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Christine Baranski

Christine Baranski

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Also Known As: Christine Jane Baranski Died:
Born: May 2, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Buffalo, New York, USA Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Christine Baranski was an American actress who used her razor sharp wit and statuesque good looks to become one of the most memorable faces in entertainment for decades, especially on television, where she racked up an astounding 15 Primetime Emmy nominations. Born on May 2, 1952 in Buffalo, New York, Baranski caught the acting bug from her grandparents, who were actors in the Polish theater. She studied acting at the Juilliard School in New York City, graduating with a BFA in 1974. Baranski's first professional acting job was an appearance on the short-lived sitcom "Busting Loose" (CBS, 1977) in 1977. She made her off-Broadway debut in 1980, appearing in "Coming Attractions" at Playwrights Horizons. Two years later, Baranski made her film debut with a cameo role in 'Soup for One" (1982). A few years of small roles and cameos followed before Baranski made a big splash, co-starring in the erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks" (1986), alongside Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. Her next big break came when she played Becky Martin-Granger in the smash hit sequel "Addams Family Values" (1993). However, Baranski's true break came when she was cast as Maryanne Thorpe, the sarcastic, hard-drinking best friend of Cybill...

Christine Baranski was an American actress who used her razor sharp wit and statuesque good looks to become one of the most memorable faces in entertainment for decades, especially on television, where she racked up an astounding 15 Primetime Emmy nominations. Born on May 2, 1952 in Buffalo, New York, Baranski caught the acting bug from her grandparents, who were actors in the Polish theater. She studied acting at the Juilliard School in New York City, graduating with a BFA in 1974. Baranski's first professional acting job was an appearance on the short-lived sitcom "Busting Loose" (CBS, 1977) in 1977. She made her off-Broadway debut in 1980, appearing in "Coming Attractions" at Playwrights Horizons. Two years later, Baranski made her film debut with a cameo role in 'Soup for One" (1982). A few years of small roles and cameos followed before Baranski made a big splash, co-starring in the erotic drama "9 1/2 Weeks" (1986), alongside Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. Her next big break came when she played Becky Martin-Granger in the smash hit sequel "Addams Family Values" (1993). However, Baranski's true break came when she was cast as Maryanne Thorpe, the sarcastic, hard-drinking best friend of Cybill Shepherd's title character in the popular sitcom "Cybill" (CBS, 1995-98). Baranski was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for each season that the show was on the air, winning once, for the first season. She also received an Emmy nomination around this time for her guest appearance on a 1999 episode of "Frasier" (NBC, 1993-2004) in which she played an intimidating radio psychiatrist who becomes a nemesis for Dr. Frasier Crane. After "Cybill" ended, Baranski co-starred on two short-lived sitcoms, "Welcome to New York" (CBS, 2000-01), and "Happy Family" (NBC, 2003-04), before returning to the big screen to appear as one of Meryl Streep's best friends, Tanya Chesham-Leigh in the ABBA musical "Mamma Mia!" (2006). In 2009, Baranski made her first appearance as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, the emotionally aloof psychiatrist and neuroscientist mother to Johnny Galecki's Dr. Leonard Hofstadter on the mega hit sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" (CBS, 2007-2019). She would receive yet another Emmy nomination for her performance, and go on to reprise the role in over ten more episodes. That same year, Baranski took on the role of Diane Lockhart on the legal drama "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009-2016). She received another six Emmy nods for the role, and her character proved to be so popular that when the series ended in 2016, she was given her own spinoff, "The Good Fight" (CBS, 2017-). Baranski could next be seen reprising her role as Tanya Chesham-Leigh in the hit sequel "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again!" (2018).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Trolls (2016)
4.
 Miss Sloane (2016)
5.
 Yellowbird (2014)
6.
 Into the Woods (2014)
7.
8.
9.
 Mamma Mia! (2008)
10.
 Bonneville (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

2006:
Played the title role in the Broadway revival of "Mame" at the Kennedy Center
1976:
Appeared in a Baltimore production of "She Stoops to Conquer"
1999:
Garnered an Emmy nomination for her memorable guest appearance on NBC's "Frasier" as radio host Dr. Nora
1998:
Had featured role as a rauchy biker chick in "The Odd Couple II"
1985:
Replaced Judith Ivey on the Broadway stage in the acclaimed production of David Rabe's play, "Hurlyburly"
1986:
Replaced Stockard Channing as Bunny Flingus in the acclaimed Broadway revival of John Guare's comedy-drama, "The House of Blue Leaves" (reprised role in the TV version)
1997:
Starred in the Encores! presentation of "Promises, Promises" opposite Martin Short at Manhattan's City Center
1991:
Starred in the ill-fated musical "Nick and Nora"
2004:
Appeared in the comedy "Welcome to Mooseport"
2003:
Appeared in the Hollywood/Bollywood satire "The Guru"
1998:
Played the wife of Warren Beatty's suicidal US Senator in the political comedy "Bulworth"
1990:
Portrayed Andrea Reynolds opposite Irons' Claus von Bulow and Close's Sunny von Bulow in "Reversal of Fortune"
1976:
Was a member of the company of the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey
1991:
Appeared in "Lips Together, Teeth Apart" at the Manhattan Theatre Club
2002:
Cast as Mrs. Lovett in the Kennedy Center production of "Sweeney Todd"
1999:
Played fading diva opposite Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy in the comedy "Bowfinger"
2008:
Starred in the Broadway revival of "Boeing-Boeing"
2016:
Played opposite Jessica Chastain in the thriller "Miss Sloane"
2017:
Appeared in "A Bad Moms Christmas"
1986:
Co-starred in "9 1/2 Weeks."
2008:
Co-starred in successful ABBA musical "Mamma Mia!"
2009:
Co-starred as Diane Lockhart on "The Good Wife."
2003:
Played Annie Brennan on sitcom "Happy Family."
1982:
Made film debut in "Soup for One."
1984:
First garnered attention as a meter maid in Louis Malle's comedy "Crackers"
2002:
Played reporter Mary Sunshine in the film version of "Chicago"
1984:
Co-starred with Glenn Close in Tom Stoppard's Broadway comedy "The Real Thing"; directed by Mike Nichols
1994:
Delivered another gemlike comic performance as Kevin Spacey's hoity-toity sister-in-law in "The Ref"
2000:
Starred on sitcom "Welcome to New York."
1980:
Had supporting role in the landmark CBS TV drama "Playing for Time"
1996:
Appeared as Robin Williams' ex-wife in the Mike Nichols-directed "The Birdcage"
1988:
Co-starred on Broadway in the Neil Simon comedy "Rumors"; picked up second Tony Award
2009:
Made first appearance as Dr. Beverly Hofstadter on "The Big Bang Theory."
2000:
Had featured role as the title character's childhood sweetheart in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
1993:
Played Becky Martin-Granger in "Addams Family Values."
1999:
Returned to the stage as Mrs. Lovett in L.A.'s Reprise! concert production of "Sweeney Todd," co-starring Grammer
1995:
Landed breakout role as Maryanne Thorpe on "Cybill."
1980:
Made Broadway debut in "Hide and Seek"
2017:
Reprised Diane Lockhart role on "The Good Fight"
2018:
Returned for ABBA musical sequel "Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."
1977:
Made TV debut on "Busting Loose."
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The Juilliard School: New York, New York - 1974

Notes

"It's just beginning to come out in the press that I don't watch TV. With my network [CBS] in terrible straits, I'm not sure announcing that is the best thing I can do." --Christine Baranski quoted in US, December 1995,

"I have a career, a spouse to attend to, children I want to raise to be fabulous people. But 20 years from now, I want to reread my favorite novel, "Portrait of a Lady", in my house while my grandchildren play. And I want to know that though I've been to the party and had a very good time, I can now retreat from worldly things--not take them so seriously, you know?" --Baranski to US, December 1995.

"For years I'd held out against doing network TV. But it had become clear I couldn't make much money in theater. I'd given up work for a year waiting for 'Nick and Nora' and been burned. I was around a long time doing challenging work, and when I was doing 'Lips Together' [a 1991 play Terrence McNally wrote with her in mind] my character never stopped talking and I came home with less than $300 a week.

And here I sit two-and-a-hlaf years later, and my daughters' entire college education is paid for." --Baranski quoted in Newsday, March 20, 1997.

"I've been doing more and more singing because it's my theory that it may get harder for actresses to age in front of a camera and to maintain their stellar presence. But if you can sing in a nightclub, the older you are, the more textured your artistry. So I intend to put together a cabaret act." --Baranski quoted in Newsday, August 12, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Matthew Cowles. Actor. Married on October 15, 1983; best-known for his role as Billy Clyde Tuggle on the ABC daytime soap "All My Children".

Family close complete family listing

father:
Lucien Baranski. Newspaper editor. Edited a Polish-language newspaper.
mother:
Virginia Baranski.
daughter:
Lily Cowles. Born c. 1984; father, Matthew Cowles.
daughter:
Isabel Cowles. Born c. 1987; father, Matthew Cowles.
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