Despite initially auditioning for the more subdued role of Nelle Porter (the part ultimately went to Portia de Rossi), this lovely Asian-American actress made her name and earned an Emmy nod as domineering lawyer Ling Woo on Ally McBeal. Although TV guest spots early in her career proved she could play meek, particularly her recurring role on ER as the soft-spoken mother of an AIDS-stricken child, audiences preferred her feistier side. Able to inspire both dread and desire with the cock of an eyebrow, Liu fared best in big-screen supporting parts that showcased her martial-arts prowess and quirky comedic talents, like her kick-ass turns in Kill Bill: Vol I and the Charlie's Angels franchise. But Liu's artistic talents go beyond the stage and screen. She's also an accomplished painter and photographer who has had exhibits in Los Angeles and New York.
- Was always interested in acting but didn't actively pursue it until her senior year in college, where she auditioned for a production of Alice in Wonderland and got the lead.
- Appeared as a Peach Pit waitress in Beverly Hills, 90210 for her first professional acting job.
- Became the first Asian-American woman to host Saturday Night Live in 2000, the same year she started modeling for Revlon.
- Voice credits include Kung Fu Panda, Maya & Miguel, King of the Hill, Futurama and The Simpsons.
- Used her fluency in Mandarin in 2005's 3 Needles.
- In 2010, made her Broadway debut in God of Carnage.
- Plays the accordion.
- Trained in martial arts.
- 2000, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- 2002, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner
- 1998, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Winner
- 1999, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- 1999, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- 2003, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Acting Ensemble: Winner
- 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Nominee
- Jenny Liu — Sister
- Cecelia Liu — Mother
- Rockwell Lloyd Liu — Son
- Zach Helm — Ex-fiancé
- Tom Liu — Father
- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States (BS in Asian Languages and Cultures, 1990); attended New York University, New York, New York, United States
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