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Creator / Lucy Lawless

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"I like the one who plays me. She's kinda sexy."
Xena, on Lucy Lawless

Lucille Frances Lawless MNZM (née Ryan; born 29 March 1968) is a New Zealand actor, musician, and singer. She began as a singer, then as a jazz musician, and transitioned to acting in the 1990s. Her first major role was in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys pilot Hercules and the Amazon Women as Lysia the Amazon. She later played Lyla in the regular show, and then appeared in one episode, "The Warrior Princess," as...

...Xena. The character proved so popular she got her own show, Xena: Warrior Princess, which made Lawless a star. Xena ran for six seasons, and Lawless continued to act in other roles. She appeared on the Broadway revival of Grease as Betty Rizzo. She made a cameo appearance on Spider-Man as a punk rock girl. But her next really big role would not be until the new Battlestar Galactica, where she played Intrepid Reporter D'Anna Biers, AKA Cylon Number Three.

Her next big roles were in Spartacus: Blood and Sand as Lucretia, No Ordinary Family as Helen Burton, and Parks and Recreation as Diane Lewis, a love interest of Ron Swanson.

She lives with her husband (Xena co-creator Robert Tapert) and their two children, and also has a daughter from her previous marriage. She is a member of Greenpeace, and was arrested in 2012 with five other activists for occupying an oil-drilling ship for 77 hours, though the $545,000 in compensation requested by Shell Oil was reduced to an $547 fine and 120 hours of community service. Lawless has since vowed to remain with Greenpeace.

The dwarf planet Eris (discovered in 2005) was originally nicknamed Xena (after Lawless's iconic role), and its moon Gabrielle for Xena's closest companion. Later on the moon was officially named Dysnomia, which is Greek for "lawlessness."



  • Action Girl: Tends to play these.
  • …But I Play One on TV: Mostly as Xena.
    • Due to Xena's perceived relationship with Gabrielle by fans in Xena: Warrior Princess, Lawless is considered to be a "lesbian icon", despite being straight, and takes it seriously. She has appeared at many gay pride events such as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. (While the show was on she remained somewhat undecided about the nature of the relationship, but by the time the finale rolled around, Lawless acknowledged that it wasn't just a thing, saying: "Nope, they're married, man.")
      • Her status as a lesbian icon is further acknowledged in her Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. character, who is strongly hinted at being in a relationship with Saffron Burrows' character - Burrows being quite the LGBT icon in her own right, too.note 
      • And for the LGBT icon hat trick, her Ash vs. Evil Dead character, Ruby, is one of the few women never to be even slightly won over by Ash's classical good looks and cheesy pick-up lines... which may be something to do with her increasingly apparent infatuation with Amanda.
      • Even before she was cast as Xena, she played a lesbian truck driver in the short film Peach.
      • Likely as a nod to this, Lucretia in Spartacus is Ambiguously Bi; sharing a few kisses with Illythia, and the prequel Gods of the Arena seems to outright confirm it; with Lucretia being kissed by Gaia and visibly enjoying it.
    • An in-story example Played for Laughs. When she guest starred on The Simpsons Halloween episode, she keeps having to remind people she is Lucy Lawless, not Xena. At the end of the episode, when she flies Bart and Lisa home (remember, animated), Lisa comments that "Xena can't fly!" Lucy again mentions she's not Xena.
  • Dye Hard: Her hair is naturally ash blonde, but she is best known as the dark-haired Xena, to the point that seeing her with her natural hair color is almost jarring.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: She's a blonde but dyed her hair dark brown or black for Xena.
  • Fake American: Most viewers have no idea she is from New Zealand, largely because Xena was played with an American accent. D'Anna Biers on Galactica was probably one of the highest-profile role she's had where she used, if not her real accent, at least one very close to it.
  • Fake Brit: She uses The Queen's Latin for her role as Lucretia on Spartacus, like the majority of New Zealand cast members.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: On Galactica as Number Three. Not to mention her signature role of Xena.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: On Spartacus she plays a natural brunette who frequently wears blonde wigs (and red, later revealed to be a tribute to her deceased friend Gaia). She herself is a natural blonde who has to be brunette for roles.
  • Older Than They Look: She is in her fifties, but looks to be in her thirties.
  • Playing Against Type:invoked While her intial claim to fame came from the rather cheesy Xena series, she later became known to appear in considerably darker shows like the reimagined Battlestar Galactica (2003) and Spartacus: Blood and Sand.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Forced a few of these during her time starring on "Xena", most notably, Xena's body switching exploits with Callisto lasting an episode longer than intended when Lawless broke her pelvis, and Xena's pregnancy when Lawless became pregnant.
  • Statuesque Stunner: She's five foot ten inches (177 cm) tall.
  • A Wizard Did It: She is the Trope Namer. It comes from her appearance on an episode of The Simpsons.


Video Example(s):


Cyane Defeats Xena

Xena tries to invoke this by attacking the Amazon Queen Cyane while she's naked during a ritual, however Cyane turns the tables on her and humiliates Xena by ripping the clothes Xena herself was wearing and then dressing herself in them, forcing the furious Xena to flee in shame.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / DefeatByModesty

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