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As the nation welcomes a new First Family, we wanted to pay tribute to the most memorable First Ladies from TV and film

Shaun Harrison
1 of 8 courtesy Warner Bros./Kobal Collection

Ellen Mitchell (Sigourney Weaver) Dave

Ellen had no idea her husband, the president, had died and been replaced by a lookalike. After she found out the truth, she wanted to leave Washington. However, she's reinvigorated as First Lady by Dave's optimism and his wish to improve the nation.
2 of 8 David Rose/NBCU Photo Bank

Abbey Bartlet (Stockard Channing) The West Wing

Abbey, a feisty and intelligent Harvard-educated physician and mother of three, hid the president's advancing MS by secretly injecting him to keep his condition in check. She gave up her medical license for the duration of her husband's presidency when her actions were discovered when the president collapsed.
3 of 8 courtesy Tri Star Pictures/Kobal Collection

Tess Carlisle (Shirley MacLaine) Guarding Tess

Tess, a surly widow to a former president, makes life hell for her Secret Service agent (Nicolas Cage). Of course, underneath it all, she really loved the guy and asked that his assignment be extended.
4 of 8 courtesy Fox

Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald) 24

The (sort of) First Lady we loved to hate! Sherry is manipulative, deceptive and a real threat to her husband's presidency. Palmer divorced her, but her treachery continued until her death.
5 of 8 Kent Eanes/HBO


Abigail Adams (Laura Linney) John Adams Behind every great man is a great woman. Abigail Adams was brilliant and wise, hardworking and quite often a single parent while her husband was in Philadelphia and abroad. She was her husband's greatest advisor and strongest supporter and became our nation's second First Lady.
6 of 8 courtesy Warner Bros./Kobal Collection

Marsha Dale (Glenn Close) Mars Attacks!

Marsha was a power-hungry First Lady to Jack Nicholson's President James Dale whose ambition was rewarded when she was unceremoniously crushed to death by a chandelier when aliens attack the White House.
7 of 8 courtesy 20th Century Fox

Marilyn Whitmore (Mary McDonnell), Independance Day

Marilyn was injured -- and subsequently died -- from massive injuries during an alien attack on her way back from Los Angeles; (McDonnell also appears in our Memorable Presidents gallery as President Roslin from Battlestar Galactica.)
8 of 8 Jaimie Trueblood/Fox

Martha Logan (Jean Smart) 24

Modeled after Watergate whistleblower Martha Mitchell, Logan's character became disgusted with her husband's actions as president and plotted to end his career. Instead, her mental-health issues lead to being committed to a mental hospital.