As larger-than-life personalities go, it's hard to top Henry VIII. The multitalented, athletic, tyrannical, lustful monarch left an indelible stamp on history with his founding of the Church of England, while his epic love life (marrying six women, divorcing two, outliving one, beheading two) has fascinated us for almost five centuries.
No wonder, then, that some of the greatest actors of all time have clamored to play him on film and television. Henry has popped up everywhere - from Oscar-winning biopics (The Private Life of Henry VIII, A Man For All Seasons) to silly sitcom walk-ons (Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie). Some Henry VIII actors, like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Ruairi O'Connor, were born to play young, sexy Henry, while others, like Charles Laughton and Keith Michell, were destined to embody the king in his corpulent waning years. Yet others - Damian Lewis and Robert Shaw, for instance - capture the man at a peak of power and charisma.
Here are thirty fictional Henrys covering over a century of motion pictures, from the silent-film era to streaming TV. Have a look, and then decide: who was best suited to wear the trademark red beard and floppy hat?
Birthplace: Drimnagh, Republic of Ireland
Birthplace: St John's Wood, London, United Kingdom
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia