Well, At Least Hollywood Puts Women in the Oval Office

20 female presidents from film and television

Update: So the odds-makers got it all wrong, and Hillary Clinton will not be America’s first female president. But Hollywood, for better or worse, has been imagining women in the Oval Office for more than half a century. Here’s a taste of some scenarios the men of Tinseltown have come up with:

Kisses for My President (1964 movie): Leslie McCloud (Polly Bergen) is elected the first female commander in chief, leaving hubby Thad stuck in traditional first-lady roles—like attending garden parties. (‘Cuz it’s all about the guy.) All is made right again when President McCloud learns she’s pregnant and resigns.

Warner Brothers

Whoops, Apocalypse (1986 movie): Veep Barbara Jacqueline Adams (Loretta Swit) is elevated to the Oval Office after her boss, a former clown trying to prove his mettle, challenges a journalist to hit him in the stomach (fatally, it turns out) with a crowbar.


Mars Attacks! (1996 movie): First daughter Taffy Dale (Natalie Portman) succeeds her dad (Jack Nicholson) as president after cartoonish aliens gleefully kill everyone else in the government.

Chain of Command (2000 movie): Vice President Gloria Valdez’s (María Conchita Alonso) boss is shot and killed in a struggle over the “football.” As his successor, Valdez must face down China in a nuclear exchange.

Commander in Chief (2005-06 TV series): Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis), a Republican congresswoman turned vice president, ignores the dying request of President Teddy Roosevelt Bridges that she step aside to make way for a successor who sees “the same America” as he does.

Contact (1997 movie): In Carl Sagan’s 1985 novel, a female “President Lasker” presides over radio contact with extraterrestrials, but she doesn’t survive Hollywood’s knife: In the 1997 movie version, Lasker is replaced by cleverly edited footage of Bill Clinton.

XIII: The Conspiracy (2008 TV miniseries): President Sally Sheridan is assassinated during a Veterans Day speech—her own brother is behind it. The ill-fated series was canceled after only two episodes.

Independence Day: Resurgence (2016 movie): Elizabeth Lanford (Sela Ward) and most of her cabinet are obliterated by nasty alien invaders. (Film critics are forever traumatized.)

20th Century Fox

Hitler’s Daughter (1990 TV movie): So, it turns out the mother of President Leona Crawford Gordon was impregnated by the Fuhrer, brought to the States by U-boat, and then killed by the Nazis shortly after giving birth to America’s future commander in chief. Got that?

USA Network

Prison Break (TV series, 2004-2009): As vice president, Caroline Reynolds (Patricia Wettig) collaborates with “the Company” to fake her brother’s death. When the shadowy group turns on her, she arranges for the president’s assassination so she can assume control.

20th Century Fox Television

Divergent (2011-13 novel series, 2014 film)
In a society sorted by personality type, President Jeanine Matthews—actress Kate Winslet likens her character to a “female Hitler”—aims to kill factionless Divergents, whom she sees as a threat to her dominion.

Scandal (TV series, 2012-present): Ultraconservative VP Sally Langston (Kate Burton) kills her husband and hides the evidence. Then, after a would-be assassin leaves President Fitzgerald Grant in critical condition, she takes over the White House.

Hail to the Chief (1985 TV series): President Julia Mansfield (Patty Duke) struggles to run the country while keeping tabs on her philandering husband and wild teenagers. The series was canceled after seven episodes. Go figure.

Mafia! (1998 movie): Diane Steen (Christina Applegate) almost achieves world disarmament—but peace is put on the back burner when her mobster ex-boyfriend comes around looking to win her back.

The Simpsons (2000 “Bart to the Future” episode): Lisa Simpson, the “first straight female president,” is elected in 2030—following in the footsteps of Donald Trump and Chastity Bono.

Iron Sky (2012 movie): An unnamed Sarah Palin spoof (Stephanie Paul) sends a black model to the moon as a publicity stunt to get herself reelected—and later leads an attack on a Nazi moon base.

Veep (TV series, 2012-present): Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) starts this HBO comedy series as a perpetually dysfunctional vice president. She moves up during season three, after her boss resigns to care for his mentally ill wife.

Special Report: Journey to Mars (1996 TV movie)
President Elizabeth Richardson’s (Elizabeth Wilson) support of a Mars mission gets her reelected, but the mission is sabotaged. Crisis ensues.

24 (TV series, 2001-10):
Republican President Allison Taylor “has nothing to do with Hillary,” insists actress (and Hillary Clinton doppelganger) Cherry Jones. Nope. America’s first female president in this thriller series is “a combination of Eleanor Roosevelt, Golda Meier, and John Wayne.”

State of Affairs (TV series, 2014-2015): Before Sen. Constance Payton (Alfre Woodard) becomes America’s first black female president in this widely panned series, her son is killed by terrorists in Kabul.


Homeland (TV series, 2011-present): Sen. Elizabeth Keane (Elizabeth Marvel of House of Cards) is elected president in the upcoming season of Showtime’s terrorism drama. Co-creator Alex Gansa says she’s basically a composite of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders. Keane “challenges the norms,” Homeland star Claire Danes noted in a live appearance, and “is a little scary for that reason.” You’ll catch some glimpses of her in the trailer.


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