A passionate human rights advocate, Liu has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2004 and has travelled on missions to Lesotho, Pakistan, Cote D’Ivoire, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Cairo, Peru, Egypt, Russia and Lebanon. She has also traveled to China and Haiti to support a micronutrient program for malnutrition in infants and young children.
In 2006, the documentary FREEDOM’S FURY premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival with Liu and her Kill Bill collaborator Quentin Tarantino as executive producers. FREEDOM’S FURY is a documentary film about the Melbourne, Australia 1956 Summer Olympics semifinal water polo match between Hungary and the USSR, and the events that led up to the violent battle, one of the most politicized sports matches ever played, popularly known as the "Blood in the Water" match. The documentary was narrated by Mark Spitz, who as a teenager had been coached by Ervin Zádor, who was a member of the Hungarian team. The debut of the film in 2006 also marked the 50th anniversary of the match and in 2007 was selected to screen for the US Congress. Both Liu and Tarantino were knighted in 2010 for their award winning documentary and their contribution by the Hungarian Government.
Liu has been involved in three films exposing and chronicling the tragedies and injustices of the international child-trafficking industry.
In 2008, Liu produced and narrated the short film, THE ROAD TO TRAFFIK. The film was co-produced by photographer Norman Jean Roy and led to a partnership with producers on the documentary film REDLIGHT, which Liu produced and narrated. The film focuses on the plight of women and children sold into sexual slavery. It premiered at The Woodstock Film Festival in 2009 and aired on Showtime in 2010.
In 2010, Liu travelled to India to mark her directorial debut with the short narrative MEENA, an adaptation of the true story of Meena Haseena, who was kidnapped and sold to a brothel at age eight and forced into sexual slavery for the next decade. While in captivity, she gave birth to two children, whom she later rescued after her own escape from the brothel. This film highlights the story featured in the first chapter of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s New York Times #1 bestselling book Half the Sky. The film was awarded the 2015 Telly Bronze Award for Online Video - Online Webisodes, Segments, or Promotional Pieces - Social Issues and was a 2015 Webby Awards Official Honoree in Online Video: Public Service & Activism.
In 2006, Liu was awarded the Women’s World Award for her outstanding humanitarian work, presented to her by former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and sponsored by the World Awards organization headed by former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev. In 2008, she received UNICEF’S Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award for helping to advocate child survival by harnessing the power of celebrity to address international causes.
In 2012, Women for Women International honored Liu with their prestigious Champion For Peace Award and The Muse Award from New York Women In Film.
Lucy Liu has had great critical and commercial success in film, television and on Broadway. Liu co-stars in the highly rated drama series ELEMENTARY, nominated for a Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding New Program, on CBS as Dr. Joan Watson alongside Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes. Liu’s portrayal of Dr. Watson earned a 2013 Teen Choice Award for Choice TV Actress and won her the prestigious Best Drama Actress Award at the Seoul International Drama Awards in 2013. In 2015 she was nominated for a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Crime Drama TV Actress. 2014 saw Liu making her television directorial debut with the episode, PAINT IT BLACK, which lead to another directing opportunity the following season with, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES. Elementary was sold into syndication at the beginning of Season 2, making it one of the fastest syndication sales in CBS history. It will be available on WGN and Hulu.
In 2012, Liu joined the cast of the critically acclaimed series SOUTHLAND. Her portrayal of Officer Jessica Tang won a 2012 Critics’ Choice Award for Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series and a 2013 NAACP nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Liu voices the role of Lady Sagami in the 2015 Academy Award Nominated film The Tale of The Princess Kaguya. Produced by Frank Marshall and directed by Jamie Simone from an adaptation by Mike Jones. Variety calls the film a "visionary tour de force”. Liu recently reprised her voice as Viper in the third installment of Paramount’s animated smash hit KUNG FU PANDA, and as Silvermist in LEGEND OF THE NEVERBEAST (Tinkerbell). Her last feature film, THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, co-starring Russell Crowe, was directed by THE RZA. In 2011, Liu co-starred in three films: Tribeca Film’s DETACHMENT, directed by Tony Kaye, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; EAST FIFTH BLISS, which premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival; and SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU, Roberto Faenza’s adaptation of the novel by Peter Cameron, which premiered at the Rome Film Festival.
Liu made her Broadway debut in March 2010, in the Tony Award-winning play GOD OF CARNAGE, starring as Annette in a cast that included Jeff Daniels, Dylan Baker and Janet McTeer. The critically acclaimed film FREEDOM’S FURY premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival in 2006, marking Liu’s debut as a producer.
Some of Liu’s previous film credits include CHARLIE’S ANGELS, CHARLIE’S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE, KILL BILL, CHICAGO, CODE NAME: THE CLEANER, RISE, WATCHING THE DETECTIVES, DOMINO, LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN, 3 NEEDLES, SHANGHAI NOON, PAYBACK, PLAY IT TO THE BONE, BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER and THE YEAR OF GETTING TO KNOW US.
On television, Liu was nominated for the NAACP award for Outstanding Actress for her starring role in the December 2010 Lifetime Network romantic comedy, MARRY ME. Liu appeared as the unforgettable Ling Woo in the hit Fox series, ALLY MCBEAL, a role for which she earned an Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. She has also appeared in starring roles on the hit series CASHMERE MAFIA and DIRTY SEXY MONEY, and has guest-starred on HBO’s SEX & THE CITY, and UGLY BETTY. She has lent her voice to such animated television hits as THE SIMPSONS, FUTURAMA and KING OF THE HILL.
Liu has also collaborated with musician and singer Jeymes Samuel of the UK band THE BULLITTS on their LP, THEY DIE BY DAWN AND OTHER SHORT STORIES. Liu’s spoken word surrounding the main character in the album, Amelia Sparks, rounds out Samuel’s Sinister Six, which include Jay Electronica, Mos Def, Tori Amos, and Idris Elba.
Liu’s interest in art began at the age of fifteen, when she started experimenting with collage and photography at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. She graduated from the University of Michigan in 1990 with a B.A. degree in Asian Languages and Culture, before moving to Los Angeles to pursue her interest in acting. Her first solo exhibition, Unraveling, at Cast Iron Gallery in New York in 1993, was a photographic exhibition that earned her a grant to study at Beijing Normal University. Liu found this period in China to be extremely valuable, not only as an opportunity to learn more about her Chinese heritage, but also to expand her understanding of the symbolic potential of art. The trip became the subject of a body of work shown at her next one-person exhibition, Catapult, at Los Angeles’ Purple Gallery in 1997. Liu remained in Los Angeles for several years, during which time she continued to work in collage and photographic portraiture. She returned to New York City in 2004 and enrolled in painting classes at the New York Studio School from 2004-2007.
Ongoing conceptual concerns in Liu’s artwork have been the notions of security, salvation, and the long-term effects of personal relationships on our physical and emotional selves—themes that she addresses in painting, sculpture, collage, silkscreen, or the appropriation of discarded objects, which Liu recontextualizes in handmade constructions that function as reliquaries.
Her work has been featured in numerous gallery exhibitions and international art fairs, and is included in multiple private and corporate collections. Liu currently lives and works in New York City.
2014 The Last Brucennial, New York, NY, USA
2013 Totem, The Popular Institute, Manchester, UK
2011 Seventy Two, Salon Vert, London, UK
2010 Passing China, Zadok Gallery, Miami, FL, USA
2008 je suis. envois-moi, Galerie Six Friedrich Lisa Ungar, Munich, Germany
2006 Glass Onion, Milk Gallery, New York, NY, USA
2006 Antenna, Emotion Picture Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
1995 Catapult, Purple Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA
1993 Unraveling, Cast Iron Gallery, SoHo, New York, NY, USA
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