'SNL' star Kate McKinnon honors Ruth Bader Ginsburg with soaring tribute

The "Saturday Night Live" star, who rather infamously portrayed the late Supreme Court justice, called the legal and cultural icon "a real-life superhero."
/ Source: TODAY

Kate McKinnon paid tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday night with a soaring tribute.

The "Saturday Night Live" star, who rather infamously portrayed the late Supreme Court justice, called the legal and cultural icon "a real-life superhero."

“For so many of us, Justice Ginsburg was a real-life superhero: a beacon of hope, a warrior for justice, a robed crusader who saved the day time and again," McKinnon said in a statement sent to TODAY.

"Playing her on 'SNL' was a profound joy because I could always feel the overwhelming love and gratitude that the audience had for her. It was one of the great honors of my life to meet Justice Ginsburg, to shake her hand, and to thank her for her lifetime of service to this country.”

McKinnon met Ginsburg last year when the two crossed paths in the audience of an Off-Broadway production of "Fiddler on the Roof." One Twitter user posted a pic from the audience showing McKinnon shaking Ginsburg’s hand.

One actor from the production, Nick Raynor, described McKinnon as visibly “starstruck” in a video shared to Twitter. Another actor in the show shared a pic of the pair posing for photos on stage.

“The notorious, honorable, badass, iconic #RBG visited us tonight at @fiddlernyc ?,”Abby Goldfarb wrote on Instagram. “If that wasn’t enough, #katemckinnon came too…their meeting was epic. I have no words."

McKinnon made her debut as Ginsburg in February 2015, appearing on Weekend Update to respond to concerns about her age. Since then, she appeared countless times as the Supreme Court justice who was as pioneering as she was brash.

The long-serving justice was supportive of McKinnon’s portrayal, in which she played up Ginsburg’s feistiness and donned oversized glasses and robes. “I would like to say ‘Gins-burned’ sometimes to my colleagues,” Ginsburg remarked while doing press for the premiere of her documentary in 2018, referencing McKinnon’s tagline. “I liked the actress who portrayed me.”

On Friday, Ginsburg died "surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer."

She was 87 years old.