Christine Jane Baranski
May 2, 1952
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Juilliard School (BFA)|
(m. 1983; died 2014)
|Children||2, including Lily Cowles|
Christine Jane Baranski (born May 2, 1952) is an American actress. She is a 15-time Primetime Emmy Award nominee, winning once in 1995 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Maryann Thorpe in the sitcom Cybill (1995–1998). Baranski has received further critical acclaim for her performance as Diane Lockhart in the legal drama series The Good Wife (2009–2016) and its spin-off series The Good Fight (2017–2022).
Baranski has appeared in several television films, including To Dance with the White Dog (1993), Eloise at the Plaza and Eloise at Christmastime (both 2003), and Who Is Simon Miller? (2011). Her 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 also appeared in numerous films, such as Reversal of Fortune (1990), The Birdcage (1996), Cruel Intentions (1999), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), Chicago (2002), Mamma Mia (2008), Into the Woods (2014), and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).
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. For her recurring role as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter in the sitcom The Big Bang Theory (2009–2019), she received four Emmy Award nominations.
Baranski was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Virginia (née Mazurowska) and Lucien Baranski, who edited a Polish-language newspaper. She had an older brother, Michael J. Baranski (1949–1998), who was an advertising executive and who died at age 48. She is of Polish descent, and her grandparents were stage actors in Poland before emigrating to America. Baranski was raised in a heavily Polish and Roman Catholic neighborhood in the Buffalo suburb of Cheektowaga. She attended high school at the Villa Maria Academy where she was class president and salutatorian. She later studied at New York City's Juilliard School (Drama Division Group 3: 1970–1974), where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine 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, Baranski 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.
Baranski 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.
Baranski has won both the Tony Award and Drama Desk Awards twice. In 2018, she was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Baranski has 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 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).
Baranski played Cinderella's stepmother in the 2014 film adaptation of the musical Into the Woods.
Baranski appeared in the films 9½ Weeks (1986), Legal Eagles (1986), Reversal of Fortune (1990), Addams Family Values (1993), Jeffrey (1995), "The Odd Couple II" (1998) Bulworth (1998), Cruel Intentions (1999), Bowfinger (1999), Chicago (2002), Trolls (2016) and A Bad Moms Christmas (2017).
Baranski 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 Maryann 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 appeared in a total of 16 episodes during the show's run, earning four Emmy nominations for her recurring role.
From 2009 to 2016, Baranski 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.
From 2017 to 2022, Baranski starred in the CBS spinoff of The Good Wife, titled The Good Fight. Her character, Diane Lockhart, joins another law firm after being forced to return to work. In the 79th Golden Globe Awards, she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her work in the fifth season of the show.
Although recognized for her versatility across genres and performing media, Baranski is particularly known for playing sophisticated and highly educated upper-class women. Consequently, the media began alluding to the resemblance between this repeated on-screen persona and Baranski's real personality. Caroline Hallemann of Town & Country notes that, "For years, the award-winning actress has been the definition of on-screen sophistication". In 2017, the actress told Zac Posen for Interview Magazine, "What I’m getting at is if your career is not predicated on just your physical beauty, you’re able to project a sophistication. You can take sophisticated to your grave. You can be that worldly woman, that woman who looks beautiful dressed up." On the other hand, however, Baranski humorously addressed these claims during her appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, "Everybody thinks this is, you know, this sophisticated lady, this New York type, these characters that I play, they think that's me. They should be in a room alone with me when I watch the Buffalo Bills. It is loud".
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 lives in Connecticut.
|1982||Soup for One||Blonde in Bar|
|Legal Eagles||Carol Freeman|
|1987||The Pick-up Artist||Harriet|
|1990||Reversal of Fortune||Andrea Reynolds|
|1993||The Night We Never Met||Lucy|
|Life with Mikey||Carol|
|Addams Family Values||Becky Martin-Granger|
|1994||The Ref||Connie Chasseur|
|Getting In||Mrs. Margaret "Maggie" Higgs|
|The War||Miss Strapford|
|1995||New Jersey Drive||Prosecutor|
|Jeffrey||Ann Marwood Bartle|
|1996||The Birdcage||Katherine Archer|
|1998||The Odd Couple II||Thelma|
|1999||Cruel Intentions||Bunny Caldwell|
|2000||How the Grinch Stole Christmas||Martha May Whovier|
|2001||Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse||Featherduster|
|2003||Marci X||Mary Ellen Spinkle|
|Eloise at the Plaza||Prunella Stickler|
|2004||Welcome to Mooseport||Charlotte Cole|
|2005||Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy?||Amelia Von Butch (voice)|
|2006||Falling for Grace||Bree|
|Relative Strangers||Arleen Clayton|
|2008||Mamma Mia!||Tanya Chesham-Leigh|
|2010||The Bounty Hunter||Kitty Hurley|
|2012||Foodfight!||Hedda Shopper (voice)|
|2014||Into the Woods||Cinderella's Stepmother|
|Miss Sloane||Evelyn Sumner|||
|2017||A Bad Moms Christmas||Ruth|
|2018||Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again||Tanya Chesham-Leigh|
|2020||Christmas on the Square||Regina Fuller|
|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||Maryann Thorpe||Main role|
|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"|
|1999||Get Bruce!||Herself||Documentary movie|
|2000–01||Welcome to New York||Marsha Bickner||Main role|
|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||Main role|
|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||2 episodes|
|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"|
|The Big Bang Theory||Dr. Beverly Hofstadter||Recurring role|
|2009–16||The Good Wife||Diane Lockhart||Main role|
|2011||Who Is Simon Miller?||Amanda||TV movie|
|2011||Ugly Americans||Grimes' Mummy (voice)||Episode: "Mummy Dearest"|
|2013–18||Family Guy||Various voices||2 episodes|
|2015–19||BoJack Horseman||Amanda Hannity (voice)||2 episodes|
|2017||Regular Show||Guardian (voice)||Episode: "A Regular Epic Final Battle"|
|2017–2022||The Good Fight||Diane Lockhart||Main role; Also producer|
|2017||Michael Jackson's Halloween||Mrs. Grau (voice)||TV special|
|2017–19||Spirit Riding Free||Miz McDonnell (voice)||2 episodes|
|2018||Fancy Nancy||Mrs. Devine (voice)||2 episodes|
|2019||Young Sheldon||Beverly Hofstadter (voice)||Episode: "A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast"|
|2019||Archibald's Next Big Thing||Madame Baroness (voice)||Episode: "Best in Showbot/The Secret of Madame Baroness"|
|2019||The Bravest Knight||The Dragon (voice)||2 episodes|
|2020||Magical Girl Friendship Squad||Verus (voice)||3 episodes|
|2021||Fairfax||Joyce (voice)||Episode: "Fairfolks"|
|2021||The Simpsons||Herself (voice)||Episode: "Portrait of a Lackey on Fire"|
|2022–present||The Gilded Age||Agnes van Rhijn||Main role|
|2022||The Loud House||Joyce Crandall (voice)||Episode: "Save Royal Woods!"|
|1974||'Tis Pity She's A Whore||Annabella||McCarter Theatre|
|1974||Romeo and Juliet||Lady Capulet||American Shakespeare Festival|
|1974||Cat on a Hot Tin Roof||Margaret||American Shakespeare Festival, double-cast|
|1974||Twelfth Night||Lady-in-Waiting||American Shakespeare Festival|
|1975||The Cherry Orchard||Danyasha||Center Stage Theatre|
|1975||Tartuffe||Dorina||Center Stage Theatre|
|1976||Misalliance||Lina Szczepanowska||Center Stage Theatre|
|1976||She Stoops To Conquer||Constance||Center Stage Theatre|
|1977||Private Lives||Amanda or Sibyl (?)||Cohoes Music Hall|
|1977||Angel City||Miss Scoons||McCarter Theatre|
|1977||Otherwise Engaged||Davina Saunders||U.S. cities tour|
|1978||Born Yesterday||Billie Dawn||Center Stage Theatre|
|1978||One Crack Out||Wanda||Marymount Manhattan Theatre|
|1978||Much Ado About Nothing||Beatrice||Annenberg Center, American Shakespeare Festival|
|1979||Says I, Says He||Maeve Macpherson||Marymount Manhattan Theatre|
|1979||The Shadow of a Gunman||Minnie Powell||Symphony Space|
|1980||Lady of The Diamond||Connie Weaver||Studio Arena|
|1980||The Trouble with Europe||Amanda Gracie, Madame Igrec,
and second underworld figure
|Marymount Manhattan Theatre|
|1980||Hide & Seek||Elly Bart||Broadway|
|1980||Coming Attractions||Miss America||Playwrights Horizons|
|1981||Talley's Folly||Sally Talley||Studio Arena|
|1981||Operation Midnight Climax||Angela||Off-Center Theatre|
|1982||A Midsummer Night's Dream||Helena||American Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre|
|1982||Sally and Marsha||Marsha||Manhattan Theatre Club|
|1982||Blithe Spirit||Elvira||McCarter Theatre|
|1982||The Undefeated Rumba Champ||Miss Harris||Ensemble Studio Theater|
|1983||Sunday in the Park with George||Clarisse (later named Yvonne),
|1984||The Real Thing||Charlotte||Plymouth Theatre|
|1985||Hurlyburly||Bonnie||Ethel Barrymore Theatre|
|1986||The House of Blue Leaves||Bunny Flingus||Vivian Beaumont Theatre, Plymouth Theatre|
|1986||It's Only a Play||Julia Budder||Manhattan Theatre Club|
|1988||Hedda Gabler||Hedda Gabler||Studio Arena|
|1988||Rumors||Chris Gorman||Broadhurst Theatre|
|1989||Assassins||Performer (reading)||Playwrights Horizons|
|1990||Elliot Loves||Joanna||Goodman Theatre|
|1991||Lips Together, Teeth Apart||Chloe Haddock||New York City Center Stage I, Lucille Lortel Theatre|
|1991||Nick & Nora||Tracy Gardner||Marriott Marquis Theatre|
|1993||The Loman Family Picnic||Doris||Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I|
|1994||The Petrified Prince||Queen Katarina (?) (reading)||Joseph Papp Public Theater|
|1997||Promises, Promises||Marge MacDougall||Encores!, City Center Theatre|
|1998||Mizlansky/Zilinsky or "Schmucks"||Sylvia Zilinsky (voice)||Manhattan Theatre Club Stage I|
|1999||Sweeney Todd||Mrs. Lovett||Ahmanson Theatre|
|2002||Sweeney Todd||Mrs. Lovett||Kennedy Center|
|2002||Sondheim Concert Spectacular||Herself||David Geffen Hall|
|2002||The Threepenny Opera||Mrs. Peachum (reading)||Roundabout Theatre Company|
|2004||Dinner||Paige (reading)||Royal National Theatre/Loft|
|2006||Mame||Mame Dennis||Kennedy Center|
|2007||Follies||Carlotta Campion||Encores!, New York City Center|
|2007||The Sisters Rosensweig||Gorgeous Teitelbaum (reading)||Vivian Beaumont Theater|
|2007||Regrets Only||Tibby McCullough||New York City Center Stage I|
|2009||A Little Night Music||Countess Charlotte Malcolm||Roundabout Theatre Company|
|2009||Love, Loss, and What I Wore||Performer (reading)||DR2 Theatre|
|2013||On Your Toes||Peggy Porterfield||Encores!, New York City Center|
|2015||Follies||Phyllis Rogers Stone||Royal Albert Hall|
|2016||White Rabbit Red Rabbit||Performer (replacement)||Westside Theatre|
|2013||Skylanders: Swap Force||Kaos' Mother|
|2017||Steven Universe: Save the Light||Hessonite|
|2019||Steven Universe: Unleash the Light|
|1992||A Christmas Memory||Female cousin (Sook in later adaptations)||Short autobiographical story|
|1994||Unsung Musicals||Performer||Song: Sherry! from: Sherry!|
|2002||Short Talks on the Universe||Maria||Story: "3 A.M."|
|2019–20||The Two Princes||Queen Lavinia||Audio drama, 3 seasons|