A reference guide for Showtime’s “The First Lady,” including character descriptions, names of actors, quotes from the series, and more.


Please Note: This content contains pertinent spoilers, descriptions are updated as new information is presented, images changed as better ones are captured, and this is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, guest star, or reoccurring role.

Eleanor Roosevelt (Gillian Anderson), 1900 Eleanor (Eliza Scanlen), and 1892 Eleanor (Vivien Lyra Blair)

From encouraging her husband after he was diagnosed with Polio to assisting in writing his speeches, Eleanor Roosevelt is shown as the woman behind the man and the one pushing him forward.

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Quotes

Unprecedented. Not impossible.
— Eleanor Roosevelt (1.1)

That’s not a job. That’s my circumstance.
— Eleanor Roosevelt (1.1)

I’m not thrilled that my title refers to my sex rather than my skills.
— Eleanor Roosevelt (1.2)

Sometimes, just because you want something, doesn’t mean you’ll be any good at it.
— Eleanor (1.10)

Betty Ford (Michelle Pfeiffer) & 1947 Betty (Kristen Froseth)

At one time, a dancer with hopes to make it in the New York scene, eventually Betty settled into the life of a homemaker and wife of a politician.

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Quotes

Michelle Obama (Viola Davis) & 1987 Michelle (Jayme Lawson)

An accomplished lawyer long before she met her husband, the Chicago native didn’t expect to become a known orator, yet to save her husband’s campaign, that is what she did.

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Quotes

I’m accepting your position and stepping into mine.
— Michelle Obama (1.2)

We’re all on the same side, but we’re not always equal, are we?
— Michelle Obama (1.9)

Laura Bush (Kathleen Garrett)

Laura bush (Kathleen Garrett) smiling
Laura bush (Kathleen Garrett)

The former first lady, who toured the White House with Michelle during the transition.

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Quotes

Franklin Roosevelt (Kiefer Sutherland) & 1900 Franklin (Charlie Plummer)

Eleanor’s husband who heavily relied on her, especially after he got contracted Polio, to be his champion after his mother’s faith in him faltered.

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Quotes

Gerald Ford (Aaron Eckhart) & 1947 Jerry (Jack Picking)

Betty’s husband who made huge leaps, within a year, from the house of representatives to the presidency.

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Quotes

Barack Obama (O-T Fagbenle) & 1987 Barack (Julian De Niro)

He was a community organizer who became president, mainly thanks to his wife, Michelle, making him come off less uptight.

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Quotes

Sara Roosevelt (Ellen Burstyn)

Sara Delano Roosevelt (Ellen Burstyn) calling Eleanor cruel
Sara Delano Roosevelt (Ellen Burstyn)

Franklin’s mother who holds the purse strings

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Quotes

Dick Chaney (Rhys Wakefield)

Dick Cheney (Rhys Wakefield) and Donald Rumsfeld (Derek Cecil) getting Debbie to do their bidding
Dick Cheney (Rhys Wakefield) and Donald Rumsfeld (Derek Cecil)

Dick Chaney is a holdover from the Nixon administration that works with Donald Rumsfeld.

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Quotes

Donald Rumsfeld (Derek Cecil)

Dick Cheney (Rhys Wakefield) and Donald Rumsfeld (Derek Cecil) getting Debbie to do their bidding
Dick Cheney (Rhys Wakefield) and Donald Rumsfeld (Derek Cecil)

Donald Rumsfeld is a holdover from the Nixon administration who, aside from the more blatant illegal activities, is trying to make Gerald Ford’s presidency mirror Nixon’s.

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Quotes

Debbie Winthtrop (Grace McLean)

Debbie Winthrip (Grace McLean) on the phone
Debbie Winthrip (Grace McLean)

Debbie was a holdover from the Nixon administration, the former First Lady’s secretary, who within the new administration, she was tasked by Donald and Dick to help them control Betty Ford. Mainly so Betty could be dissuaded from saying or doing anything to hurt the administration. Also, through Debbie, they would be able to control Betty without directly being involved.

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Quotes

Gwen (Jo Firestone)

Gwen (Jo Firestone) trying to push Rahm's agenda for Michelle
Gwen (Jo Firestone)

Gwen is Michelle’s version of Debbie, sent by Rahm Emanuel.

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Quotes

Mel (Donna Lynne Champlin)

Mel (Donna Lynne Champlin) being there for Michelle
Mel (Donna Lynne Champlin)

Mel was Michelle’s handler throughout Barack’s political campaign and perhaps one of the few assigned to her she liked.

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Quotes

Rahm Emanuel (Michael Aronov)

Rahm Emanuel (Michael Aronov) dumbstruck by Michelle
Rahm Emanuel (Michael Aronov)

Rahm is part of Obama’s team when he becomes president, and like Donald Rumsfeld before him, he does his best to keep the First Lady busy and away from messing up any re-election chances.

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Quotes

Susan (Kate Mulgrew)

Susan (Kate Mulgrew) shocked by Michelle's job offer
Susan (Kate Mulgrew)

Susan is Michelle’s former boss at a Chicago Hospital who she asks to be on her team when she becomes First Lady.

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Quotes

Lorena “Hick” Hickok (Lily Rabe)

Lorena
Lorena “Hick” Hickok (Lily Rabe)

Hick is Eleanor’s associate from Greenwich Village, who is a reporter and friend.

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Quotes

Malvina “Tommy” Thompson (Clea DuVall)

 

Malvina is Eleanor’s assigned secretary when she becomes the first lady.

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Quotes

Valerie Jarrett (Gloria Reuben)

Valerie Jarrett (Gloria Reuben) talking to Michelle
Valerie Jarrett (Gloria Reuben)

Valerie is one of the many people sent to speak with Michelle about cooling her heels regarding her activism and desire to do more than the First Lady has traditionally been expected to do.

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Quotes

Nancy Howe (Judy Greer)

Nancy Howe (Judy Greer) shocked to see Betty Ford
Nancy Howe (Judy Greer)

Nancy works at a gift shop in the White House and is one of the first familiar faces Betty sees once she becomes the first lady. Also, she is the one who reminds Betty of her power.

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Quotes

Louis Howe (Jackie Earle Haley)

 

Louis handles Franklin D. Roosevelt’s calendar and part of his affairs (perhaps in a literal sense)

Additional Information

  • Introduced In: Season 1/ Episode 2 “Voices Carry”

Quotes

Teddy (Jeremy Bobb)

Teddy (Jeremy Bobb) talking to Eleanor about school
Teddy (Jeremy Bobb)

Theodore Roosevelt was not only the president but a father figure in Eleanor’s life, and whenever he could, he stepped in and provided her paternal love.

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Quotes

Fraser (Michael Potts)

Fraser (Michael Potts) in the hospital, waiting to be seen
Fraser (Michael Potts)

Fraser is Michelle’s father

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Quotes

Marian (Regina Taylor)

Marian (Regina Taylor) giving Michelle a look
Marian (Regina Taylor)

Michelle’s mother.

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Quotes

Lucy (Maria Dizzia)

Lucy (Maria Dizzia) smiling towards Franklin
Lucy (Maria Dizzia)

Eleanor’s secretary and Franklin’s mistress.

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Quotes

Clara (Patrice Johnson Chevannes)

Clara (Patrice Johnson Chevannes) having a conversation with Betty
Clara (Patrice Johnson Chevannes)

Clara was not only Betty’s friend but also someone hired to take care of the children and the house.

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Quotes

Susan (Dakota Fanning)

Susan (Dakota Fanning) worried about her mom
Susan (Dakota Fanning)

Susan is Betty Ford’s daughter.

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Quotes

Malia (Lexi Underwood)

Malia (Lexi Underwood) when her dad comes out in support of gay marriage
Malia (Lexi Underwood)

Malia is Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s eldest daughter.

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Quotes & Gifs

Hillary Clinton (Kate Burton)

Hillary Clinton (Kate Burton) trying to get Michelle to campaign for her
Hillary Clinton (Kate Burton)

Then 2016 presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton was once again running for the top office in the United States government and was hoping Michelle may give her a boost similar to what she did for Barack nearly 8 years prior.

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Quotes & Gifs

Anna (Cailee Spaeny)

Anna (Cailee Spaeny) talking to her mom about her dad being sick
Anna (Cailee Spaeny)

Eleanor Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt’s daughter, who is hired as her father’s secretary during his administration.

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Quotes & Gifs

Sasha (Saniyya Sidney)

Sasha (Saniyya Sidney) upset that Malia is making her watch Trump news coverage
Sasha (Saniyya Sidney)

Michelle and Barack Obama’s younger daughter.

Additional Information

Quotes & Gifs



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