawless enjoyed the success of 'Xena, Warrior Princess' for 134 episodes and six seasons. Her chemistry with Gabrielle (Renée O'Connor) and an undisguised physical tension between them broke television taboos never before touched.

Feminist icon of the 90s

Xena was also a symbol of empowerment, to the point of being named a feminist icon of the 90s by 'Ms' magazine.

When Lucy Lawless first brought Xena to life, she was 26 years old. What had she done up to that point? And, more importantly, what has she done since?

Early debut

The New Zealand actress made her television debut at the age of 19 (1987) in the sitcom 'Funny Business', where she appeared for almost three seasons. Two years later, at the age of 21, Lucy Lawless was crowned Mrs. New Zealand. (She was 'Mrs.' because she was married to her high school sweetheart Garth Lawless.)

Lucy, warrior for equal pay

What not everyone may know, is that Lucy Lawless already made headlines for feminist activism before she starred in 'Xena.' In 1992, she resigned as a host of travel show 'Air New Zealand Holiday' after discovering that she was paid less than her partner. The spirit of Xena was already present inside the actress.

Lysia changed her life

As fate would have it, after leaving the show, her next job was to play Lysia, an Amazon in the TV Movie 'Hercules and the Amazon Women', which eventually brought her into contact with the producers of Xena.

She married the creator of Xena

While making the series 'Xena, Princess Warrior,' Lucy divorced Garth Lawless, with whom she had the daughter Daisy, in 1995. Four years later, she married Robert Tapert, the creator of Xena. He is her current husband and they have two children together: Julius and Judah.

Non-stop working

In 2001 Xena came to an end. However, Lucy Lawless did not stop working. She appeared in 'X-Files', 'Veronica Mars', 'Two and a Half Men', 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', 'Parks and Recreation', 'Ash vs Evil Dead' and 'Salem'.

Legendary Lucretia

Important roles came with 'Battlestar Galactica' and her performance of Lucretia in 'Spartacus'. In the latter, a series on Showtime, the actress did not mind appearing without clothes on numerous occasions.

"I am not Xena, I am Lucy Lawless"

Interestingly, one of Lucy Lawless' best-remembered appearances is her cartoon version in The Simpsons. It was in the 1999 Halloween special and she played herself. A historical cartoon scene shows her telling Bart and Lisa that Xena couldn't fly. Lucy Lawless was so cool herself, though, that she could. It shows the adoration viewers and TV makers had for the actress.

Planet Xena

In fact, when Mike Brown, a renowned astronomer, discovered a small planet in 2003, he named it Xena. It was renamed Eris by the relevant authorities in 2006, but Lawless' character had her own planet for three years.

Problems with the authorities

Despite this honour, Lucy Lawless has not been free from trouble with the law. It was in 2012 when, as a Greenpeace ambassador, she was on an oil tanker bound for the Arctic for more than three days. She was sentenced to pay a fine of 500 euros and 120 hours of community service.

Alexa Crowe

Lucy Lawless is currently starring in 'My Life is Murder'. The series follows the day-to-day life of Alexa Crowe, a reputable investigator who solves the most complicated crimes but is often overtaken by everyday things. At the end of 2020, the series was renewed for a second season, so there will be more Alexa Crowe for us to see.

Fighting Hercules in real life

That Lucy Lawless is still a warrior was clear after the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. After Kevin Sorbo ('Hercules') tweeted a defence of QAnon conspiracy theories, actress criticized him for it. It seems that the rivalry between Xena and Hercules is still very much alive, almost 30 years later. When will they meet again?

See also: Whatever happened to Jennifer Love Hewitt?

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