Lucy was born Lucille Frances Ryan on March 29, 1968, in Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand; she was the 5th of 7 children, of Frank (formerly the mayor of Mount Albert, is now the Chairman of Finance for Auckland City) and Julie Ryan (homemaker and an active volunteer in their community). Lucy enjoyed acting and appeared in many plays in high school. Later, she attended Auckland University and studied German, Italian and French for a year. She studied acting at the William Davis Center for Actors in Vancouver, Canada in 1991, under the direction of actor William Davis, also known as the Cigarette Smoking Man from the hit T.V. series The X-files.
Lucy was chosen Mrs. New Zealand in 1989. She did a really bad, cheesy commercial for travel which led to her first real acting job in a New Zealand comedy troupe show called Funny Business. Later, Lucy landed the job as co-host for Air New Zealand Holiday, a travel magazine. Lucy worked in numerous television and film productions. Finally, she got her breakout role of Lysia in Hercules and the Amazon Women (1994) (TV). Shortly thereafter, the producers needed someone to play Xena. Lucy, tall (5' 10-1/2), athletic, with brown hair and blue eyes, was perfect for the part. But there was a snag: at first, the producers (what do they know?) did not want Lucy for the part of Xena-- after all, she had played a different character already.
So, Lucy dyed her light hair a dark brown, making her look a bit different, and history was about to be made! Lucy, in her leather outfit and armed with her mighty Chakram, was thus cast in her signature roll of Xena in 3 episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (1995) - The Warrior Princess; The Gauntlet and The Unchained Heart - that would lead to her own spin-off series, Xena: Warrior Princess (1995).
Although Xena immediately got a huge fan following in America, ironically Xena was not being shown in her native New Zealand, so Lucy did not achieve her tremendous popularity in her homeland until a bit later. Lucy made her Broadway debut playing Betty Rizzo in Grease from September to October, 1997. She has since appeared on The X-Files, The Bernie Mac Show, Just Shoot Me and Spiderman. She has done extensive charity work in support of breast cancer research, the prevention of child abuse, the acceptance of breast feeding, and the Starship Hospital Foundation, of which she is a board member.
Recently, she retuned to her singing roots and embarked on a New Zealand performance tour with musician David Dobbyn. Lucy married executive producer Robert G. Tapert in Santa Monica, California on March 28, 1998. On October 16, 1999, they had a son, Julius Robert Bay Tapert, born in New Zealand. Although Xena has been canceled after a fantastic 6-year run, millions of Lucy Lawless fans know it is still just the beginning for her.