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This paper deals with the reliable linear quadratic (LQ) fuzzy control problem for continuous-time nonlinear systems with actuator faults. The Takagi-Sugeno (T-S) fuzzy model is employed to represent a nonlinear system. By using multiple Lyapunov functions, an improved linear matrix inequality (LMI) method for the design of reliable LQ fuzzy controllers is investigated, which reduces the conservatism of using a single Lyapunov function. The different upper bounds on the LQ performance cost function for the normal and different actuator fault cases are provided. A suboptimal reliable LQ fuzzy controller is given by means of an LMI optimization procedure, which can not only guarantee the stability of the closed-loop overall fuzzy system for all cases, but also provide an optimized upper bound on a weighted average LQ performance cost function. Finally, numerical simulations on the chaotic Lorenz system are given to illustrate the application of the proposed design method.