Lucy Liu: Snapshot

Name
Lucy Liu
Date of Birth
December 02, 1968
Birth Place
Queens, NY
In the Gen X remakes of Charlie's Angels, Lucy Liu made America think beyond blond and leggy. The pint-sized actress held her own against Hollywood darlings and fellow halo-holders Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz in the eye candy action flicks.

After an academic-focused New York upbringing, Liu earned an Emmy nod for her role as the sharp-tongued Ling Woo on Ally McBeal. She soon left David E. Kelley's hit series for a film career, appearing in the Oscar-winning movie musical Chicago and attempted to murder Uma Thurman in Kill Bill Vol. 1.

In 2008, the twice-listed PEOPLE Most Beautiful stunner finally took center stage with her own ABC series Cashmere Mafia. After its cancellation, she stuck with ABC, taking a starring role in their hit series Dirty Sexy Money before moving on to CBS's Elementary, in which she plays a female Watson opposite Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes.

Lucy Liu: Five Fun Facts

  1. Lucy Liu plays a mean accordion and would jam with former Ally McBeal costar and fellow accordion player Greg Germann. "It's like a part of you, as opposed to a guitar or a flute," she told Playboy.
  2. While performing in a college production of Hair, she stripped only to her underwear. "I wasn't that…free," she told Newsday, about not going nude in the finale as the part demanded.
  3. Lucy Liu speaks six languages. "We only spoke Mandarin growing up. When my older sister went to school, we started learning English," she explains to Esquire in 2006. "I did one movie in Mandarin...I also speak a little Spanish, I'm taking Italian, and I took a little Japanese and a little French...It opens up your world completely."
  4. OutKast gave Lucy Liu and Beyoncé shout outs in their 2003 mega hit "Hey Ya!".
  5. Lucy Liu, a UNICEF Celebrity Ambassador and artist, has exhibited her photographs and mixed-media canvases in galleries in New York and L.A., even donating her paintings for auction. She's helped raise more than $267,000 for the charity.

Lucy Liu: Biography

1968

Lucy Liu

December 02

Far From Barbie

While growing up in Queens, N.Y., Liu, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, dreams of an acting career, even though she rarely sees Asian performers in movies or on TV. "When you're younger and you don't feel like you quite fit in anywhere, you think there must be a community of misfits out there that you can fall into," she tells the New York Times. "The popular girls were all blondes," she adds to PEOPLE. "I wanted to be Barbie and I was as opposite to Barbie as you could get."

1998

Lucy Liu

September 21

Creating Ling Woo

Ally McBeal show creator David E. Kelley develops a new character specifically for Liu. She plays Ling Woo, a combative client who becomes the firm's most politically incorrect lawyer, and earns an Emmy nomination and a shared SAG Award for the best ensemble. But Liu is criticized for perpetuating the Asian "dragon lady" stereotype. "This role has been liberating for me. I can bring who I am into it," Liu tells Newsweek. When she leaves the show in 2001 to pursue film, Liu thanks Kelley for giving her a role that "taught me about myself and helped me grow as a person."

2000

Lucy Liu

November 03

A Heavenly Role

Liu kicks butt alongside Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz in the big-screen remake Charlie's Angels, which rakes in $264 million worldwide. Liu calls the high-profile role in the original all-white TV cast "a historical step for me." Director McG adds, "Nobody ever gave her anything...It was that sort of elegant tenacity that I wanted to reflect in this movie's Alex character…There was no real agenda to cast an ethnic Angel..."

Read More on Lucy Liu's Life

Photo Credits

Top Left: Michael Williams/Corbis

BIOGRAPHY (top to bottom): Everett Collection; Darren Michaels/columbia Pictures

Edited by Julia Wang

Lucy Liu

Celebrity Central / Top 25 Celebs

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters