Celebrities and political office: Those who ran...and those who are considering it
The most famous example of a celebrity politician is none other than the president, Donald Trump. He secured the 2016 presidential election after winning over supporters as a Washington outsider. Mr. Trump, a famous New York real estate developer, has his name on hotels and high-rise buildings around the world. He also became a household name with his reality television show on NBC "The Apprentice," in which he coined his famous phrase, "You're fired!"
The most famous actor-turned-political figure is Ronald Reagan, the B-movie actor who became president of the Screen Actors Guild, was twice elected to be governor of California, and then won the presidency twice, first taking office at age 69. At the time, he was the oldest president and the first divorced man ever sworn into the office. Known as "the Great Communicator" for his skill in speaking, Reagan was credited with helping to end the Cold War, overhauling the tax code with an eye toward supply-side economics . Before his political rise, as an actor, Reagan was signed by Warner Bros. to a seven-year picture contact, appearing in more than 50 films from 1937-1941.
Once half of the music duo Sonny and Cher, Sonny Bono was elected Mayor of Palm Springs, California in 1988, serving until 1992. Bono then ran in the California Republican primary for a Senate seat, losing against Senator Dianne Feinstein. Bono ran again in 1994 and won a congressional seat in California, serving the state's 44th Congressional District.
Jesse "The Body" Ventura
This former professional WWE wrestler ran and won his race to serve as Minnesota's governor from 1999 to 2003 as a member of the Reform Party. Similar to Trump, Ventura ran as a political outsider, declaring at his victory speech "We shocked the world." Ventura has since stayed an active voice in the political world, throwing his support behind Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in 2016. Ventura now works for Russian government-funded RT network.
The reality TV personality, former Olympic champion and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner said on a radio show that she would consider a run for Senate in California and that she wants to help change the perception of the Republican party. Jenner is an active supporter of the Republican party and regularly works with a non-profit group to bring LGBTQ issues to the forefront of Conservative members of Congress.
The musician, record producer and Michigan native teased Twitter followers about a potential run for U.S. Senate. While he has encouraged rumors about a "major announcement" in the near future, the artist, who goes by Robert James Ritchie, has not made a campaign filing with the Federal Elections Committee, nor has the GOP been notified of his possible run against Democratic incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow.
The blockbuster action star and former body builder ran and won his race serving the people of California as the state's 38th governor from 2003 to 2010 in a recall election. Schwarzenegger was a vocal advocate for combatting the effects of climate change while in office, and he encouraged health and fitness for America's schoolchildren. He has remained active in California and national politics, throwing his support behind Governor Kasich in the 2016 election, and often voicing his opposition to President Trump on Twitter. Schwarzenegger also took over from Mr. Trump as host of "Celebrity Apprentice" for a season, and the president mocked his viewership ratings.
Al Franken has served as a junior U.S. Senator from Minnesota since 2008 and was re-elected to his seat in 2014. Before turning to politics, Franken spent 37 years as a comedy writer, most notably serving on the writing staff of NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and appearing frequently in skits as actor on the show's cast. Franken has taken an active role in the Senate, where he serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Actor, Senator and one-time presidential candidate Fred Thompson served as Tennessee senator from 1994 to 2003. The notable political figure joined the cast of NBC's long-running crime and drama show "Law & Order" where he began filming during the August 2002 Senate recess. Taking a break from his acting career, Thompson launched a run for the Republican nomination for president in the 2008 election, but dropped out of the race in January of 2008.
Former cast member of MTV's "The Real World: Boston" back in 1997, Duffy was elected to serve in Congress after winning a House seat in his home state of Wisconsin. Duffy, a Republican, defeated state Senator Julie Lassa for the job in a contest to replace retiring Rep. David Obey, a Democrat who retired after holding the seat for 41 years. Duffy most recently spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio in 2016 in support of then-candidate Donald Trump.
This two-time Golden Globe nominated actress and Kentucky native hinted at a Senate run back in 2014 to unseat current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the longest-serving senator in the state's history. Judd served as a state delegate at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and has most recently been a vocal advocate for women's rights. She spoke at the Women's March on Washington in January following the election of President Donald Trump.
Recording artist of "American Idol" fame Clay Aiken took a swing at politics but proved to be a runner-up yet again -- defeated in North Carolina's second congressional district race by incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers in 2014. Had Aiken won, he would have become the first openly gay congressman elected from the South.
Host of the raunchy daytime talk show of the same name, Jerry Springer has had a long history with politics, first running for Congress in 1970 then later served as Mayor of Cincinnati from 1978-81. Springer was considered notorious himself in the state after stepping down as a councilman for writing a personal check to pay for a prostitute. He would go on to run for Ohio governor in 1982 but failed to secure the Democratic nomination. Springer said he would not return to politics after considering a potential run for U.S. Senate in 2000 and 2004, but backed out, saying that he thought that his show would prevent him from reaching potential supporters.
Actor Fred Grandy, best known for his portrayal of Gopher on "The Love Boat," was elected to Congress in 1986 and served four terms as the representative of Iowa's sixth Congressional District. During his tenure, he served on the Ways and Means Committee. After his seat was eliminated, Grandy ran for governor in Iowa, but he lost to Terry Branstad. The Harvard-graduated Grandy went on to be the president of Goodwill Industries, a commentator for NPR and also the host of his own radio show.