Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Sept. 18 at the age of 87 due to complications of metastatic cancer

By Karen Mizoguchi
October 04, 2020 01:02 AM
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SNL
Credit: SNL

Kate McKinnon didn't need to use words to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg during Saturday Night Live's season 46 premiere.

After Michael Che and Colin Jost wrapped their Weekend Update segment, the camera panned to McKinnon, who was sitting in the front row of the audience and dressed as the late Supreme Court Justice.

McKinnon, who often portrayed the feminist icon on SNL since 2012, bowed her head with a hand on her chest and gazed up to pay tribute to Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18 at the age of 87 due to complications of metastatic cancer.

Before the commercial break, the show featured a portrait of McKinnon's costume, complete with lace jabot and clear glasses, and a white rose. "Rest in Power," the slide read.

RBG
Credit: SNL

RBG served on the court for more than 27 years and was an icon of the court's liberal wing for her unwavering fight for women's rights and social justice.

After news of Ginsburg's death, McKinnon, 36, called the long-serving justice a "robed crusader" in a tribute.

"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," the comedian said in a statement to PEOPLE. "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."

Ginsburg once said McKinnon's portrayal was not an exact impression, but it tickled her nonetheless. She watched some of McKinnon's sketches during filming for RBG, a documentary about her life, and even called McKinnon "marvelously funny" if "not one bit" like her.

And while doing press for the RBG premiere in 2018, Ginsburg said, "I liked the actress who portrayed me." And then, perhaps channeling a bit of McKinnon’s version of herself, Ginsburg added, "And I would like to say 'Gins-burn' sometimes to my colleagues."