Christine Baranski

Christine Jane Baranski (born May 2, 1952) is an American actress, singer, and producer. She is a 15-time Emmy Award nominee, winning once in 1995 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Maryanne Thorpe in the sitcom Cybill (1995–98). Baranski has received further critical acclaim for her performance as Diane Lockhart in the legal drama series The Good Wife (2009–2016) and its spinoff series The Good Fight (2017–present), as well as her recurring role as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory (2009–2019) for which she has received four Emmy nominations. She is also known for her roles in numerous successful TV Films, such as her portrayal of Kate in To Dance with the White Dog (1993), Prunella Stickler in Eloise at the Plaza, and Eloise at Christmastime (both 2003), and Amanda in Who Is Simon Miller? (2011).

Christine Baranski
Baranski at the Romy TV awards
Christine Jane Baranski

(1952-05-02) May 2, 1952
ResidenceConnecticut, U.S.
EducationJuilliard School (BFA)
  • Actress
  • singer
  • producer
Years active1974–present
Matthew Cowles
(m. 1983; died 2014)

Baranski won two Tony Awards for Best Featured Actress in a Play for the original Broadway productions of The Real Thing in 1984 and Rumors in 1989. Her other major Broadway credits include Hide and Seek (1980), Hurlyburly (1984), The House of Blue Leaves (1986), Nick & Nora (1991), and Boeing Boeing (2008). Baranski has starred in numerous films, including 9½ Weeks (1986), Legal Eagles (1986), Reversal of Fortune (1990), Addams Family Values (1993), Jeffrey (1995), The Birdcage (1996), Bulworth (1998), Cruel Intentions (1999), Bowfinger (1999), Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Chicago (2002), Mamma Mia! (2008), The Bounty Hunter (2010), Into the Woods (2014), A Bad Moms Christmas (2017), and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).

Early life and education

Baranski was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Virginia (née Mazurowski) and Lucien Baranski, who edited a Polish-language newspaper.[1][2] She is of Polish descent, and her grandparents were actors in the Polish theater.[3][4] Baranski was raised in a Polish-Catholic neighborhood in Cheektowaga, where she attended high school at the Villa Maria Academy.[5][6] She then studied at New York City's Juilliard School[7] (Drama Division Group 3: 1970–1974)[8] where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974.[9]



Baranski made her Off-Broadway debut in Coming Attractions at Playwrights Horizons in 1980, and has appeared in several Off Broadway productions at the Manhattan Theatre Club, starting with Sally and Marsha in 1982.

Baranski made her Broadway debut in Hide & Seek in 1980. For her next Broadway performance, in Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, she won the 1984 Tony Award Best Featured Actress in a Play. Other Broadway credits include: Hurlyburly, The House of Blue Leaves, Rumors (for which she won her second Tony), Regrets Only, Nick & Nora, and the Encores! concert staging of Follies.

At the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Baranski starred as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd in 2002[10] (for which she won the 2003 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical) and as the title character in Mame in 2006.[6]

In her first Broadway production since 1991, she was featured as the maid Berthe in the 2008 revival of Boeing Boeing.[11] The show garnered two Tony Awards, one for Best Revival of a Play and the other for Best Actor (Mark Rylance). The original cast was Bradley Whitford (Bernard), Kathryn Hahn (Gloria), Christine Baranski (Berthe), Gina Gershon (Gabriella), and Mary McCormack (Gretchen). The show closed on January 4, 2009.

She also appeared in a one night only concert benefit performance of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music for Roundabout Theatre Company as Countess Charlotte Malcolm on January 12, 2009.[12] The cast included Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Victor Garber, and Marc Kudisch, among others.

She has won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards twice.

In 2018 Baranski was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[13]


Baranski has also appeared in various film roles. Some of her better known roles are as Katherine Archer in The Birdcage (1996), Martha May Whovier in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Mary Sunshine in Chicago (2002), and Connie Chasseur in The Ref (1994).

She received further recognition for her role as Tanya Chesham-Leigh in the hit musical film Mamma Mia! (2008), and its sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).

She also played Cinderella's stepmother in the 2014 film adaptation of the musical, Into the Woods.[14]

Baranski also starred in the films 9½ Weeks (1986), Legal Eagles (1986), Reversal of Fortune (1990), Addams Family Values (1993), Jeffrey (1995), Bulworth (1998), Cruel Intentions (1999), Bowfinger (1999), Chicago (2002), Trolls (2016), and A Bad Moms Christmas (2017).


An urban legend is she appeared as a child actress as "Chris Charney", who is another actress, on The Brady Bunch. Baranski has denied this,[15] and stated that "the first real TV show" that she worked on was the comedy series Cybill, when she was in her 40s. Earlier, she had appeared in short-term roles on various daytime soap operas, including All My Children and Another World.

Baranski was featured as Cybill Shepherd's sarcastic, hard-drinking friend Maryanne Thorpe in the CBS sitcom Cybill, which ran from 1995 until 1998, during which time she hosted Saturday Night Live and won an Emmy Award as Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series along with three other nominations. During this, Baranski portrayed a librarian named Sonja Umdahl in the "Dick and the Single Girl" episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun.[16] A few years later, Baranski received an Emmy nomination for a guest starring role in the NBC series Frasier as a controversial tough love radio psychiatrist named Dr. Nora. The episode, which was named for the character, parodied Dr. Laura Schlessinger.[17][18][19] The episode was pulled from syndication by Paramount.[18][19] Baranski had an uncredited role in the series Now and Again as the voice of Roger's overbearing wife Ruth, who was never seen by viewers.

Baranski later appeared in the 2000–2001 sitcom Welcome to New York and, with John Laroquette, in the 2003–2004 NBC sitcom Happy Family. She co-starred with Bernadette Peters in a pilot for an ABC sitcom, Adopted, in 2005, which was not picked up. She also played Faith Clancy, the mother of Jim Clancy in Ghost Whisperer.

In 2009 Baranski began guest-starring in The Big Bang Theory as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, a dispassionate psychiatrist and neuroscientist and mother of one of the protagonists, Leonard Hofstadter. She first appeared in the second-season episode "The Maternal Capacitance", for which she received an Emmy nomination. Due to the popularity of her first appearance, Baranski returned in the third season for the Christmas episode "The Maternal Congruence", receiving another Emmy nomination. She would appear in a total of 16 episodes during the show's run, earning 4 Emmy nominations for her recurring role.

From 2009 to 2016, she played the role of Diane Lockhart, a top litigator and senior partner of a Chicago law firm on the CBS series The Good Wife. She was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for six seasons of the series, in the years 2010 to 2015. Besides her work on The Good Wife and the aforementioned guest appearances on The Big Bang Theory, her other recent appearances include Ugly Betty in 2009 as Victoria Hartley, the haughty mother of Betty's new boyfriend.

Baranski currently stars in a spinoff of The Good Wife, titled The Good Fight. The series began airing on CBS and then CBS All Access starting in February 2017. Her character, Diane Lockhart, joins another law firm after being forced to return to work.[20]

Personal life

Baranski was married to actor Matthew Cowles from October 1983 until his death on May 22, 2014.[2][21] They have two daughters, Isabel (born 1984), a lawyer, and Lily (born 1987), an actress.[22][23] She is Roman Catholic.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
1982 Soup for One Blonde in Bar
1983 Lovesick Nymphomaniac
1984 Crackers Maxine
1986 9½ Weeks Thea
1986 Legal Eagles Carol Freeman
1987 The Pick-up Artist Harriet
1990 Reversal of Fortune Andrea Reynolds
1993 The Night We Never Met Lucy
1993 Life with Mikey Carol
1993 Addams Family Values Becky Martin-Granger
1994 The Ref Connie Chasseur
1994 Getting In Mrs. Margaret "Maggie" Higgs
1994 The War Miss Strapford
1995 New Jersey Drive Prosecutor
1995 Jeffrey Ann Marwood Bartle
1996 The Birdcage Katherine Archer Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1998 The Odd Couple II Thelma
1998 Bulworth Constance Bulworth
1999 Cruel Intentions Bunny Caldwell
1999 Bowfinger Carol
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Martha May Whovier
2002 The Guru Shantal
2002 Chicago Mary Sunshine Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003 Marci X Mary Ellen Spinkle
2004 Welcome to Mooseport Charlotte Cole
2005 Scooby Doo! in Where's My Mummy? Amelia Von Butch (voice)
2006 Falling for Grace Bree
2006 Relative Strangers Arleen Clayton
2006 Bonneville Francine
2008 Mamma Mia! Tanya Chesham-Leigh
2010 The Bounty Hunter Kitty Hurley
2012 Foodfight! Hedda Shopper (voice)
2014 Into the Woods[14] Cinderella's Stepmother Satellite Award for Best Cast – Motion Picture
Nominated — Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated — Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
2016 Trolls Chef (voice)
2016 Miss Sloane[25] Evelyn Sumner
2017 A Bad Moms Christmas Ruth
2018 Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Tanya Chesham-Leigh


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Busting Loose Debbie Episode: "The Decision: Part 1"
1980 Playing for Time Olga TV movie
1982 A Midsummer Night's Dream Helena TV movie
1982 Another World Beverly Tucker Unknown episodes
1984 All My Children Jewel Maniscalo Unknown episodes
1985 Big Shots in America Cara TV movie
1985 The Equalizer Victoria Baines Episode: "Mama's Boy"
1987 The House of Blue Leaves Bunny Flingus TV movie
1988 The Thorns Polly Episode: "The Maid"
1991 Law & Order Katherine Masucci Beigel Episodes: "The Torrents of Greed Parts 1 & 2"
1992 Screenplay Blair Bennett Episode: "Buying a Landslide"
1993 To Dance with the White Dog Kate TV movie
1994 Law & Order Rose Siegal Episode: "Nurture"
1995–98 Cybill Maryanne Thorpe 87 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1995)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (1995)
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1995, 1996)
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1996–98)
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (1995)
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (1996)
1996 Saturday Night Live Herself (host) Episode: "Christine Baranski/The Cure"
1997 3rd Rock from the Sun Sonja Umdahl Episode: "Dick and the Single Girl"
1999 Now and Again Ruth Bender (voice) Episode: "Origins"; uncredited
1999 Frasier Dr. Nora Fairchild Episode: "Dr. Nora"
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
2000–01 Welcome to New York Marsha Bickner 13 episodes
2001 Citizen Baines Glenn Ferguson Baines Welch Episode: "Three Days in November"
2002 Presidio Med Dr. Terry Howland Episodes: "Pick Your Battles", "Best of Enemies"
2003 Eloise at the Plaza Prunella Stickler TV movie
2003 Eloise at Christmastime Prunella Stickler TV movie
2003–04 Happy Family Annie Brennan 22 episodes
2004 Spellbound TV movie
2005 Recipe for a Perfect Christmas Lee Bellmont TV movie
2005 Adopted Judy Rabinowitz TV movie
2005 In the Game TV pilot
2005 Ghost Whisperer Faith Clancy Episodes: "Voices", "The Crossing"
2006 Inseparable Barbara TV movie
2006 American Dad! Homeless Woman (voice) Episode: "Failure Is Not a Factory-installed Option"
2009 Ugly Betty Victoria Hartley 3 episodes
2009 Psych Alice Clayton Episode: "He Dead"
2009–2019 The Big Bang Theory Dr. Beverly Hofstadter 16 episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (2009, 2010, 2015, 2016)
2009–2016 The Good Wife Diane Lockhart 156 episodes[26]
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (2010–15)
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2009, 2010, 2011)
2011 Who Is Simon Miller? Amanda TV movie
2011 Ugly Americans Grimes' mummy (voice) Episode: "Mummy Dearest"
2013 Family Guy Herself (voice) Episode: "Call Girl"
2015 BoJack Horseman Amanda Hannity (voice) Episode: "Hank After Dark"
2017 Regular Show Guardian (voice) Episode: "A Regular Epic Final Battle"
2017–present The Good Fight Diane Lockhart 33 episodes
Nominated — TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama (2019)
2017 Michael Jackson's Halloween Mrs. Grau (voice) TV special
2017 Spirit Riding Free Miz McDonnell (voice) Episode: "Lucky and the Long Way Home"
2018 Fancy Nancy Mrs. Devine (voice) 2 episodes
TBA The Gilded Age Agnes van Rhijn Upcoming series


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Hide & Seek Elly Bart Broadway
1980 Coming Attractions Performer Playwrights Horizons
1982 Sally and Marsha Marsha Manhattan Theatre Club
1984 The Real Thing Charlotte Broadway
1984 Hurlyburly Bonnie Broadway
1986 The House of Blue Leaves Bunny Flingus Broadway
1988 Rumors Chris Gorman Broadway
1991 Nick & Nora Tracy Gardner Broadway
1997 Promises, Promises Marge MacDougall Off-Broadway
2002 Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett Kennedy Center
2006 Mame Mame Dennis Kennedy Center
2008 Boeing Boeing Berthe Broadway
2015 Follies Phyllis Rogers Stone London

Video games

Year Project Role
2013 Skylanders: Swap Force Kaos' Mother
2017 Steven Universe: Save the Light Hessonite[27]
2019 Steven Universe: Unleash the Light Hessonite[28]

Awards and nominations


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  2. "Christine Baranski Biography (1952–)", accessed April 29, 2011
  3. "Western New York Public Broadcasting Association" Archived 2007-08-09 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Triplett, William (May 12, 2002). "For Baranski, A Most Meaty Opportunity; In 'Sweeney Todd,' Actress Sinks Her Teeth Into a Singing Role". The Washington Post. HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012.
  5. Rousuck, J. Wynn (May 21, 2006). "The lady has it: Christine Baranski stars in 'Mame' for the 2nd time". The Baltimore Sun.
  6. Gans, Andrew (June 16, 2006). "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Mame's Christine Baranski". Archived from the original on August 29, 2008.
  7. Shulman, Randy (June 8, 2006). "Christine Baranski: TV and stage actress talks about starring in 'Mame' and 'Cybill'".
  8. "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. September 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  9. "Christine Baranski". All Movie Guide. The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
  10. Brantley, Ben. "Adding Love To the Pies' Time-Tested Recipe", New York Times, May 15, 2002
  11. Simonson, Robert. "PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Christine Baranski" Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine,, May 7, 2008
  12. Gans, Andrew. "Starry A Little Night Music Concert Presented in Manhattan Jan. 12" Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine,, January 12, 2009
  13. "Cicely Tyson, Christine Baranski, David Henry Hwang, More Inducted Into Theater Hall of Fame November 12". Playbill. November 12, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  14. WORLD EXCLUSIVE! New Confirmed Casting For the INTO THE WOODS Movie, Starring Streep & Depp Broadway World, Retrieved July 27, 2013
  15. "Christine Baranski: Wasn't Me on 'The Brady Bunch'!". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  16. "Dick and the Single Girl". 11 May 1997. Retrieved 29 July 2018 via
  17. Starr, Michael (28 April 1999). "Resurgent 'Frasier' takes on Dr. Laura". Deseret News. Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  18. Lowry, Brian (7 November 2000). "Syndicated 'Frasier' Episode Spoofing Dr. Laura Is Pulled". The Los Angeles Times – Collections. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  19. Starr, Michael (7 November 2000). "WHO STOLE 'DR. NORA?' – 'FRASIER'S' SPOOF OF TV SHRINK DISAPPEARS". The New York Post — Entertainment. The New York Post. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  20. Poniewozik, James. "Review: On ‘The Good Fight,’ a Lawyer Claws Her Way Back to Normal" New York Times, February 16, 2017
  21. Simonson, Robert. "Matthew Cowles, Actor and Husband of Christine Baranski, Dies" Archived 2014-05-27 at the Wayback Machine, May 27, 2014
  22. Klein, Alvin (January 25, 1998). "THEATER; Being Irish And Being Married". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  23. Colbert, Stephen (host) (28 April 2016). "Christine Baranski". The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Season 1. Episode 131. CBS. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  25. ‘Miss Sloane’ review: An intriguing character who needs a more intriguing film Seattle Times, Retrieved December 8, 2016
  26. "Filmography by TV series for Christine Baranski". Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  27. "Meet Hessonite, the Villainous New Steven Universe Gem Voiced by Christine Baranski". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  28. "Unleash the Light". App Store. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
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