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Christine Jane Baranski (born May 2, 1952) is an American stage and screen actress.

Personal life

Baranski was born in Buffalo, New Yorkmarker, 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 attended Villa Maria Academymarker, after which she studied at Juilliardmarker. She has been married to actor Matthew Cowles since 1983. They have two daughters.



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 Clubmarker, starting with Sally and Marsha in 1982.

Baranski made her Broadwaymarker 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, Regrets Only, Nick & Nora, and the Encores! concert staging of Follies.

At the Kennedy Centermarker in Washingtonmarker DC, Baranski starred as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd in 2002 and as Mame 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.

She has won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards twice.She is also known for her role as Martha May Whovier in The Grinch

Film career

Baranski has also stared in various roles in films and television. In film, some of her most notable roles included that Katheryn Archer in The Birdcage and newspaper journalist Miss Sunshine in the 2002 film adaption of Chicago.

Television work

Baranski's earliest work was on The Golden Palace opposite from Betty White, Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty, Don Cheadle, and Cheech Marin. She is the hotel's famous celebrity who lives at The Golden Palace. She is a very ditsy woman, she gets very annoyed with Sophia most of the time, she is a favorite to Blanche, with whom she shares a lot in common. She also has a secret crush on Roland the Manager.

Baranski was featured as Cybill Shepherd's 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.

In 1999 Baranski received an Emmy nomination for a guest starring role as an intimidating radio psychiatrist on an episode of the NBC series Frasier. She 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.

She later appeared in the 2000–2001 sitcom Welcome to New York and, with John Larroquette, in the 2003–2004 NBC sitcom Happy Family. She also appeared in the classic sitcom The Brady Bunch playing Paula, a friend of Marcia's who gets Marcia into trouble at a slumber party. 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.

She guest starred as a geeky Dr. Beverly Hofstadter, a bespectacled and unemotional expert in psychiatry and neural science, and Leonard's mom, in a season two episode of The Big Bang Theory titled "The Maternal Capacitance", for which she received an Emmy nomination.

She portrayed a librarian named Sonja Umdahl in the episode "Dick and the Single Girl" of the series 3rd Rock from the Sun.

In 2009, Baranski appeared on Ugly Betty as Victoria Hartley, the haughty mother of Betty's new boyfriend.

She has also been set to guest star on the USA television show Psych for their season premiere.


Year Film Role Notes
1970 Brady Bunch Season 2, Episode 3: "The Slumber Caper" Paula TV
1980 Playing for Time Olga TV
1982 A Midsummer Night's Dream Helena TV
1982 Soup for One Blonde in Bar
1983 Lovesick Nymphomaniac
1984 Crackers Maxine
1985 Big Shots in America (Unknown) TV
1986 Nine 1/2 Weeks Thea
1986 Legal Eagles Carol Freeman TV
1987 The House of Blue Leaves Bunny Flingus
1987 The Pick-up Artist Harriet TV
1990 Reversal of Fortune Andrea Reynolds, Claus' Girlfriend
1992–1993 The Golden Palace Debra Carmichael TV
1993 The Night We Never Met Lucy
1993 Life with Mikey Carol TV
1993 Addams Family Values Becky Martin-Granger
1993 To Dance with the White Dog Kate TV
1994 The Ref Connie Chasseur
1994 Getting In Mrs. Margaret "Maggie" Higgs
1994 The War Miss Strapford
1995–1998 Cybill Maryanne Thorpe TV—87 episodesWon an Emmy Award (1995)

Nominated for an Emmy Award (1996)

Nominated for an Emmy Award (1997)

Nominated for an Emmy Award (1998)

Nominated for a Golden Globe (1996)

Nominated for a Golden Globe (1997)

Won a Screen Actors Guild Award (1996)

Nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award (1997)

Nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award (1996)

Won a American Comedy Award

Won a Viewers for Quality Television Awards
1995 New Jersey Drive Prosecutor
1995 Jeffrey Ann Marwood Bartle
1996 The Birdcage Katherine Archer Won Screen Actors Guild Awards
1998 The Odd Couple II Thelma
1998 Bulworth Constance Bulworth
1999 Cruel Intentions Bunny Caldwell
1999 Bowfinger Carol
1999 Now and Again Ruth Bender Uncredited
1999 Frasier Dr. Nora Fairchild TV—1 episodeNominated American Comedy Award

Nominated for an Emmy
2000–2001 Welcome to New York Marsha Bickner TV—13 episodes
2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas Martha May Whovier Nominated Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
2002 The Guru Shantal
2002 Chicago Miss Sunshine Won BFCAAWon PFCA

Nominated Screen Actors Guild Awards
2002 Speed Racer X Trixie Fontaine
2003 Eloise at the Plaza Prunella Stickler
2003 Marci X Mary Ellen Spinkle
2003 Eloise at Christmastime Prunella Stickler
2003–2004 Happy Family Annie Brennan TV—22 episodes
2004 Spellbound None TV
2004 Welcome to Mooseport Charlotte Cole
2005 Scooby Doo in Where's My Mummy? Andrea Von Butch voice role
2005 Recipe for a Perfect Christmas Lee Bellmont TV
2006 Inseparable Barbara
2006 East Broadway Bree
2006 Relative Strangers Arleen Clayton Directed by Greg Glienna
2006 Bonneville Francine
2008 Mamma Mia! Tanya
2009 Ugly Betty Victoria Hartley TV—4 episodes
2009 The Good Wife Diane Lockhart TV—8 episodes (as of November 2009; the show is currently scheduled for 22 episodes)
2010 The Bounty Hunter (Unknown) Completed





  1. Christine Baranski - Family and Companions - Yahoo!7 Movies
  2. Christine Baranski Biography (1952-)
  3. Western New York Public Broadcasting Association
  4. THEATER; Being Irish And Being Married - New York Times
  5. For Baranski, A Most Meaty Opportunity; In 'Sweeney Todd,' Actress Sinks Her Teeth Into a Singing Role | Article from The Washington Post | HighBeam Research
  6. Brantlry, Ben. "Adding Love To the Pies' Time-Tested Recipe", New York Times, May 15, 2002
  7. Gans, Andrew. "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Mame's Christine Baranski Plus Wicked News", June 16, 2006
  8. Simonson, Robert. "PLAYBILL.COM'S BRIEF ENCOUNTER With Christine Baranski",, May 7, 2008
  9. Gans, Andrew. "Starry A Little Night Music Concert Presented in Manhattan Jan. 12",, January 12, 2009
  10. "3rd Rock from the Sun"; Dick and the Single Girl (1997) — Internet Movie Database

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