Designer label-clad force of nature, neurotic diva, and the owner of one of the most expansive mouths in the free world, Christine Baranski is one of the more distinctive actresses working on the stage and screen today. Known to television audiences for her portrayal of Cybill Shepard's brassy and unapologetically arrogant best friend on the sitcom Cybill, Baranski has also made a name for herself on the New York stage, where she has won a number of awards, and has worked as a character actress on a variety of films.
Born in Buffalo, New York, on May 2, 1952, Baranski was influenced from a young age by her Polish grandparents, who were both actors. After studying acting at Julliard, she began working on the New York stage and on various TV shows, and made her film debut in 1982. The stage proved to be a particularly good medium for Baranski's talents; a staple of many New York productions, the actress earned Tony Awards and a number of other honors for her work in the Broadway productions of Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing and Neil Simon's Rumors.
Usually cast as a supporting player onscreen, Baranski has done particularly notable work in Jeffrey (1995), in which she played a New York socialite; The Birdcage (1996), which featured her as the brassy mother of Robin Williams' grown son; and Cruel Intentions (1999), in which she did another hilarious turn as a New York socialite. In one of her rare excursions as a lead, Baranski gave a memorable performance as a struggling actress in Bowfinger (1999), sharing the screen with the likes of Steve Martin, Heather Graham, and Eddie Murphy.
In 2002 Baranski appeared in the Best Picture Oscar winner Chicago, and she continued to work steadily on TV, in movies, and on stage appearing in projects as diverse as Eloise at the Plaza, Welcome to Mooseport, and the smash hit adaptation of the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! In 2009 she began work on the well-respected CBS drama series The Good Wife opposite Julianna Margulies.