Actors playing presidents is nothing new. The theme is certainly prominent this year with two prominent actors playing iconic commanders-in-chief. We all know about Daniel Day-Lewis and the tremendous amount of Oscar buzz he's generated since Lincoln hit theaters.
Meanwhile, Bill Murray is the latest to take on the challenge of playing Franklin Delanor Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson. The film, which gets a limited release beginning this Friday, tells the tale of a love affair between FDR and his distant cousin during a weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the UK visit upstate New York.
Yeah, there's a lot going on there and it remains to be seen if Murray gets any honors for his performance. We decided to pick out five other actors who have played FDR in films. Which one is your favorite?
Jack Young – Yankee Doodle Dandy
Yankee Doodle Dandy remains one of the classic musicals in movie history. Starring James Cagney as renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer and singer George M. Cohan, the film earned Cagney his only Oscar over his illustrious career. One scene finds the actor stopping by the White House for a chat with FDR, played here by Jack Young, who was known as an FDR impersonator during the '40s. The scene plays out like the classic Seinfeld scenes with Jason Alexander's George Costanza talking with Larry David's New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. We only see the back of Yonug's head, but still, it's a spot on voice imitation.
Alan Cumming – Reefer Madness
Cumming actually plays three characters in the movie musical, one of them being FDR. Though the performance is certainly over-the-top, it blends perfectly with the satirical, tongue-in-cheek tone of the film, itself an adaptation of the classic 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film.
Edward Hermann – Annie
Sticking with the musical genre, Edward Hermann portrayed FDR on three separate occasions, though he's probably best known for his performance in the '80s classic Annie. It seems his previous portrays in '70s productions Eleanor and Franklin and Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years prepared him for his performance here, which includes the president belting out Tomorrow.
Kenneth Branaugh – Warm Springs
FDR certainly appeared in other genres besides musicals. The HBO production Warm Springs find Kenneth Branaugh portraying Roosevelt before he became president. The TV movie finds Roosevelt seeking a miracle cure for polio in the backwoods of Gerogia. Here's the final few minutes of the film.
Jon Voight – Pearl Harbor
You can certainly slam Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor for all its classic Michael Bay clichés, but Voight's portrayal of the president certainly stands out as one of the most dramatic portrayals of FDR. Faced with the compulsion to strike back at Japan following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the president implores his cabinet to find a way and that impossible is nothing.
Will you be watching Hyde Park on Hudson? If so, what did you think of Bill Murray's portrayal of FDR?