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Actress Lucy Alexis Liu was born December 2nd, 1968, in Queens, New York, to parents that had originally emigrated to the U.S. from China. For that reason, she grew up speaking Mandarin at home and only learned English when she went to school. After graduating high school, Liu had initially enrolled at New York University but later transferred to the University of Michigan to study Asian languages and cultures.

Liu’s first incursion into the acting world was when she was spotted by an agent at age nineteen. She only did one commercial, and later became a part of her university’s Basement Arts theater group, where she participated in plays during her college years. In 1992, Liu made her stage debut in New York in Tina Chen’s Fairy Bones. That same year she also made her big screen debut in Hong Kong drama film Rhythm of Destiny. Her television career began in 1991 and continued throughout the ‘90s with small roles, appearing in popular shows at the time, such as Beverly Hills, 90210, L.A. Law, Coach, Home Improvement, ER and The X-Files. Lucy’s first big role on TV was as part of the main cast in sitcom Pearl, which aired for only one season. She later joined the main cast of legal comedy Ally McBeal through seasons two to five. Her participation on the show brought her nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

During the 1990s, Lucy Liu’s acting credits included Jerry Maguire (1996,) Gridlock’d (1997,) Flypaper (1997,) Payback (1999,) True Crime (1999,) and Play It to the Bone (1999.) She began to gain prominence when she played a supporting part in the western action comedy Shanghai Noon and then one of the leads in the reboot film Charlie’s Angels. She reprised her role for the 2003 sequel, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Although both films received mixed reviews from the critics, they were still a commercial success across the world. In 2003, Liu was cast in Quentin Tarantino’s martial arts film Kill Bill: Vol 1, which turned out to be a box office hit. Other notable film appearances during this decade were in musical black comedy Chicago (2002,) animated film Mulan II (2004,) action movie Domino (2005,) Lucky Number Slevin (2006,) and romantic comedy Watching the Detectives (2007.) Starting from 2008, Liu lent her voice to the Kung Fu Panda franchise, which spawned three movies, a TV series and several short films, up to 2016, as well as the Tinker Bell series (up to 2014.)

In television, Liu has continued to guest star in various shows since Ally McBeal, both live action and animated, including Futurama, Sex and the City, King of the Hill, Joey, The Simpsons, Ugly Betty, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Southland. In 2012, she was cast in Elementary, a contemporary retelling of Sherlock Holmes, where she starred as Joan Watson. Lucy’s performance on the show was positively viewed and earned her three consecutive nominations for the People’s Choice Awards. The show lasted for seven seasons, ending in 2019. After mainly doing voice roles, like the English and Mandarin versions of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya in 2013 and Magic Wonderland in 2014, Liu returned to the big screen in 2018. She starred in sci-fi Future World and romantic comedy Set It Up, followed by documentary QT8: The First Eight (2019)  and comedy-drama Stage Mother (2020.) In 2021, Liu was cast as the main antagonist in superhero movie Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which is set to premiere in 2023, and in Disney’s animated feature, Strange World. 

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