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Actors Who Have Played Robert F. Kennedy in Film and on TV


June 5, 2018

By Deirdre Durkan

From Steven Culp to Peter Sarsgaard, a look back at the stars who've portrayed the late politician, who was assassinated 50 years ago this month.

June 6 marks the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy's death.

RFK was killed after an assassin's bullet felled him in a hotel kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Before his death, Kennedy had just won the California presidential primary in the 1968 election and was running on a platform that included tackling racism and poverty. Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, shot Kennedy three times shortly after midnight June 5 as the politician was making his way to a press room. Sirhan had targeted Kennedy due to the latter's support of Israel after the 1967 Six-Day War. Kennedy was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day five years after his brother John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Over the years, several actors have portrayed the late U.S. senator in a variety of films that have taken a multitude of approaches; 2006's Bobby, for example, never gives a full view of his character as filmmakers tactfully used camera angles or people to keep him out of focus or partially blocked. Other films aim to show Kennedy's life after the assassination of his brother as he lived through the loss and began to identify himself as a political figure, not just the former president's sibling.

Below, read more about seven actors and their portrayals of the late politician and lawyer.


Steven Culp in 'Thirteen Days'

Steven Culp starred Robert F. Kennedy in a political thriller film directed by Roger Donaldson, dramatizing the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, from the perspective of the U.S. political leadership at the time. Kevin Costner also starred as top White House assistant Kenneth P. O'Donnell while Bruce Greenwood played JFK. Thirteen Days was the second docudrama made about the pressurized tug-of-war that ensued between the U.S. and the USSR during the 13 days of the missile crisis, the first being 1974's The Missiles of October.


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