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).
Baranski at the Romy TV awards
Christine Jane Baranski
May 2, 1952
|Education||Juilliard School (BFA)|
(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. She is of Polish descent, and her grandparents were actors in the Polish theater. Baranski was raised in a Polish-Catholic neighborhood in Cheektowaga, where she attended high school at the Villa Maria Academy. She then studied at New York City's Juilliard School (Drama Division Group 3: 1970–1974) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974.
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 (for which she won the 2003 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical) and as the title character in Mame in 2006.
In her first Broadway production since 1991, she was featured as the maid Berthe in the 2008 revival of Boeing Boeing. 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. The cast included Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Victor Garber, and Marc Kudisch, among others.
In 2018 Baranski was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
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).
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, 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. 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. The episode was pulled from syndication by Paramount. 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.
Baranski was married to actor Matthew Cowles from October 1983 until his death on May 22, 2014. They have two daughters, Isabel (born 1984), a lawyer, and Lily (born 1987), an actress. She is Roman Catholic.
|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|
|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||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|
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|
|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|
|1986||The House of Blue Leaves||Bunny Flingus||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|
|2015||Follies||Phyllis Rogers Stone||London|
Awards and nominations
- "Christine Baranski – Family and Companions – Yahoo!7 Movies" Archived 2007-03-14 at the Wayback Machine movies.yahoo.com
- "Christine Baranski Biography (1952–)" filmreference.com, accessed April 29, 2011
- "Western New York Public Broadcasting Association" Archived 2007-08-09 at the Wayback Machine wned.org
- 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.
- Rousuck, J. Wynn (May 21, 2006). "The lady has it: Christine Baranski stars in 'Mame' for the 2nd time". The Baltimore Sun.
- Gans, Andrew (June 16, 2006). "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Mame's Christine Baranski". Playbill.com. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008.
- Shulman, Randy (June 8, 2006). "Christine Baranski: TV and stage actress talks about starring in 'Mame' and 'Cybill'". MetroWeekly.com.
- "Alumni News". The Juilliard School. September 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- "Christine Baranski". All Movie Guide. The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- Brantley, Ben. "Adding Love To the Pies' Time-Tested Recipe", New York Times, May 15, 2002
- Simonson, Robert. "PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Christine Baranski" Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com, May 7, 2008
- Gans, Andrew. "Starry A Little Night Music Concert Presented in Manhattan Jan. 12" Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com, January 12, 2009
- "Cicely Tyson, Christine Baranski, David Henry Hwang, More Inducted Into Theater Hall of Fame November 12". Playbill. November 12, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
- WORLD EXCLUSIVE! New Confirmed Casting For the INTO THE WOODS Movie, Starring Streep & Depp Broadway World, Retrieved July 27, 2013
- "Christine Baranski: Wasn't Me on 'The Brady Bunch'!". blog.blogtalkradio.com. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
- "Dick and the Single Girl". 11 May 1997. Retrieved 29 July 2018 – via www.imdb.com.
- Starr, Michael (28 April 1999). "Resurgent 'Frasier' takes on Dr. Laura". Deseret News. Deseret News Publishing Company. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
- 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.
- 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.
- Poniewozik, James. "Review: On ‘The Good Fight,’ a Lawyer Claws Her Way Back to Normal" New York Times, February 16, 2017
- Simonson, Robert. "Matthew Cowles, Actor and Husband of Christine Baranski, Dies" Archived 2014-05-27 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, May 27, 2014
- Klein, Alvin (January 25, 1998). "THEATER; Being Irish And Being Married". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- 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.
- ‘Miss Sloane’ review: An intriguing character who needs a more intriguing film Seattle Times, Retrieved December 8, 2016
- "Filmography by TV series for Christine Baranski". IMDb.com. Retrieved April 14, 2013.
- "Meet Hessonite, the Villainous New Steven Universe Gem Voiced by Christine Baranski". www.themarysue.com. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
- "Unleash the Light". App Store. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
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