From Hollywood to Politics - The Stars that Made It

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The selection of the last president and the involvement of Hollywood celebrtities in the political arena have raised many questions regarding the legitimacy of their voice , opinion, and participation. However, the mixing of the famous with the political is not a new phenomenon by any stretch. Celebtiries have found their way into politics, using their name recognition and often positive public opinion. Here are a few celebrities that made it into politics, some in very high positions.

Ronald Reagan

Before becoming the 40th President of the United States, Reagan held an impressive filmography resume, including many motion pictures and television episodes. He starred in the films "Dark Victory", "All American", and "Kings Row" to name a few. During his army service in World War II, he acted and narrated military training films. In television he is known for hosting the General Electric Theater. Though he started as a Democrat, he moved to the right in the 1950s and became a Republican in 1962. He acted as the Governor of California between 1967 and 1975 and ran his first presidential campaign in 1976, trying to challenge Gerald Ford as the GOP nominee. His failure to do so didn't stop him from running again in 1980, this time winning the Republican nomination and defeating the Democrat incumbent Jimmy Carter. He ended up winning second term as well, and as a result occupied the presidency office from 1981 to 1989.

Shirley Temple

The child star, known mostly for her infectious smile, golden curls, and high energy was an american icon. From acting to singing and dancing, she did it all. She began her career at the small age of 3 and gained international attention and fame two years later, when she was featured in the movie "Bright Eyes". She was a box-office star well into her adolescence and had a whole line of merchandise under her name. In 1969 she started her diplomatic career, when she represented the United States at a UN session. Later she was named the 9th United States Ambassador to Ghana, 18th Chief of Protocol of the United States, and 27th United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia under President George H. W. Bush.

Clint Eastwood

The handsome actor turned filmmaker and musician is one of the most iconic Western films stars in the world. He first rose to international fame after the release of the "Dollars Trilogy" during the 1960s. He later went on to star in many western films, becoming a cultural icon of the genere. His hollywood success didn't stop there and he is also an Academy Award winner for his work as a director. Apart from his film interest, he is also a registered Libertarian and won the elections for the mayor of Carmel-by-the-sea, California in 1986. In 2001, he was appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission. He is known to have endorsed Mitt Romney during the 2012 election cycle and remains vocal in politics.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger, a.k.a The Terminator, began his career has a bodybuilder at the age of 15, winning Mr. Universe at the age of 20. He later became known to the American public after leading many Hollywood action films, among which are "Conan the Barbarian", "Commando", and of course "The Terminator" franchise. He later showed his comedic side in movies like "Twins" and "Kindergarten Cop". Affiliated with the Republican party, he was sworn as the 38th Governor of California in 2003, and held this position for two terms, after winning re-election in 2006. In 2011, after completing his second term, he came back into acting and it looks like he is there to stay.

Melissa Gilbert

Known to many as Laura Ingalls Wilder, the young daughter in the family of the highly popular series "Little House on the Prairise", Melissa Gilbert has continued on to do many things. While filming the successful show, she also appeared in multiple television films. Later on, when the series ended, she continued appearing in television films and later on expended her reach into animation films by doing voice work. In addition, she appeared in the highly popular reality show Dancing with the Stars, in which she finished in fifth place after suffering a head injury. Her introduction to politics came when she launched her campaign for Michigan's 8th congressional district in the 2016 congress elections. However, the self proclaimed Democrat had to drop out of the race due to health issues.

Stacey Dash

Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Not sure if anyone who ever watched Clueless thought that Dione will become such a prominent political figure. Nevertheless, it was this film and the television series that followed that earned her fame and made her a familiar face on the television screen. She went on to appear in other films and TV series. In 2014 she was hired by Fox News as a contributor and commentator. This was her first platfrom to start voicing her poltical opinions. She made a few controversial remarks that gained her much criticism, and also lead to the termination of her Fox News contract. Though she voted for Obama in 2008, she is now recognized with the Republican party and endorsed Mitt Romney. On 2018 she registered to run in California's 44th congressional district, but withdrew her nomination a month later.

Jerry Springer

By David Shankbone [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

As the host of the most successful Tabloid talk show, "The Jerry Springer Show", Jerry Springer is a definite household name. After 27 seasons and almost 4000 episodes, he coined many known phrases and quotes. He also appeared in multiple movies and his a former law practitioner. In 1970 he ran for Congress, and though failed, gained major popularity. In 1971 he was elected to the Cincinnati City Council but later had to resign due to a scandal. When he tried to run in 1982 as the Democratic Nominee for governor of Ohio, his controversial past was used by him as a proof of authenticity. He later considered running to the Senate in 2000 and 2004, but his problemtic reputation due to his tabloid talk show made him back down.

Cynthia Nixon

By Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (100Years_5815) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

As one of the leading ladies on the successful hit series "Sex and the City", most of us felt like we already knew Cynthia Nixon. She was in our living room all the time as Miranda Hobbes between 1998-2004, and later in the two consecutive films. But she keeps on surprising. Apart from appearing on the screen, she also has multiple Broadway successes under her name, and even Tony awards. In 2018 she made another shift in her life when she announced her campaign for Governor of New York, challenging the incumbent Andrew Cuomo. Even though she lost in September 2018, her real success came in the form of a major accomplishment at the poles, gaining 1/3 of the votes.

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