On May 13, 2018, the Lifetime original movie "Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance" debuts starring Murray Fraser and Parisa Fitz-Henley in the lead roles. Amazingly, once in character, the actors look like total doppelgängers of the real royal and his American bride. In honor of the TV movie's debut, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at other Lifetime movie biopics to see which films had the best and, tragically, the worst casts based on real people. Keep reading to see how Murray and Parisa stack up against Prince Harry and Meghan Markle as well as more Lifetime movie stars and the people they portrayed…
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In the 2011 Lifetime biopic "William and Kate," Nico Evers-Swindell and Camilla Luddington (who went on to appear on "Grey's Anatomy") portrayed Prince William and Duchess Kate throughout their early romance leading up to their April 29, 2011, wedding. Critics panned the TV movie and noted that neither actor looked much like their real-life royal counterpart.
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In real life, it's hard to find a more adorable couple who are still so clearly in love with one another than Prince William and Duchess Kate. In April 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child, Prince Louis.
The stunning Lex Scott Davis took on the role of '90s music icon Toni Braxton in the 2016 Lifetime original movie "Toni Braxton: Unbreak My Heart." The film delved into Toni's personal life including her divorce, financial and medical problems and son Diezel's autism. While the movie didn't fare well with fans and critics, we can't help but think Lex was an incredible choice to play the beautiful Ms. Braxton.
Of course, the real Toni Braxton (seen here in New York City on March 7, 2018) is as beautiful as ever and continues to share her amazing voice with the world thanks to her newest album, "Sex & Cigarettes."
In the 2013 Lifetime original movie "Anna Nicole," Agnes Brucker starred as Vickie Lynn Hogan, better known as Playboy model and actress Anna Nicole Smith. Although the film debuted six years after Anna's untimely death, Agnes's portrayal of her was so spot-on, it made us forget the vivacious blonde was no longer with us.
The real Anna Nicole Smith, seen here in 1996, was a platinum blonde bombshell who idolized Marilyn Monroe. On Feb. 8, 2007, Anna died at age 39 from an accidental overdose.
Former "America's Next Top Model" contestant Yaya DaCosta shined as Whitney Houston in the 2015 Lifetime biopic "Whitney." The movie also featured Arlen Escarpeta as Whitney's husband, Bobby Brown. While Yaya's portrayal of the singing icon was widely praised, Arlen's casting was questioned. The film's director, Angela Bassett, defended the choice in an interview with Vibe in 2014. "It's not like 'Oh my gosh, I have six good choices for Bobby.' No, you don't, you have two," she said. "Searching for weeks and only two rise to the top. They had different qualities that are like Bobby. You've gotta be like, 'Which way do you want to go?'"
The real Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown (seen here in 1999) were married in 1992. The couple, who were plagued with problems attributed to drug addiction, divorced in 2007. Sadly, Whitney was found dead in her hotel bathroom in 2012 from an accidental overdose that led to her drowning.
In the 2015 Lifetime original movie "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe," Kelli Garner starred as Norma Jeane Baker, a young, lonely girl who reinvents herself to become one of the most iconic beauties of the silver screen. While Kelli's physical transformation for the role was powerful, critics mostly panned the film and her performance, calling it lackluster and a rehashing of an already over-told story.
The real Marilyn Monroe, seen here in 1950, was the original blonde bombshell known for her delicate voice, pouty lips and perfectly coiffed hair, which made her a film favorite throughout most of her professional life. In 1962 when she was just 36 years old, Marilyn passed away from an accidental overdose of barbiturates.
Although actress, model and singer Zendaya was originally cast as the lead in the 2014 Lifetime biopic "Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B," she bowed out of the movie just a few weeks later citing concerns that the production wasn't "all the way there" yet. She was replaced by Alexandra Shipp, who, aside from some minor on-screen roles, was relatively unknown at the time of her casting. Although Alexandra (who actually sang in the film) is as beautiful as Aaliyah, her uninspired performance left audiences wishing for the real thing. Critics claimed Alexandra "lacked magnetism" and that the overall film failed "to capture the magic" of Aaliyah's legacy.
The real Aaliyah, seen here three months before her death at age 22, was a Brooklyn native who, after appearing on "Star Search," began singing with her aunt, Gladys Knight, before launching her own music career. On Aug. 25, 2001, the young singer died in a tragic small-engine plane crash in the Bahamas that also claimed the lives of eight other passengers.
Unfortunately, actress Amanda Fuller from "Last Man Standing" just wasn't the right pick for the lead of the 2014 Lifetime original movie "The Brittany Murphy Story." Amanda looked nothing like the late Brittany but also failed to bring her spirit to the film. In fact, Brittany's father, Angelo Bertolotti, slammed Amanda's take on the role, tweeting, "My daughter #brittanymurphy would be horrified to know who they chose to play her and how cheap it all is." Critics agreed, saying it was a "toneless slog" and "boring and meandering."
The real Brittany Murphy was a wide-eyed beauty with a quirky personality who won fans over with her playful smile and infectious laugh. Sadly, Brittany's light was extinguished too soon when she died on Dec. 20, 2009, at age 32 from pneumonia with multiple drug intoxication listed as a contributing factor.
Lifetime's 2013 biopic "Ring of Fire" told the story of country singer June Carter Cash. Matt Ross starred as her husband, Johnny Cash, and singer Jewel Kilcher took on the role of June. While the TV movie was no "Walk the Line," the two actors did an amazing job transforming themselves into one of the most famous country music duos in history.
In real life, Johnny Cash and June Carter were a couple deeply in love. The two married on March 1, 1968, and remained together until June's death on May 15, 2003. Johnny died four months later on Sept. 12 from diabetes complications and, perhaps, a broken heart.
Australian actress Natasha Bassett starred as pop princess Britney Spears in Lifetime's 2017 biopic "Britney Ever After." Not only was the film an unauthorized account of Britney's early rise to fame and later personal troubles, but none of the actors actually resembled the real-life people they portrayed. One critic called the movie a "car crash" and we can't help but agree.
The real Britney Spears is hard to copy. After overcoming her highly publicized personal problems, Britney's now back on top thanks to new music (like 2016's "Glory"), a deal with fashion brand Kenzo and an extended contract for her Las Vegas residency.
In May 2017, Lifetime premiered the dramatized biography "Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland" starring long-time MJ impersonator Navi (seen here in 2005). The story was told from the perspective of two of Michael's bodyguards who witnessed the King of Pop's life behind the curtain. Surprisingly, the film (and Navi) did an incredible job portraying Michael as a man, a father and a person struggling with the consequences of extreme fame.
The real Michael Jackson, seen here in 1988, was a complex man who began his musical ascension in 1964 as a member of The Jackson 5. After 45 years of fame, family, turmoil and, later, legal and financial troubles, Michael died on June 25, 2009, from an accidental drug overdose.
In Lifetime's original biography "Liz & Dick," which focused on the tempestuous relationship between Hollywood stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Lindsay Lohan and Grant Bowler played the title roles. Sadly, both stars did a terrible job bringing these silver-screen legends (and lovers) back to life. Critics blamed Lindsay's "frozen face" and "blank stare" for the majority of the film's failure but noted that even Grant, who mostly played a volatile drunk in the film, was no saving grace. We will give the production's makeup artists and hair stylists some due credit, however, as Lindsay definitely mirrored Liz in all her brunette beauty.
The real Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton met and fell in love while filming the 1963 historical drama "Cleopatra." At the time, both stars were married to other people. But by 1964, they were divorced and ready to exchange vows with one another. The couple remained together for a decade before divorcing in 1974. However, a year later, they remarried only to call it quits for good in 1976. In interviews, Elizabeth shared that Richard was her true "soulmate" and, based on Richard's surviving diaries, it would seem he felt the same about her.
In Lifetime's 2008 biopic "Coco Chanel," Shirley MacLaine starred in the title role as an older Coco looking back on her long life from childhood to her work as a fashion designer and epic style influencer. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe and we think it has everything to do with Shirley's elegant and spot-on portrayal.
The real Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in France in 1883. Nicknamed "Coco," the young woman who started her life as a seamstress grew to become one of the most influential designers in the world. She created the Chanel empire, famous today for fashion and cosmetics. Coco passed away in Paris on Jan. 10, 1971, at the age of 87.