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Playing the Kennedys

Playing the Kennedys — A look at the actors and actresses who have played the famous family

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When NBC airs A Woman Named Jackie this week, it will add several new faces to an already-crowded Kennedy TV portrait gallery that began with William Devane’s memorable performance in 1973’s The Missiles of October. Variously boyish or patrician, brooding or optimistic, aristocratic or all-American, the tele-JFKs have found a few common touchstones: the air-chopping hand gestures, the high Boston accent (”You cahn’t ahsk Cahstro faw nucleah ahms”), and, of course, the hair. On this page are the actors who tried to evoke the JFK spirit (along with a few Bobbys and Jackies).

Jacklyn Smith
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981)
Least-Striking Resemblance

Blair Brown
Kennedy (1983)
Most-Striking Resemblance

Francesca Annis
Onassis: The Richest Man in the World (1988)
Worst Hair (Female)

Martin Sheen
The Missiles of October (1973)

Cotter Smith
Blood Feud (1983)

Brad Davis
Robert Kennedy and His Times (1985)
Least-Likely Casting

William Devane
The Missiles of October (1973)
Most Intense

Martin Sheen
Kennedy (1983)
Best Accent, Best Oratory

Paul Rudd
Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye (1977)
Youngest; Worst Hair (Male)

Randy Quaid
Saturday Night Live (1985)

James Franciscus
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981)
Tannest, Most Forgettable

Cliff DeYoung
Robert Kennedy and His Times (1985)
Most Electable-Looking

Mike Farrell
JFK: A One-Man Show (1984)
Best Hair (Male)

Steven Weber
The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990)