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October 9, 2015

TV's Jackie O's: Actresses Who Played Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

by Jane Murphy, posted May 19th 2010 8:00AM
Jackie OnassisMay 19 marks the 16th anniversary of the death of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Suffice it to say, she's still very much a presence in our culture -- just catch QVC offering reproductions of Mrs. Kennedy's White House jewelry.

And now a Kennedy cable project is on its way that will give Katie Holmes, the teen queen-turned-Mrs. Cruise, the greatest challenge of her career.

Holmes takes on the former First Lady in 'The Kennedys,' an already much-discussed upcoming miniseries for the History Channel. The project, which co-stars Greg Kinnear as President Kennedy, will cover the family's history during the 1960s.
Here's what Katie Holmes is already up against – a surprisingly formidable list of great TV Jackies, and a few who might be waiting in the (west) wing.

Jeanne Tripplehorn. For 'Grey Gardens', HBO freed the beautiful Tripplehorn from her 'Big Love' apron. This Jackie is at the height of her cosmopolitan glamour, but there's a weariness in Tripplehorn's deeply affecting performance. When she gazes upon her batty Bouvier kin (Jessica Lange and a never-better Drew Barrymore) we are reminded that despite their squalid surroundings, the fate of Big Edie and Little Edie doesn't measure up to the greatest of Jackie's tragedies.
Blair Brown. An intelligent mini-series simply named 'Kennedy' was one of the least bombastic November sweeps extravaganzas of the 1980s. Dark hair transforms famous redhead Blair Brown ('Fringe', 'The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd') into the First Lady; her performance is equal to that of Martin Sheen, who has no equal in playing Presidents from New England (JFK in this production -- and don't forget New Hampshire's Jed Bartlett!).
Sarah Michelle Gellar. The breathy delivery, the debutante carriage and self-possession, Gellar has it all. In this brief but delightful appearance in 'A Woman Named Jackie' -- which was really a vehicle for a then-unknown Roma Downey -- it is SMG who makes an impression. And in this 1991 TV movie, she's all of 13.
Jacqueline Bisset. How does one icon impersonate another? By not impersonating her at all. In 2003's 'America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy, Jr. Story,' Jacqueline Bisset looks and sounds just like Jacqueline ... Bisset. It's a classy, understated performance in a movie that will always seem "too soon."
Jill Hennessy. The high cheekbones and hushed tones of Hennessy are a good fit for 'Jackie, Ethel, Joan: The Women of Camelot' a 2001 NBC mini-series. But if we're being honest, you'll remember Lauren Holly just as much for her fierce Ethel Kennedy, the ultra-competitive mother of 11.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The ultimate TV Jackie is, of course, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis herself. Ratings went through the roof for Mrs. Kennedy's 1962 tour of the White House. Under her supervision, the presidential residence was renovated with an eye towards grandeur and historical detail. It is clear the one-time Vassar student had done her homework. In this clip, the First Lady speaks about the contributions of several administrations to the look of the State Dining Room (the full hour-long broadcast is available on Hulu.)
White House Tour

For us, there can never enough Jackie biopics. Here are some actresses who haven't yet had their chance.

Julianna Margulies. Why shouldn't 'The Good Wife' play The Most Famous Wife? Now doing some of her best work on the CBS drama, Margulies would be fascinating in the Jackie role.
Stana Katic. The 'Castle' star has the right look for the Jackie of the White House years (and, hey, Nathan Fillion would make a pretty good JFK).
Lara Flynn Boyle. She hasn't been seen much since her over-the-top turn in 'Las Vegas'. Boyle would be a treat in any medium as Jackie, especially if she could get her old pal Jack Nicholson to play Aristotle Onassis.

Plus: It was recently reported that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis will be a big screen subject as well -- 'The Wrestler' director Darren Aronofsky will partner with longtime companion Rachel Weisz for 'Jackie.' The script covers the First Lady's departure from the White House and young widowhood.

Which Jackie project are you looking forward to the most?

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why no mention of joanne whalley from the tv movie jackie bouvier kennedy onassis

September 22 2010 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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