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Lucy Liu is a TV and film actress known for her work on Ally McBeal and in the Charlie's Angels films.
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Born in New York City on December 2, 1968, Lucy Liu made her mainstream movie debut as one of many former girlfriends of Tom Cruise's character in Jerry Maguire (1996). She got her big break on the hit comedy Ally McBeal, for which she earned an Emmy Award nomination (best supporting actress) in 1999. Liu has also found success on the big screen in the Charlie's Angels films, and is an accomplished visual artist.
Lucy Alexis Liu was born on December 2, 1968, in Queens, New York. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Lucy Liu attended New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School. She enrolled at New York University, but transferred after one year to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she studied Asian languages and culture and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1990. During her senior year at Michigan, Liu auditioned for a supporting part in a school production of Alice in Wonderland; to her surprise, she won the lead role, that of the typically blond, blue-eyed Alice. With that, her acting career had officially begun.
Her earliest acting job found Liu in a small role on the teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 during the 1991-92 season, playing a waitress at the gang’s favorite hang-out, the Peach Pit. Over the next several years, Liu made appearances on such popular television shows as Coach, The X-Files, and ER, and earned a spot in the cast of the short-lived sitcom Pearl (1996-97), starring Rhea Perlman. She made her mainstream movie debut as one of many former girlfriends of Tom Cruise’s character in Jerry Maguire (1996), but landed more substantial roles in such little-seen independent features as Guy (1996), Gridlock’d (1997), and City of Industry (1997), starring Harvey Keitel.
In 1998, Liu got her big break when she auditioned for the part of Nelle Porter, the icy new addition to the wacky law firm Cage and Fish on the hit comedy Ally McBeal, created by David E. Kelley. Though she didn’t get the part, Kelley was struck with Liu’s performance and decided to create a character expressly for her. Originally meant for a one-episode stint, Liu’s razor-sharp portrayal of Ling Woo met with an overwhelmingly favorable reaction and her stay was extended into a regular spot on the show. Earning an Emmy nomination in 1999 for Best Supporting Actress, Lucy Liu undoubtedly contributed to the overall success of the show, which won the Emmy for Best Comedy that same year.
On the big screen, Liu grabbed audiences’ attention with her turn as a leather-clad dominatrix in the poorly reviewed thriller Payback (1999), starring Mel Gibson.
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