Joanne Whalley is an English actress who I will forever hold dear due to her role as the badass Sorsha in the fantasy film Willow — which, if I could find a way to review for a historical angle, I would. She did a few historical films when she was young, then took on the “no one can succeed at this” project of playing Scarlett in the sequel to Gone With the Wind. These days, she’s frequently cast as the still-hot older female character in historical TV series. So, let’s take a look at her filmography! Unfortunately there’s a few roles I can’t find photos of: Marjorie Dawson/Sarah Hughes in How We Used to Live (1976-79), and Ulla in Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983).
A Christmas Carol (1984)
As Fan, Scrooge’s sister, in this TV movie adaptation of the Dickens novel starring George C. Scott.
As Christine Keeler, aspiring model who had an affair with British Secretary of State for War John Profumo, leading to a massive scandal in 1963.
Nobody can match Vivien Leigh, but I thought Whalley did an admirable job with the role in this terrible, yet entertaining, sequel to Gone With the Wind.
Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (2000)
As the former first lady in this TV movie.
Run the Wild Fields (2000)
“A North Carolina woman and her daughter take in a mysterious drifter to work their farm while the woman’s husband is missing in action during World War II,” per IMDB.
The Virgin Queen (2006)
As Queen Mary Tudor, older sister to the future Queen Elizabeth I, in this Bess-focused bio-series.
The Borgias (2011-13)
As Vanozza Cattaneo, longtime mistress to pope Pope Alexander VI, and mother to his children.
Jamaica Inn (2014)
As Patience Merlyn in this adaptation of a Regency-set Daphne du Maurier novel. Which I will never see, because it looks like poor, dirty people being miserable.
A.D. The Bible Continues (2015)
As Claudia, wife of Pontius Pilate, in one of those interminable Bible fictionalizations.
The Ark (2015)
Sticking with the biblical, as “Emmie,” wife of Noah — ya know, Noah’s ark.
Wolf Hall (2015)
As Catherine of Aragon, first wife and queen of Henry VIII, in this adaptation of the Hilary Mantel novel about Henry’s divorce and Thomas Cromwell.
Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands (2016)
As Rheda, queen regent in this fantasy/historical series based on the Beowulf poem.
The White Princess (2017)
As Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, in this adaptation of a Philippa Fucking Gregory novel about Elizabeth of York.
Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018)
Back to the biblical, playing Priscilla, companion of Paul.
What’s your favorite Joanne Whalley historical costume movie or TV role?