Kate McKinnon, 36, paid tribute to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the season 46 premiere of Saturday Night Live. The longtime SNL regular — who has been playing the Supreme Court Judge for five years — put her RBG robe on for what is likely the final time. Kate’s RBG appeared unexpectedly seated in the audience as people cheered around her after “Weekend Update.” With a hand over her heart, Kate nodded to say thank you as she then looked up at a screen that read, “Rest In Power” over an image of the costume. Pass the tissue!
The brief — but poignant tribute — comes just two week after Ruth passed away at the age of 87-years-old following a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. Her death was confirmed by the Supreme Court on Sept. 18, 2020 and many celebrities — including Ruth — mourned the loss of the trailblazer. “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.
The two women had the opportunity to meet RBG at a performance of Fiddler on the Roof in 2019. “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,” Kate also said in her statement. Ruth was originally appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Through her recent battle with cancer, RBG was determined to stay alive through the 2020 election so Donald Trump wouldn’t have the opportunity to nominate her replacement. Sadly, her wishes were not fulfilled as Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to the vacant seat on Sept. 26. “This is my third such nomination…We gather to continue our never ending task of equal justice. It is my honor to nominate one of our nation’s most brilliant and gifted legal minds. She is a woman of achievement, sterling credentials and loyalty to the constitution — judge Amy Coney Barrett,” Trump said.
It was a surprise to see Kate reprise her role as RBG, following reports that she may “retire” the iconic role following Ruth’s death. “She loved playing RBG on SNL, but right now, Kate would be more than happy to retire the character,” a source told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY on Sept. 24. “She was so proud to make an impact on Ruth herself on her portrayal of her as they have met, and Kate holds that moment as one of her favorite moments of her life. She would rather people remember the powerful woman that RBG is, rather than people remember the women who played her on [television],” the insider also said.