Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon has been portraying Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as one gutsy, tough and funny cookie since 2015. Sadly, a running joke was the lengths that the 87-year-old jurist needed to go to so she could stay alive and healthy enough to make it through Donald Trump‘s presidency. Tragically that didn’t happen, as RBG passed away on Sept. 18, 2020 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. In a heartfelt statement, Kate issued a statement to mourn Ginsburg’s death.
“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,” Kate said in a statement to HollywoodLife via a rep for Saturday Night Live. “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,” she added.
Kate finally got to meet Ginsburg in person when they happened to both attend an all-Yiddish production of Fiddler on the Roof at the off-Broadway Stage 42 Theater on Aug. 13, 2019. In photos posted to social media by attendees who witnessed the meeting of the SCOTUS legend and her SNL doppelganger, Kate appeared sweetly shy as she walked over in the audience to greet and shake hands with Ginsburg. The two even posed for a few photos together, and a cast member who saw the interaction called it “epic.”
Kate has portrayed Ruth flawlessly over the years, with such power, grace and humor. The last time the 36-year-old funny lady slipped into her shoes was on Apr. 10, 2020 during an experimental remote episode of Saturday Night Live at Home, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Since she was unable to wear her usual costume of Ruth’s black robe and lace neckpiece, Kate improvised at home with a black sweatshirt that read “Super Diva,” pulled her hair back into Ruth’s bun, and wore her wide rimmed glasses.
Kate’s Ruth was schooling people on how to work out at home during quarantine, delivering such zingers as “Social distancing is important; take it from me, I’ve been social distancing from Justice Alito since 2003. And that’s a Ginsburn.” She also joked about her cat, “That’s my trainer. If I mess up, he eats me.” SNL will return for it’s 46th season on Oct. 3, 2020, live from studio 8H at Rockefeller Center, albeit it is still unclear if there will be a studio audience. Hopefully Kate will be able to give RBG a meaningful sendoff after so many memorable sketches.