When big, important people die, it's easy to overuse the term "iconic," but the title fits Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Outside the halls of the Supreme Court, she had another life in pop culture as a symbol of both dissent and feminism. And maybe nothing has cemented her place there more than Saturday Night Live.
Played by SNL cast member Kate McKinnon, this version of Ginsburg—let's call her RBG—was spry and punchy. As questions about the real Ginsburg's age and health popped up in the news, RBG on SNL danced and yelled and rolled her eyes, tossing out insults that would be known as "Ginsburns." Particularly as President Trump's administration came into power, the driving message behind RBG was—she wasn't going anywhere.
In a statement, McKinnon said it was a "profound joy" to play her.
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. 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.
Of course, the RBG phenomenon went beyond Saturday Night Live. In 2018 she got both her own biopic and Oscar-nominated documentary. People were enraptured—finding out about her clothes, her accessories, her diet and exercise regimen (her trainer, Bryant Johnson, published a book about her workout, inspiring headlines like "I Got My Ass Kicked By Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Personal Trainer").