Celebrities Turned Politicians


AL FRANKEN

Before he became known as Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, the Democratic leader served as a writer and actor on NBC’s Saturday Night Live for almost two decades and won five Emmys. He began his second term as senator in 2014.

 

 

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

The Austrian star, who served as governor of California from 2003 to 2010 as a Republican, is best known for his action movie roles.

 

MELISSA GILBERT

The actress, a Democrat who rose to fame playing Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie in the ’70s and who took part in Dancing With the Stars in 2012, ran for a U.S. congressional seat in Michigan in 2015. She dropped out of the race in 2016, citing continued problems from neck and back injuries from a 2012 accident.

 

RONALD REAGAN

The late former U.S. president and Republican leader was an actor from the ’30s to the ’60s, starring in movies such as Hellcats of the Navy, Kings Row and Bedtime for Bonzo. He served as the governor of California between 1967 and 1975 and as the 40th president of the United States between 1981 and 1989. He died in 2004 at age 93.

 

CLAY AIKEN

The singer, the runner-up of American Idolseason two, ran for Congress as a Democrat in North Carolina’s second congressional district in 2014 and lost. Had he won, he would have become the first openly gay congressman elected from the South.

 

SHIRLEY TEMPLE

The iconic former child star, also known as Shirley Temple Black, ran for Congress as a Republican in 1967 and lost. She began a diplomatic career in 1969, becoming a member of United States’ delegation to the United Nations. In 1974, President Gerald Ford appointed the actress ambassador to Ghana. In 1976, she was made the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush made her the U.S. ambassador to Prague.

 

CLINT EASTWOOD

The four-time Oscar-winning actor and director was elected mayor of the small town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in 1986 and served one term. In 2001, California Governor Gray Davis appointed him to the State Park and Recreation Commission. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger re-appointed the actor to the position in 2004 and also appointed him to the California Film Commission that year.

 

SEAN DUFFY

The Republican leader and former reality star, who appeared on The Real World: Boston, Road Rules: All Stars and Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, served as district attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin between 2002 and 2010. A year later, he was elected the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 7th congressional district.

 

JESSE VENTURA

Ventura rose to fame as pro wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura and was known for wearing feathered boas in the ring. He dabbled in an acting career, making his big screen debut with fellow entertainer-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1987 movie Predator. He got into politics in the ’90s, serving as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota between 1991 to 1995 and later, as governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003 after running as a third-party candidate.

 

FRED THOMPSON

Thompson, a former former Republican U.S. senator from Tennessee and former presidential candidate, began his onscreen acting career in the ’80s and appeared in Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Trial by Jury as well as movies such as Secretariat, Die Hard 2and Baby’s Day Out.

 

SONNY BONO

The late singer and former husband of Cher served a four-year term as mayor of Palm Springs, California, starting in 1988, a year after he registered to vote himself. In 1992, he ran in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate and lost. In 1994, he won the House of Representatives seat, representing Palm Springs, and was re-elected in 1996. Bono died in a skiing accident two years later. He was 62.

 

 


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