A "Hillary" from Harvard

"That woman looks like Hillary Clinton," remarked several spouses at the class of 1985's fifteenth reunion in June. The '85ers themselves had a ready rejoinder: "No--Hillary Clinton looks like Heidi Dallin."

The resemblance is startling indeed, enabling Dallin, an actress, to begin a professional sideline as a lookalike for the First Lady. Even without the special wig that accentuates her Hillariousness, Dallin's dead-on, dead-ringer status intrudes on her daily life. Tourists stop her on the street and ask to have their pictures taken with her. Executives on cell phones turn their heads and walk into lampposts. Hailing a cab is no problem. And when Dallin and a friend attended a Boston Red Sox game--with good seats--nearby fans kept pointing at Dallin, convinced that Mrs. Clinton was catching a few innings at Fenway Park.

When the Clintons broke into the national media in 1991, a friend sent Dallin a Time magazine picture of Hillary pasted next to one of Dallin, with the caption "Separated at Birth?" "I couldn't see it," Dallin says. Then, during the Gennifer Flowers imbroglio, Dallin and her mother watched the famous 60 Minutes interview with Hillary. "Mom said, 'You know, you really do look like her,'" Dallin recalls. After that authoritative pronouncement, the daughter reconsidered. Since then, she has posed as Hillary at the 375th anniversary celebration of her home town of Gloucester, Massachusetts--where a police cruiser picked her up and an ROTC honor guard stood by while she spoke--and (along with a Bill Clinton lookalike) has greeted and chatted with guests at a benefit for Children's Hospital in Boston. She has keynoted a leadership conference at Fitchburg (Massachusetts) State College, flown to Atlanta for a national contractors and roofers convention, and wowed the guests at the fiftieth birthday party of a woman who attended Wellesley with Hillary Rodham. At one corporate gathering, Dallin/Hillary gave a comical speech, but at first wasn't getting too many laughs. "It turned out that the last seven rows of the audience thought it really was Hillary, and weren't laughing out of politeness," Dallin explains. "Halfway through, they got the joke."

At Harvard, Dallin created her own concentration--in drama, with the late William Alfred as her adviser. She has been an actress and singer ever since, doing theater, commercials, film, and television. She and playwright Israel Horovitz founded the Gloucester Stage Company in 1981, and she still works and performs there.

Her Hillary role requires constant study of Mrs. Clinton's mannerisms and ever-changing hairstyles--and of current events. "I'm old-fashioned, and believe the office of the president deserves respect," Dallin says. "I have great admiration for Mrs. Clinton--she's intelligent and politically savvy. In public I almost feel a responsibility, since in a way I'm representing her." Meanwhile, as the real Hillary runs to represent the people of New York, Dallin's allegiance is clear. "I hope Hillary wins," she says. "I wish I could vote for her!"

~Craig Lambert
Read more articles by: Craig Lambert

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