Wednesday, November 20, 2013

JFK on Film

In honor of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy, Cinema Style takes a look a the numerous actors who have portrayed the late president on film and television.

PT 109 (1963)
Cliff Robertson

This film is memorable for two reasons -- it was released while JFK was still in office and Robertson gives one of the best portrayals to date. Legend has it the young president selected the actor to play him as a WWII Navy lieutenant after viewing his screen test and Jackie wanted Warren Beatty. Peter Fonda was also considered for the role. The film was released five months before JFK's assassination and apparently the President's only complaint was the fact Robertson parted his hair on the wrong side.

The Missiles of October (1974)
William Devane

ABC's made-for-television movie chronicles JFK's handling of the Cuban missile crisis. William Devane has always been a dead ringer for the President in my book (and I loved him as
Greg Sumner on Knots Landing but that's another story).

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981)
James Franciscus

Fans of a certain age will remember the late heart throb James Franciscus as TV's Mr. Novak and perhaps the most handsome JFK portrayal of all. Jaclyn Smith plays Jackie in the mini series tale of the First Lady.

Kennedy (1983)
Martin Sheen

Martin Sheen is no stranger to political dramas (West Wing and The American President) and portrayed JFK in the popular five-hour miniseries that aired before the 20th anniversary.

A Woman Named Jackie (1991)
Stephen Collins

The First Lady seems to have had as many bio pics as the President. Stephen Collins takes another handsome turn as JFK in the NBC miniseries with Roma Downey was Jackie.

JFK: Reckless Youth (1993)
Patrick Dempsey

In another twist on the JFK saga, the future McDreamy of Grey's Anatomy Patrick Dempsey plays the young Kennedy as he is nominated for Congress.

Thirteen Days (2000)
Bruce Greenwood

Greenwood plays JFK during the Cuban missile crisis with Kevin Costner as aide Kevin O'Donnell. (And a piece of trivia - Costner also starred in Oliver Stone's JFK).

Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (2000)
Tim Matheson

The CBS miniseries (that makes all three of the majors having their own JFK shows) starred none other than Tim Matheson aka Animal House's Eric Stratton (to be fair he played the VP in West Wing too!) as the 35th President with Joanne Whalley as Jackie.

The Kennedys (2011)
Greg Kinnear

The Reelz channel won four Emmys for their miniseries The Kennedys. Former Talk Soup and Academy Award nominated actor Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes played the presidential couple.

and lastly,

Killing Kennedy (2013)
Rob Lowe

Just in time for the 50th anniversary, former West Wing star Rob Lowe turned in an incredible performance as JFK. Based on Bill O'Reilly's book of the same name, the thriller centers on the assassination. Big Love's Ginnifer Goodwin stars as the First Lady.

Photo Credits: NBC, ABC, National Geographic, CBS, Reelz, Lifetime, Warner Brothers, New Line