The Evening Post

(Wellington, New Zealand),

18 May 1998

A Princess's Best Friend

What: Xena Warrior Princess.

Where: TV3.

When: 8.30pm, Friday.

RENEE O'CONNOR stars as fast-talking Gabrielle, Xena's plucky travelling companion and devoted best friend, in Xena Warrior Princess.

Described by O'Connor as "a romantic storyteller with a passion for adventure", Gabrielle often saves the warrior princess from her darker impulses and is the perfect foil for Xena's wit.

O'Connor says in real life there is also strong camaraderie between her and Lucy Lawless.

"I wouldn't be there if we didn't have a close relationship. How can you work with someone 12 hours a day - and it's like a marriage - if you don't get along and actually appreciate the person?

"We've been together for so long. Sometimes we're quiet one day and you don't want to talk to the other and I always know it's just that. We both do. Other days, we're just gossiping like school girls," she says.

O'Connor first came to the attention of executive producers Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi when an audition won her the role of the young Deianeira in the adventure series Hercules And The Lost Kingdom. They were so impressed by her performance opposite Hercules star Kevin Sorbo they signed her for a starring role in the feature film Darkman II: The Return Of Durant in 1995.

Born in Houston, Texas, O'Connor began studying acting at the age of 12 at Houston's Alley Theatre and later attended Houston's High School of the Performing and Visual Arts. She made her professional acting debut in 1989 starring in the series Teen Angel.

When not in Auckland, where the series is filmed, O'Connor makes her home in Austin, Texas.

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