Steinbrunner grew up in Queens, New York, and attended Fordham University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters degree in sociology. While at Fordham, and for some years afterward, he was the host of a weekly radio program broadcast from the university station WFUV-FM, on which he presented interviews as well as occasional dramatitizations of Sherlock Holmes stories.
Following his college years, he was employed at the local New York City television station WOR-TV (later WWOR), becoming its film programming director. He remained at the station until the mid-1980s, during which time he produced entertainment specials about James Bond and Sherlock Holmes.
Steinbrunner was well-known among Holmes aficionados, and mystery fans in general, as exceptionally knowledgeable in his field. He was a founding member of the Baker Street Irregulars’ scion society "The Priory Scholars of Fordham". He was a long-time member of the Mystery Writers of America, receiving its Edgar Award for co-authoring the Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection in 1976.
- Karlson, Katherine. "Stand with me here upon the terrace," The Serpentine Muse, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Summer 1993), pp. 7-8. Chris Steinbrunner tribute article.
- Steinbrunner, Chris (with Penzler, Otto; Shibuk, Charles; Lachman, Marvin; and Nevins Jr, Francis M.). Detectionary. Overlook Press, 1977. ISBN 0-87951-041-2
- Steinbrunner, Chris (with Goldblatt, Burt). Cinema of the Fantastic. Galahad Books, 1974. ISBN 0-88365-256-0
- Steinbrunner, Chris; editor (with Penzler, Otto). Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection. McGraw-Hill, 1976. ISBN 0-07-061121-1
- Steinbrunner, Chris (with Michaels, Norman). The Films of Sherlock Holmes. Citadel Press, 1978. ISBN 0-8065-0599-0
- Steinbrunner obituary, The New York Times, 10 July 1993
- Steinbrunner obituary, Variety, 12 July 1993
- Fordham University alumni website
- Meskys, Ed. "A View From Entropy Hall," issue #8
- "Priory Scholars" activity at Jeremy Brett dedication site
- "Three Garridebs" BSI scion history site
-  University of Minnesota Library special collections