“The Gilded Age” Star Christine Baranski Covers Town & Country Magazine

Posted on January 31, 2022

Christine Baranski is featured on the digital cover of Town & Country magazine photographed Emilio Madrid by and styled by MaryKate Boylan.

For years, the award-winning actress Christine Baranski has been the definition of on-screen sophistication. Now, a starring role on HBO’s “The Gilded Age” brings her arched eyebrow and sharp wit to the upper crust of 19th-century New York City.



On the type of characters Baranski is drawn to: “It’s funny because I’m from this blue-collar neighborhood in Buffalo. I don’t know how it happened but I always wanted to play queens or ladies rather than victims. I was never good at playing victims. I was always better at playing the character of the woman who was more in command of her life.”

On living in New York during her time at Juilliard: “It was so exciting to be at Juilliard at that time,” she says, remembering how she would get cheap tickets to the ballet, the opera, and the Philharmonic. “It was before Wall Street appropriated New York and turned it into a city where you couldn’t afford to live. I didn’t have any money and somehow I saw great things and had a wonderful time.”

On preparing for her role on The Gilded Age and learning about her husband’s family, the Drexels, and their significance to that era: “I was, of course, immersing myself in research on the Gilded Age. And I realized more deeply how connected my late husband’s family had been,” she says, calling out associations with bankers, philanthropists, society women, gay men who married for money, and even a distant cousin, Catherine Drexel, who gave up her fortune to found a religious order, and would later go on to become one of the first U.S. born saints canonized by the Catholic church. “If you want to look any of these people up, you will be drawn into a rabbit hole of interest,” she tells me, matter of fact.

Julian Fellowes, creator of The Gilded Age, on how the show explores class dynamics and how much like today, the end of the 19th century was a period of great change, and one of enormous wealth inequality: “When we were filming, [Jeff] Bezos and whoever the other one was had their rocket race to get to the moon. And I loved that, because it just felt to me exactly what the Gilded Age people would’ve done if they’d had any rockets.”

Julian Fellowes on comparing The Gilded Age and Downton Abbey, which Fellowes also created, and how Agnes serves as a parallel to the Dowager Countess, played by Dame Maggie Smith: “These rather WASPish, but essentially kindhearted, older women—that seems to be one of my hallmarks. In practically everything I’ve ever written, you’ll find one of them,” says Fellowes, but he hesitates to compare Smith and Baranski outright. “I don’t know there’s all that much point in comparing Maggie and Christine, except to say they’re both jolly good. But I’ll tell you what they can both do, is they can play high comedy and then one or two scenes later make you cry. They don’t turn into someone else, they’re true to their characters, but they can take you through that range of emotions.”


[Photo Credit: Emilio Madrid/Town & Country Magazine]

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