Yancy Victoria Butler was born on July 2, 1970, in New York City. Growing up in the bohemian Greenwich Village, where she resides to this day, Yancy started making showbiz inroads at an early age. She made her film debut at age seven with a small role in the slasher thriller Savage Weekend. At age 13, Yancy studied at New York’s prominent HB Studios. She also attended dance and ballet classes at the Joffrey and Ailey schools.
Perhaps this early dedication was in Yancy’s genes: her father, Joe Butler, was the drummer for The Lovin’ Spoonful back in the 60’s and is now the lead singer in the band that is currently touring, while her mother, Leslie, was first an actor, then a company manager on Broadway. Even her grandparents had theatrical roots. However, these connections did not deter Yancy from going on to study at Sarah Lawrence College, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts in 1991 and was honored as a Griggs Scholar.
Soon after graduation, Yancy landed a guest spot on the then new hit show, Law & Order. Her performance caught the attention of the show’s creator-producer, Dick Wolf, who offered Yancy the lead role in his new science-fiction show, Mann & Machine, the following year. Soon after, Wolf developed and wrote a series for her entitled South Beach with John Glover and Patti D’Arbanville.
Yancy also scored parts in some top action movies. In 1993, she played a damsel in distress opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme in Hard Target, the Hollywood debut of legendary Hong Kong action auteur John Woo. In 1994, she co-starred with Wesley Snipes in the skydiving suspense film, Drop Zone.
Not all her films have been action movies. In 1995, she played a sexy dance instructor in Let It Be Me with Patrick Stewart, Campbell Scott and Leslie Caron. The Ex, in which Yancy starred in 1997, has become a cult classic.
Yancy’s guest appearance on NYPD Blue landed her another TV role, this time on the Emmy-winning Brooklyn South. Yancy secured the lead role in the TNT made-for-TV movie version of the popular comic book, Witchblade. She portrayed Detective Sara Pezzini, a troubled New York cop who becomes the keeper of the Witchblade; an ancient and magical weapon handed down through the ages. The movie was such a hit that TNT decided to expand it into a full-fledged series. And the decision was a good one. Soon Witchblade became the network’s top draw, and gained a solid fan following.
This in turn led to more successes for Yancy, such as appearances on the The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn and Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. She also appeared on The Today Show with Katie Couric, Good Morning America, and many other talk shows.
Between the shooting of Witchblade the movie and Witchblade the series, she did a TV film with Joe Mantegna entitled Thin Air. In 2003, she guest starred on a episode of Rob Lowe’s The Lyon’s Den and later that year starred in The Last Letter, teaming her once again with Drop Zone’s Grace Zabriskie, also starring William Forsythe. Yancy did two films in 2006, one with Lou Diamond Phillips, Striking Range, and the cult classic, Double Cross, based loosely on the Hitchcock film, Strangers on a Train. The next year, she played the greedy Hannah in Basilisk: The Serpent King and that same year she played Ann Barkley, a character on right-wing writer, Ann Coulter in Vote and Die: Liszt for President.
Most recently, Wolvesbayne (still in post-production) finds her starring as Lilith, the queen of vampires, who, in Hebrew lore was believed to be the first true Eve. Also in 2009, she did a cameo as the wife, Angie D’Amico, in a Nick Cage film (also in post-production} with the working title Kickass, a fantastical story about a young boy who desperately wants to be a superhero.
That brings us up to today. Stay tuned for further developments.