I'm watching a perfectly dreadful made-for-TV movie about JBKO starring Tim Matheson as "Jack" and Joanne Whalley as "Jackie." It's historically inaccurate and dull, and yet I can't look away. There's just too much inherent glamor and drama in her story. Here are thirteen actresses who took a crack at the part:
1) Joanne Whalley as Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. (2000) "She was the 20th century's First Lady. Now see her for the woman she really was."
2) Katie Holmes in The Kennedys. (2011) High production values and great hair wardrobe
3) Roma Downey in A Woman Named Jackie (1991) A very pretty, very delicate, Irish-born Jackie.
4) Sarah Michelle Geller in A Woman Named Jackie (1991). Yes, Buffy played her as a teenager.
5) Jaclyn Smith in Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981). Jackie as Jackie! Unfortunately Ms. Smith seems more like she's modeling iconic outfits than giving a performance.
6) Blair Brown in Kennedy (1983). Haven't seen this in a while, but I recall her as doing a good job in a supporting role.
7) Jodie Farber in JFK (1991). Mostly re-enacted those horrible moments of the motorcade.
8) Jill Hennessey in Jackie, Ethel and Joan: The Women of Camelot. She's OK, but it's a drippy adaptation of a crappy book. Great hair and clothes, though.
9) Jeannne Triplehorn in Grey Gardens. (2009) She was only in a couple scenes, but I thought she did a good job.
10) Jacqueline Bisset in America's Prince: The John F. Kennedy Jr. Story. (2003) Another Jackie-as-Jackie. This time, Jackie is a formidable matriarch.
11) Stephanie Romanov in Thirteen Days. (2000) I enjoyed this movie a lot, but I really don't remember her in it at all.
12) Juanin Clay in Robert F. Kennedy and His Times (1985). A small part in a good mini-series about Bobby
13) Francesa Annis in Onassis: The Richest Man in the World. (1988) Jackie as American Ice Queen, in contrast to the passionate Maria Callas.
It occurs to me that no one has done a good job at capturing "Jackie Kennedy." Maybe because, as Jane Murphy wrote in The Huffington Post, the one who played her best was Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Intelligent, elegant and remote ... as I watch this clip I have no doubt that she is working very hard to 1) be a good reflection on her husband and 2) create an image that was as so charismatic and impenetrable that we wouldn't see the real woman, no matter how closely we look.