Lucy Liu: AAPI Heritage Month Actor Highlights

Award-winning actress. Activist. Artist. We're proud to highlight long-time star Lucy Liu, an AAPI icon worth celebrating today and every day.

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

Lucy Liu AAPI Heritage Month Charlie's Angels Full Throttle

(c) Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

Lucy Liu is a pivotal AAPI figure. She constantly breaks down barriers for Asian actors and women, and has done so for decades. On this day in AAPI Heritage Month, we pay tribute to her incredible talent.

How You Know Her

For years, she played Joan Watson on the series "Elementary." On the big screen, she's co-starred in everything from the "Charlie's Angels" franchise to the musical "Chicago" to the action-comedy "Shanghai Noon" to Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Volume 1."

(c) Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection

(c) Miramax/courtesy Everett Collection

In addition, she's the voice of Master Viper in the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise, and she starred in the cult flick "Lucky Number Slevin" opposite Josh Hartnett and Morgan Freeman.

Most recently, she wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post on her career, and the need for Asian representation.

Her Life So Far

Lucy Liu was born to her Chinese parents in 1968 in Queens, New York. Her mom was a biochemist and her dad was a civil engineer. Liu grew up the youngest of three children. The actress spoke Mandarin at home, and learned English at age 5. She grew up in a diverse neighborhood, and later attended NYU and the University of Michigan. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in Asian languages and cultures.

After spending the '90s in small roles on stage and tv, Liu's first big break arrived. It was a key part on the series "Ally McBeal" as a smart, resourceful lawyer. Subsequently, she earned Primetime Emmy and SAG Award nominations for the character.

By the '00s, Liu was ever present in big screen blockbusters and acclaimed pictures, including the "Charlie's Angels" movies, "Chicago," "Kill Bill: Volume 1," "Lucky Number Slevin,"and "Domino."

©The Weinstein Company LLC/Courtesy Everett Collection

©The Weinstein Company LLC/Courtesy Everett Collection

In 2012, Liu accepted the role of Watson on the Sherlock Holmes series "Elementary." Liu achieved major success as the character, in a part usually played by men. The series aired for 7 seasons and 154 episodes. It ended its run on August 15, 2019.

The Movie to See

"Charlie's Angels" (watch trailer) is light and fluffy entertainment. However, it's also a landmark movie, which Liu notes in her Washington Post op-ed. By becoming an Asian angel, Liu adds valuable representation to the American trio of heroes. In a major blockbuster, Liu holds equal footing to her co-stars. The movie offers lots of colorful pleasures, and it's a kick to see Liu taking down the bad guys.

(c) Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

(c) Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection

Charlie's Angels Poster

Charlie's Angels



November 3, 2000

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What's Up Next

In 2020, the actress co-starred in the comedy-drama "Stage Mother" with Jacki Weaver. She also appeared as a guest on bff Drew Barrymore's "The Drew Barrymore Show." Meanwhile, AAPI hero Lucy Liu continues to actively stand against Anti-Asian hate. We applaud her for it, and look forward to her ongoing work.

Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango,, MediaTrip, and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

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