Versatile actress, Christine Baranski, currently portrays tough-as-nails attorney, Diane Lockhart in “The Good Wife,” but the 58-year-old actress has done it all in a career entering its 45th year. Christine has appeared on Broadway (Rumors, The Real Thing), in TV movies (Recipe for a Perfect Christmas) and popular TV series (Psych, Ugly Betty), on the big screen (Mamma Mia) and has even done voiceover work (How the Grinch Stole Christmas as Martha May Whovier).
While she is much admired for her comic flair, Christine has proven to be equally adept in serious roles. In terms of being best known for, Baranski’s current stint on “The Good Wife,” as Diane Lockhart, may very well eclipse her well-known role as Cybill Shepherd’s best friend, Maryanne, a “martini swilling, decadent, middle-aged woman” on the long-running series, “Cybill.” Christine appeared in 87 episodes of “Cybill” and is running about half of that on “The Good Wife” as of this writing.
Born in Buffalo on May 2, 1952, Christine attended Villa Maria Academy, an all-girls high school, where she played the role of “Mame” in a high school play. She would one day reprise the role at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. After high school, Christine studied at the prestigious Juilliard School in the heart of Manhattan, but was already a working actress before she graduated and couldn’t even attend her own graduation as a result.
On Broadway, Christine appeared in “Hide and Seek” for a whole week when she was offered a role in TV movie, “Playing for Time” (1980). A few years later, Christine tried her hand at the soaps, appearing on “Another World” and “All My Children.” Christine met her future husband, Matthew Cowles, while doing a play in Garden City, Long Island. Matthew is also an “All My Children” alumni, having portrayed Tad Martin’s nemesis, the villainous Billy Clyde Tuggle.
When Matthew took Christine off on his motorcycle, she says, “I got this sense of destiny that this was the guy.” Christine’s premonition became a reality when she and Matthew married on October 15, 1983 and went on to raise two lovely girls, Lily and Isabel, in a country atmosphere in Connecticut. Lily is currently getting her Masters Degree at Oxford University. Isabel writes a cooking blog called “Bread and Courage.”
There is one mystery about Christine that she would really like cleared up. Was she ever an actress as a child going by the name of Chris Charney? She emphatically tells BlogTalk Radio that she was NEVER a child actress: “I was never, never on The Brady Bunch. I wish I could shout it from the rooftops.” IMDB still has several “as Chris Charney” listings on Christine’s profile, while Wikipedia has corrected its initial reporting.
They say we all have our doubles in this world and the little girl playing Paula on “The Brady Bunch” does bear an uncanny resemblance to what Christine may have looked like at the age of 14. The girl is also pretty tall compared to the other children in another scene where the kids are all standing. As an adult, Christine Baranski is 5’10”, and that may have been an additional observation on the part of the person who decided that Paula was Christine.
You can see for yourself since “The Slumber Caper” is on YouTube. Paula, who says that Greg Brady is the cutest guy she knows, shows up in Part 2. Just remember, that’s not Christine Baranski!
Playbill: Diva Talk (2006)
WebMD: The Good Wife’s Christine Baranski Talks About Good Living