Renowned Speakers

on the Saroyan Stage

Christine Baranski

American Actress

“From Broadway to Hollywood: An Actor’s Journey”

February 21, 2024 | 10:30am | William Saroyan Theatre

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.

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”.