christine baranski the good wife the ref midsummer nights dream 'The Good Wife's' Christine Baranski before the Emmys: 'The Ref' and 'Midsummer Night's Dream'Welcome to Before They Were Emmy Nominees.
Each Tuesday and Wednesday between now and the Emmy Awards on Sept. 22,
we’re going to look back at some early and obscure roles of a few of
this year’s acting nominees. (See Zap2it’s Before They Were Nominees photo gallery.)

Today we’re highlighting the career of “The Good Wife” nominee Christine Baranski. This statuesque actress has enjoyed critical and commercial success as high-powered attorney Diane Lockhart on the popular CBS drama, but did you know she actually received her first four Emmy nominations (and only win) for “Cybill”?

Baranski played Cybill Shepherd’s hard-drinking, brash-talking friend Maryann on “Cybill” for four seasons, earning four Emmy nominations for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Watch her below:

But before that, Baranski was popping champagne in “The Birdcage” and making us laugh in the underrated Christmas comedy “The Ref.” (Bonus points for another 2013 Emmy nominee, Kevin Spacey). And way, way back — 1982 — Baranski starred with William Hurt in a made-for-TV version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Check out two clips from that below where Baranski as Helena and Deborah Rush as Hermia stage the Lovers’ Fight scene with their respective loves.

The 2013 Primetime Emmy Awards air Sunday, Sept. 22 live on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."