Lucy Alexis Liu (born December 2 , 1968 ) is an Emmy Award nominated American actress of Chinese ancestry, best known for starring in the TV series Ally McBeal and the 2000 film Charlie's Angels . Her Chinese name is Liú Yùlíng.
Liu was born in New York City , and was raised with her brother, Alex Ya Liu (Liú Yá Lì), in Queens, New York by Chinese immigrant parents, and attended New York City's famous Stuyvesant High School . She attended New York University for one year, transferred to University of Michigan at Ann Arbor , and graduated with a degree in Asian languages and cultures. While struggling to make it in acting, it is known that she took up jobs in Los Angeles 'massage parlours' on the side.
Liu is widely considered the most prominent Asian-American actress in American media. She had small stints in films and TV roles (for example in X-Files ) before landing a break on Ally McBeal . Liu's role on the series was originally not meant to be a regular, but the enthusiastic audience response to the actress' feisty Ling Woo secured Lucy as a prominent cast member.
Shot To Super-Stardom
She became more famous with her turn as Alex in the Charlie's Angels movie, starring alongside more established modern Hollywood icons Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz . The sequel to the film , however, opened to poor reviews and box office receipts. Lucy was also paid sixteen million dollars less for her work in Charlie's Angels than co-star Cameron Diaz.
Liu starred with Antonio Banderas in Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever , a critical and box-office failure that was remarkable only in its casting of two minorities as the lead roles. Lucy is perhaps most famous for her role as O-Ren Ishii in director Quentin Tarantino 's Kill Bill films. The first installment of the Kill Bill films, Volume 1 , exposed Lucy as a more serious and physically adept actress than had been evident from her previous roles. She won an MTV Movie Award , further solidifying her fame with young, hip audiences, for "Best Movie Villain".
Lucy recently appeared on several episodes of "Joey" with Matt LeBlanc , who played her love interest in the Charlie's Angels movies. She also had a small role opposite Keira Knightley in the thriller Domino . Liu is currently in talks to recreate the Charlie Chan series for modern audiences.
Although Liu is not married, rumors in the past have linked her with George Clooney . Recently, there was news that she is engaged to a New York playwright, Zach Helm. The engagement has been canceled and she is currently single.
In 2005, Liu was appointed a U.S. Fund for UNICEF Ambassador .
Early in 2006, Liu received an Asian Excellence Award for Visibilty , since she is the most well-known and visible Asian American in the media today.
In 2003, Lucy Liu was referenced in the #1 hit " Hey Ya ", in which Andre 3000 of Outkast asks "all Beyonces and Lucy Lius" to "get on the floor" and dance. The song was one of the biggest hits of late 2003/early 2004, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year .