Ryan Murphy's limited Netflix series Hollywood tackles Tinseltown during the post-World War II era, but though it features real people doesn't mean it portrays total reality.
Hollywood boasts a star-studded ensemble cast of characters used to demonstrate the unfair systems and biases of race, gender and sexuality still present in the industry today. While many key characters aren't based on existing Hollywood icons, a few of them are plucked directly from the past including names like Rock Hudson, Hattie McDaniel, Anna May Wong, and Vivien Leigh.
With so many Broadway vets (Patti LuPone! Jeremy Pope!) in the cast, the actor reveals there was much singing going on when the cameras turned off.
Below, we're comparing the real-life stars against their onscreen counterparts. Scroll through for a look at the individuals Murphy brought to life once again in his unique take on the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Hollywood, Streaming now, Netflix
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Anna May Wong
Born in 1905, Wong was considered Hollywood’s first Chinese American movie star as she gained notoriety through silent film, stage, sound film, and radio roles. Her notable pictures included Piccadilly and Daughter of the Dragon.
Michelle Krusiec as Anna May Wong
Krusiec portrays the legendary actress at a point in her career when she’s battling a drinking problem brought on by the racism she’s faced in the industry. The series sheds light on Wong’s history that may not have been known by others.
The actress who made history as the first African American woman to be nominated for and win an Oscar was known for her role in Gone with the Wind. McDaniel also featured in films such as The Great Lie, Show Boat and Judge Priest.
Queen Latifah as Hattie McDaniel
Latifah plays McDaniel, who made history with her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind. In the series, her link to actress Tallulah Bankhead is just one of the many storylines Latifah takes on.
Considered on of the biggest movie stars of his time, Hudson made a name for himself with roles in films like Pillow Talk, Giant and Come September.
Jake Picking as Rock Hudson
Picking depicts a more idealistic story for Hudson who was known for being closeted during his years in Hollywood’s spotlight. In the series, Picking’s version of Hudson is able to conduct a same-sex relationship without fear of social persecution.
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A British stage and film star, Vivien Leigh was known for roles in films like A Streetcar Named Desire and Gone with the Wind. She was married to famed director Laurence Olivier for 20 years.
Katie McGuinness as Vivien Leigh
Katie McGuiness appears as Leigh in two of Hollywood‘s episodes. Leigh’s prominent role as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind has made her a household name. McGuiness takes on the challenge of depicting Leigh’s struggle with bipolar disorder in the series.
This American talent agent represented various clients among which included Rock Hudson and Robert Wagner.
Jim Parsons as Henry Willson
Playing talent agent Henry Willson, Jim Parson tackles his client relationships with Rock Hudson and others. Similar to Willson’s sneaky real-life persona, Parsons is just as ruthless in the role, even threatening to out Hudson as gay before the actor decides to do it himself.
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This actress appeared in various pictures during Hollywood’s Golden ge including Lifeboat, A Royal Scandal and The Trap. Her first role dates as far back as 1918.
Paget Brewster as Tallulah Bankhead
This actress, portrayed by Paget Brewster, was rumored to have had relations with various industry members. In the series, her romantic link to Hattie McDaniel is depicted.