Christine Jane Baranski is an Emmy-, SAG-, Tony- and Drama Desk award-winning American stage and screen actress.
Baranski was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Virginia (née Mazerowski) 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 Academy, after which she studied at Juilliard. 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 Club, starting with Sally and Marsha in 1982.
Baranski made her Broadway debut in Hide and 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 Center in Washington 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 McCormick (Gretchen). Cast replacements for Boeing-Boeing included Greg Germann (as Bernard), Paige Davis (Gloria), Missi Pyle (Gretchen) and Rebecca Gayheart (Gabriella). The show closed on January 4, 2009.
She also appeared in a one night only benefit performance of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music for Roundabout Theatre Company on January 12, 2009. he cast included Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Victor Garber, and Marc Kudisch, among others.
She has won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards twice.
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 at the slumber party, who gets Marcia into trouble. 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 Gordon in Ghost Whisperer.
In 2009, she will play bespectacled science geek Leonard’s mom on The Big Bang Theory.
Her film credits include Legal Eagles, Addams Family Values, Chicago, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Eloise at Christmastime , The Guru, Bulworth, Bowfinger, The Birdcage, Cruel Intentions, Falling for Grace, and Mamma Mia!.