Successfully represented Asian face in the competitive world of American major film industry, Lucy Alexis Liu certainly has stood out as one of the most prominent Chinese-American actresses of the 21st century. A daughter of Taiwanese immigrants working in U.S. as civil engineer and biochemist, she was born on December 2, 1968 in Queens, New York with a Chinese name of Liu Yuling and grew up in the Jackson Heights section of Queens County, New York to then enter Manhattan's famous Stuyvesant High School. Graduated in 1986, the teen continued her education at New York University, but quickly decided to transfer her study to University of Michigan in Ann Arbor after her freshman year. It was during this period that she began to develop a fondness for performing arts, providing herself with skills in acting and dancing while also took fine arts and voice classes there.
All the training she had undertaken really came in handy when she tried for a role in a stage production of "Alice in Wonderland" during her senior year at the university. Originally auditioned for a mere small part, Lucy was offered the lead instead, which really became such a surprise for her and so built up her confidence to establish a professional acting in the entertainment industry. Satisfyingly obtained a bachelor degree in Asian Languages and Cultures, the raven-haired beauty afterwards moved to Los Angeles with high hopes of landing good stints in screen features, but only managed to earn one-time appearances in an episode of several TV series, like "Beverly Hills 90210" (1991), "L.A. Law" (1993), and "Home Improvement" (1995).
Things started to run better when Lucy obtained a recurring role in NBC's acclaimed medical drama series, "ER", by 1995. Delivering a moving performance as a woman named Mei-Sun Leow whose son is suffering from complications of AIDS, she wonderfully gained enough buzz to join the regular cast of CBS' "Pearl" in 1996 together with Rhea Perlman besides a brief appearance in Tom Cruise's vehicle, "Jerry Maguire", which was also released by the same year. Stayed in the series for one season, this slender actress then underwent a series of supporting parts in small films before returned to TV production through "Ally McBeal" in 1998. Her character, the ill-tempered lawyer Ling Woo, initially was supposed to pop up in only a few episodes but surprisingly proved so popular with the show's audience that she thus was billed as a regular cast member.
A highly successful series, "Ally McBeal", unquestionably elevated Lucy to widespread recognition, particularly after it gave her an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series category by 1999, totally lifting her up from obscurity. More propitious film offers began to flow, notably those in "Shanghai Noon" and "Charlie's Angels" which both saw theatrical release in 2000 and really boosted her career due to their tremendous worldwide income of over $99 million in the box office. The latter flick even brought the charming star to be honored an MTV Movie Award in 2001 for winning the Best On-Screen Team category that she triumphantly shared with Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz.
Finally left "Ally McBeal" in 2002, the year apparently turned out quite badly for Lucy when her two movies, namely "Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever" and "Cypher" did not result as expected. To everyone's relief, she quickly bounced back with "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" also Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" in 2003, placing herself firmly under the spotlight again. Afterwards returned briefly to small screen production through "Joey", the spin-off sitcom of "Friends", by 2004, she effortlessly moved on to secure a handful of acting stints like those in "Domino" (2005) and "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006), the latter placing her in a star-studded cast consisting of Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and Ben Kingsley among others.
By year 2007, Lucy's move in Hollywood had gone on a steady path for she managed to appear in two more titles of "Code Name: The Cleaner" "Rise: Blood Hunter" followed by "Watching the Detectives", and "Rockett", both slated for 2008 releases. The acting resume of hers got longer as she next was billed to voice Master Viper in DreamWorks' starry CGI animation "Kung Fu Panda" (2008) while being set to topline adventure crime thriller "Charlie Chan" (2009) which she also executive produces. Concerning her love life, the actress once had been engaged to a Santa Clara-born screenwriter named Zach Helm in April 2004 after dating for about 10 months, but the knot sadly ended in 2005 without any clear explanation revealed about the split.