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From ‘The Crown’ to ‘The Simpsons,’ Hollywood embraced – and spoofed – Queen Elizabeth

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Britain’s Queen Elizabeth fascinated Hollywood writers and actors during her seven-decade reign and was portrayed on screen in award-winning dramas, animation and even U.S. comedy sketch show “Saturday Night Live.”

The monarch, who died on Thursday at age 96, was the central figure of Netflix Inc’s Emmy-winning television series “The Crown.”

Claire Foy won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for playing Elizabeth as a young woman who suddenly became queen at age 27. Olivia Colman took on the role in later seasons, and Imelda Staunton will play her in the fifth installment, which is set to debut in November.

When Foy won the Golden Globe in 2017, she thanked several “extraordinary women,” including Queen Elizabeth.

“She has been at the center of the world for the past 63 years, and I think the world could do with a few more women at the center of it, if you ask me,” Foy said.

Fellow British actress Helen Mirren took home an Oscar for playing Elizabeth in 2006 film “The Queen,” which focused on the monarch’s response to the unexpected death of Princess Diana.

Queen Elizabeth made a compelling subject because she played a role in major world events and because her life story had a “very human element,” said People magazine editor-in-chief Wendy Naugle.

“We can all see the foibles in our own families,” Naugle said. “We can understand what it’s like when you have some tensions and riffs, and you put on top of that the layer of glamour and royalty and duty, and it’s a fascinating story.”

Not all of the queen’s screen time has come in serious dramas. Animated comedy “The Simpsons” has worked her into several episodes over its 33 seasons.

Vanessa Redgrave voiced Queen Elizabeth in one of Pixar’s “Cars” movies when the monarch – appearing as a luxury car with a crown – presided over a race in London.

And comedian Fred Armisen spoofed the queen as a cantankerous monarch in several skits on “Saturday Night Live,” including one in which the fictitious queen tells the real-life Elton John not to play his “crap” songs at a royal wedding.

Naugle said she expects more portrayals of Queen Elizabeth on the big and small screen.

“There’s so much ground to cover,” she said. “There’s a lot of that world that people don’t see. And so I think when people feel like they can go inside the walls of the palace, we’re enraptured and we want to know.”

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

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