Born Lucille Frances Ryan in the Mount Albert suburb of Auckland, New Zealand, Lawless is best known for playing the title character of the internationally successful television series Xena: Warrior Princess which ran from 1995 to 2001.
She is also known for the role of D'anna Biers (Number Three) on the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica. Most recently she appeared on the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Spartacus: Gods of the Arena as Lucretia, Quintus Lentulus Batiatus' wife.
She has continued to pursue a career in singing after being a contestant on Celebrity Duets. She made her onstage debut at the Roxy in Hollywood on 13 January 2007. Lawless had a sold-out crowd for back-to-back concerts.
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-----In 1994, Lawless appeared in Hercules and the Amazon Women, a Pacific Renaissance Pictures made-for-television film that became the television pilot for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In that episode, she played a man-hating Amazon named Lysia.
To differentiate between Xena and the similar Lysia, Lawless' hair, naturally ash blond, was coloured black. Xena subsequently returned in two more episodes of the first season of Hercules, which portrayed her turn from villainess to good character.
The character was popular enough that a spin-off series was created for her. Xena: Warrior Princess debuted on 4 September 4,1995. Xena: Warrior Princess, like its parent program, was a hit, lasting six seasons, and Lawless became an international celebrity.
In February 2012, Lawless and five other Greenpeace activists boarded an oil drilling ship at Port Taranaki, New Zealand, and remained on it for 77 hours to stop it leaving for the arctic where it was going to take part in oil exploration. She was subsequently arrested and charged with burglary, which carries an imprisonment term of up to 10 years if convicted.