• Golden Globe Awards

Nominee Profile 2022: Christine Baranski, “The Good Fight”

Two-time Tony award-winner Christine Baranski always wanted to be onstage. “When I was at Juilliard, the whole training was about being a theater actor, and that was my dream — to be a great stage actress. I never thought of having a major film career. I didn’t think I had that kind of a look. I resisted television,” she told the New Yorker in 2021. Then she was sent a script of Cybill, the sitcom headlined by Cybill Shepherd. “It was this witty, martini-swirling, sophisticated character, and I said, ‘I know how to play this role.’ But the overriding reason I did it — and I did it with extreme reluctance — was it became clear that a theater career was not going to pay the bills.” Baranski was in her forties at the time.
For that role, Baranski won an Emmy and was twice nominated for a Golden Globe. Now she is nominated again for a Globe for her performance in The Good Fight, a spin-off of The Good Wife, in which she reprises her character, lawyer Diane Lockhart, for the 12th year. “I think I was in my 50s when we started,” she told the HFPA in 2020. “What’s very important to me as an actress is not to fall into some stereotype of what an older woman is or what her limitations are … it has given me the greatest pleasure to play a woman of such high intelligence, impeccable professionalism, who is a woman like myself, a liberal and a feminist and a fighter and someone who uses her anger and her intelligence to fight a good fight.”
Baranski was born on May 2, 1952, in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Polish immigrants, and grew up in a creative household – her grandparents had been actors in Poland, her parents sang in a group. She attended New York City’s Juilliard drama school and graduated in 1974. Stage success came early, and she won two Tony awards for her work in The Real Thing and Rumors.
Among her other television credits, Baranski also appeared in The Big Bang Theory as a guest actor earning four Emmy nominations. She also found time to appear in several movies, among them, Reversal of Fortune (1990), Addams Family Values (1993), The Birdcage (1996), Bowfinger (1999), Chicago (2002), Mamma Mia! (2008) and its sequel Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).
Baranski appeared alongside Meryl Streep and Audra MacDonald (all in their bathrobes) on Zoom singing “Ladies Who Lunch” from Stephen Sondheim’s Company in tribute to the composer for his 90th birthday celebration in 2020. The show was aired on broadway.com and YouTube, and the rollicking clips of the seemingly sozzled ladies swilling red wine went viral.
She will next be seen in Julian FellowesThe Gilded Age on HBO in January 2022.
Baranski was married to actor Matthew Cowles in 1983 until his death in 2014. She has two daughters and three grandchildren.