Kate McKinnon Pays Tribute to Her ‘Superhero’ and IRL Counterpart Ruth Bader Ginsburg

As the world mourns the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, celebrity tributes have been pouring in to honor the late American trailblazer. Ginsburg’s life and career have been the subject of movies, books, and museum exhibits, and she’s been played onscreen by some equally phenomenal women, including Saturday Night Live‘s Kate McKinnon.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was such a trailblazer because there had been few (if any) women who ever dared to be as ambitious as her. She faced obstacles that her male counterparts never had to face, as well as difficult trials that life threw her way. When she was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court in 1993, she was only the second woman in US history to achieve such an honor.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life story has been shown onscreen and off

With such a long and crazy life, Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s story is deserving of being told and retold for generations. The 2018 biopic On the Basis of Sex tells the story of Ginsburg’s early life as a hardworking Harvard Law student and young lawyer; Ginsburg was played by British actress Felicity Jones. The documentary RBG, released that same year, followed Ginsburg’s trajectory all the way to the highest court in the land.

Ginsburg’s life was the subject of the 2015 book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which gave an intimate look into the Supreme Court Justice’s life. The book was later turned into a museum exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles in 2019 as part of the 25th anniversary celebration of Ginsburg’s appointment to the Court.

Kate McKinnon played Ruth Bader Ginsburg on ‘Saturday Night Live’

No one is safe from Saturday Night Live, and that includes the notorious RBG. Kate McKinnon has mastered the art of playing the politician, from Hillary Clinton to Jeff Sessions. McKinnon played Ginsburg several times on SNL, and added her unique larger-than-life spin on the Supreme Court Justice’s personality. She even portrayed her in a rap music video.

The two finally met in August of 2019 at a performance of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway.

Kate McKinnon honors RBG: ‘Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero’

Like everyone else, Kate McKinnon was heartbroken to hear of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing. She memorialized the late justice in a statement released to EW.

“For so many of us, Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero: a beacon of hope, a warrior for justice, a robed crusader who saved the day time and again,” McKinnon said. “Playing her on SNL was a profound joy because I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude that the audience had for her. It was one of the great honors of my life to meet Justice Ginsburg, to shake her hand, and to thank her for her lifetime of service to this country.”


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Ruth Bader Ginsburg liked Kate McKinnon’s portrayal of her

The love between Kate McKinnon and Ruth Bader Ginsburg was mutual. In 2018, while promoting the RBG documentary at Sundance, Ginsburg was asked about what she thought of her SNL persona. She gave McKinnon a thumbs up, much to the crowd’s satisfaction. “I like the actress who portrayed me,” Ginsburg said, “and I would like to say ‘Gins-burn’ sometimes to my colleagues.”