Jackie Kennedy: 16 Actresses Who Have Played the Former First Lady

2:10 PM 12/1/2016

by Patrick Shanley

From Gilda Ratner to Katie Holmes, more than a dozen actresses have portrayed the icon.

With Jackie hitting theaters across the country on Friday, star Natalie Portman is just the latest in a long line of actresses to tackle the role of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Director Pablo Larrain called Jackie "the most unknown known person there is," even though she has been portrayed 15 times onscreen prior to Portman stepping into the role. From the big screen to the small screen, Jackie Kennedy has been played by actresses for nearly four decades, but Portman's turn may be the first to garner serious Oscar recognition. 

Take a look back at all the actresses who have played Jackie over the years.

  • Gilda Radner (1977)

    'Saturday Night Live'

    Gilda Radner
    Gilda Radner
    NBC/Photofest

    In a skit entitled "Celebrity Weight Lifting" from SNL's second season, Radner's Jackie went head-to-head with John Belushi's Russian weightlifter in Vasselai Alexev in a cleaning jerk showdown. Replete in her signature pink dress and sunglasses, Radner's Jackie failed to win the contest but succeeded in crushing herself beneath the barbell. 

  • Jaclyn Smith (1981)

    'Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy'

    Jaclyn Smith
    Jaclyn Smith
    ABC/Photofest

    Jaclyn Smith earned a Golden Globe nomination for best actress in a miniseries or TV movie for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in this ABC biopic.

  • Blair Brown (1983)

    'Kennedy'

    Blair Brown in 'Kennedy'
    Blair Brown in 'Kennedy'
    NBC/Photofest

    Brown starred alongside Martin Sheen in this 1983 NBC miniseries and earned her second Golden Globe nomination. 

  • Juanin Clay (1985)

    'Robert Kennedy and His Times'

    Focusing on the life of John F. Kennedy's younger brother, Robert, this CBS miniseries featured WarGames star Juanin Clay as Jackie.

  • Rhoda Griffis (1992)

    'Love Field'

    Rhoda Griffis
    Rhoda Griffis

    Griffis' Jackie was not the focal point of this 1992 film, but rather the historical backdrop for a story about a Dallas housewife (Michelle Pfeiffer) who befriends a young African American woman (Stephanie McFadden) on a bus trip to attend JFK's funeral. While Pfeiffer earned a best actress nom, the film was Griffis' first major role in a feature. 

  • Elizabeth Lambert (1996)

    'Dark Skies'

    With the tagline "History as we know it is a lie", this short-lived NBC sci-fi series naturally delved into one of the most prevalent conspiracy theories of the 20th century: who shot JFK. In the series' second episode, Lambert played Jackie amidst a sinister, secretive alien invasion. 

  • Joanne Whalley (2000)

    'Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis'

    Whalley played the First Lady in this CBS TV biopic that followed Jackie from her early life as a college student to her marriage to Greek millionaire Aristotle Onassis after JFK's assassination. 

  • Caprice Benedetti (2000)

    'Timequest'

    Caprice Benedetti
    Caprice Benedetti

    In yet another sci-fi spin, Benedetti plays Jackie in this film about a man who travels back in time to prevent the assassination of JFK. 

  • Stephanie Romanov (2000)

    'Thirteen Days'

    Stephanie Romanov in 'Thirteen Days'
    Stephanie Romanov in 'Thirteen Days'

    Focusing on the Cuban Missile Crisis, this 2000 Kevin Costner-led thriller featured Romanov as the third actress that year to portray the First Lady.

  • Jill Hennessey (2001)

    'Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot'

    This TV movie focused on the wives of the Kennedy brothers and starred Hennessy as Jackie.

  • Jeanne Tripplehorn (2009)

    'Grey Gardens'

    Jeanne Tripplehorn in 'Grey Gardens'
    Jeanne Tripplehorn in 'Grey Gardens'
    HBO

    Based on the true stories of Jackie's paternal aunt, Edith Bouvier Beale (Jessica Lange), and first cousin - also named Edith Bouvier Beale (Drew Barrymore) - this HBO film featured Tripplehorn in a supporting role as Jackie for which she scored an Emmy nomination for supporting actress in a TV movie. 

  • Katie Holmes (2011)

    'The Kennedys'

    Katie Holmes in 'The Kennedys'
    Katie Holmes in 'The Kennedys'
    ReelzChannel/Photofest

    Miniseries and TV movies seem to be the most popular format for telling the Kennedy tale, and Reelz Channel's entry was another foray into the world of Camelot. Holmes donned the pink dress and starred alongside Greg Kinnear as JFK.

  • Minka Kelly (2013)

    'Lee Daniels' The Butler'

    Minka Kelly
    Minka Kelly

    Kelly played Jackie opposite James Marsden's JFK in this Lee Daniels film about a butler (Forest Whitaker) who served eight presidents during his tenure at the White House.

  • Kat Steffens (2013)

    'Parkland'

    Kat Steffens in 'Parkland'
    Kat Steffens in 'Parkland'

    Set in Dallas' Parkland Hospital on the day JFK was shot, this Zac Efron-starring film featured Steffens as Jackie.

  • Ginnifer Goodwin (2013)

    'Killing Kennedy'

    Ginnifer Goodwin in 'Killing Kennedy'
    Ginnifer Goodwin in 'Killing Kennedy'

    Just like in 2000, 2013 saw three iterations of Jackie onscreen. Goodwin starred alongside Rob Lowe in this National Geographic TV movie. 

  • Natalie Portman (2016)

    'Jackie'

    Natalie Portman in 'Jackie'.
    Natalie Portman in 'Jackie'.
    Twentieth Century Fox Film

    Portman recently won best actress at the Hollywood Film Awards for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy in this critically acclaimed biopic from Chilean-born director Pablo Larrain. 

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