It was 48 years ago Tuesday (March 29) that Lucille Frances Ryan came into the world in Auckland, New Zealand. Twenty-seven years later, the woman known as Lucy Lawless would burst onto the U.S. television scene in “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” and kick off a career of kicking butt and taking names.
To celebrate Lawless’ birthday, Zap2it has compiled a list of all the times this warrior princess showed she was the baddest babe on TV.
‘Hercules: The Legendary Journeys’
Lawless’ most iconic role has to be that of Xena, the warrior princess. The character debuted on “Hercules” in 1995 and initially wasn’t a hero, but the arc of redemption from evil to good all started here.
‘Xena: Warrior Princess’
Just a few months after her debut on “Hercules,” Xena got her own spinoff, a quest tale that had the warrior seeking redemption for the sins of her past. Lawless became a pop culture icon, particularly to the LGBTQ community. Xena’s relationship with Gabrielle was always subtext of the original series, but reboot that is in the works is going to make the subtext text, according to writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach.
“There is no reason to bring back ‘Xena‘ if it is not there for the purpose of fully exploring a relationship that could only be shown subtextually in first-run syndication in the 1990s,” said Grillo-Marxuach during a Tumblr Q&A.
When Syfy revived this franchise for an updated version in the mid-00s, it found a cavalcade of kick-butt women with which to populate the world. She was Cylon model No. 3, D’Anna Biers, who went against her own kind to satisfy her religious curiosity and learn more about the Final Five.
Sure, it’s only a guest-starring role, but who doesn’t want to see Lucy Lawless as an FBI agent getting all up in Sheriff Lamb’s (Michael Muhney) business?
‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ and ‘War of the Damned’
From post-apocalyptic future to ancient Rome, Lawless proved she can kick butt gladiator-style just as well as she can in space. Not so much a heroine in “Spartacus,” Lucretia was nonetheless a strong, not-to-be-trifled-with woman.
‘Parks and Recreation’
You have to be something special to be the woman who captures Ron Swanson’s (Nick Offerman) heart, after the insane Tammy merry-go-round that was his first two failed marriages.
Lawless lent her dulcet New Zealand tones to a memorable episode of “Adventure Time,” where Finn (Jeremy Shada) has to go to the dentist — which turns out to be an army of ants led by Lawless’ General Tarsal.
‘Agents of SHIELD’
Lawless made her Marvel debut in Season 2 of “Agents of SHIELD,” as former SHIELD agent Izzy Hartley. Her tenure on the show was short-lived, as Izzy was killed in the first episode Lawless appeared in. But Hartley has popped up one other time and fans can always hope she will again.
Lawless gave an evil, dastardly turn on “Salem” as Countess Palatine Ingrid von Marburg, an ancient witch and the main villain of Season 2. She was trying to bring the Devil back to Earth, but when he finally arrived, Lucifer chose Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery) as his Scarlet Queen and killed the Countess most brutally.
‘Ash vs. Evil Dead’
Sci-fi and horror fans rejoiced to discover that Lawless would be playing Ruby Knowby, a woman hellbent on revenge against Ash (Bruce Campbell) in the Starz horror series. However, the final two episodes of Season 1 revealed a fun twist for Lawless’ Ruby — and she’ll be back in Season 2, which should premiere in late 2016.