Netflix's 'Hollywood' Is Not a True Story, but It Has Some Very Real Characters

Anna Quintana - Author

May 4 2020, Updated 2:46 p.m. ET


According to Ryan Murphy, the creator of the Netflix series Hollywood, the show is a "love letter to the Golden Age of Tinseltown." Taking place in the 1940s, Hollywood aims to tell the story of a group of aspiring actors and actresses trying to make it in post-World War II California. 

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However, the period drama is not a true story. Instead, it shows Hollywood from the eyes of the "outsiders." 

"What if the person with greenlight power was a woman? The screenwriter a black man? What if the heroine was a woman of color? The matinee idol openly gay? writer and director Janet Mock explained to The Hollywood Reporter. "Hollywood is a love letter to our little industry town where dreamers dwell, stars are born and magic transcends reality."

hollywood netflix cast

Jake Picking and Jim Parsons as Rock Hudson and agent Henry Wilson.

So, while Hollywood is definitely taking liberties when it comes to the history of cinema in America, there are some very real characters. From Rock Hudson to Vivien Leigh, some of the biggest names from classic films will be making cameos in the show — and they will be portrayed by some recognizable faces. 

Keep scrolling to see the Hollywood cast and the real-life celebrities they will be portraying on the Netflix series.

Jake Picking as Rock Hudson

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Source: Getty Images

Rock Hudson was best known for his roles in Giant and Pillow Talk — and for hiding his sexuality for decades while being one of the most popular leading men of his time. 

He sadly passed away in 1985 at the age of 59 due to complications from AIDS. 

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Harriet Harris (Eleanor Roosevelt)

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Source: Getty Images

Portraying the former First Lady is actress Harriet Harris. Eleanor Roosevelt was rumored to have been involved with some well-known women during her marriage to Franklin D. Roosevelt, including Amelia Earhart and reporter Lorena Hickok. 

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Michelle Krusiec (Anna May Wong)

michelle kruseic anna may wong
Source: Getty Images

Anna May Wong is considered the first Chinese American actress to make it in Hollywood. However, she was extremely typecasted, landing roles such as a scheming Mongol slave in The Thief of Bangkok and Tiger Lily in Peter Pan. 

She is being portrayed by Hawaii Five-0 actress Michelle Kruseic. 

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Queen Latifah (Hattie McDaniel)

queen latifah hattie mcdaniel
Source: Getty Images

Portraying the first person of color to win an Oscar — for her role as "Mammy" on Gone With the Wind — is none other than actress Queen Latifah. 

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Katie McGuinness (Vivien Leigh)

katie mcguinness vivien leigh
Source: Getty Images

Hattie McDaniel's Gone With the Wind co-star Vivien Leigh will also be making an appearance in Hollywood courtesy of actress Katie McGuinness. Along with Gone With the Wind, Vivien starred in many classic films including A Streetcar Named Desire (alongside Marlon Brando) and Anna Karenina. 

She was also married to Laurence Olivier from 1940 to 1961. 

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Jim Parsons (Henry Wilson)

jim parsons henry wilson hollywood

The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons will be portraying predatory Hollywood agent Henry Wilson, who was best known for "inventing" Rock Hudson and launching the careers of many others including Lana Turner, Tab Hunter, and Natalie Wood. In short, Henry Wilson makes Harvey Weinstein look like a saint. 

Stream Hollywood on Netflix now. 

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