Desmond Pfeiffer

Christine Estabrook

as Mary Todd Lincoln

Christine Estabrook stars as Mary Todd Lincoln in "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer," UPN's new half-hour comedy that takes place in an alternate universe version of Abraham Lincoln's Civil War-era White House.

Estabrook is delighted to be playing Mary, especially for the wealth of opportunities she affords. "Mary Todd was a very complex character and that allows me to interpret her on many different levels," says Estabrook. "Plus I understand she was a bit loopy."

Born and raised in East Aurora, near Buffalo, New York, Christine was one of five children raised by a single mother. She worked her way through school at a variety of jobs including a stint at the very first Fisher-Price toy factory, where she made toys the old-fashioned way, by hand. Upon graduating from Yale Drama School, she moved to New York and began to support herself by acting.

An actor's actor, Christine has a strong background in theater. In addition to four years of participating in the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference, she performed in numerous regional theaters in roles such as the title role in "Major Barbara," both Gertrude and Ophelia in "Hamlet," and Arkadina in "The Seagull." Off-Broadway she garnered an Obie award for "Pastorale," a Drama Desk award for "The Boys Next Door" and a Drama Desk nomination for "North Shore Fish." Broadway plays have included roles as Pfeni in "The Sisters Rosenweig"; Susan in "The Heidi Chronicles"; Clara in "I'm Not Rappaport"; and Dunyasha in "The Cherry Orchard."

Her move to Los Angeles was the result of a mid-life crisis. "I wanted a change. I'd been doing theater for 17 years and wanted a new medium," says Estabrook. "I wanted to do something where I wasn't so safe. Besides, I wanted a social life, and in theater you can't have one because you work every night."

Since the move, she's guest-starred on such popular television shows as "Dharma & Greg"; "The Practice"; "Dave's World"; "Cybill"; "Frasier"; "The Crew"; and "The X-Files." She's also appeared in theatrical releases including "Desperate Measures"; "The Usual Suspects"; "Presumed Innocent"; and "Almost You."

She was married in May 1998 to an actor with two children, ages 7 and 11. They make their home in Los Angeles.

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