28 Actors Who Went Into Politics People

28 Actors Who Went Into Politics

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List of Actors Who Went Into Politics Ranked by Fame and Popularity. It seems that every actor has an opinion about politics. Several actors actually made the transition to become politicians later in life, while others started their careers in politics. Some actors focused on local governments, while others were elected to national offices. This list includes actors who recently threw in their hat and ran for office, as well as many who got elected.

Who is the most famous actor who went into politics? Ronald Reagan tops our list. To date, Reagan is the only former-actor to make it all the way to the office of the President of the United States, which he held from 1981-1989. Ronald Reagan starred in films such as "Kings Row" and "Bedtime for Bonzo," before entering into politics. He served as the Governor of California from 1967-1975. Arnold Schwarzenegger, best known for playing the title role in “Terminator,” was also the Governor of California from 2003-2011.

Some actors who are also politicians focused on their local governments. Clint Eastwood has directed and starred in Oscar Winning films like "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby." He served as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California from 1986-1988. He also served on the California State Park and Recreation Commission and he spoke at the 2012 National Republican Convention.

Why do you think so many actors go into politics? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


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  1. In 2015, Little House on the Prairie actress Melissa Gilbert announced she would run for a congressional seat in Michigan's 8th district. The former child actress and her husband, fellow actor Timothy Busfield, live 60 miles from Detroit in a town called Howell. Although she had no prior political experience, Gilbert did serve two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild. Gilbert, a Democrat running in a Republican stronghold, said in a statement about her campaign: "I believe building a new economy is a team effort, and we need to bring fresh voices to the table to get the job done. Please join my campaign, and together we can build that new economy for Michigan."

    Source: Huffington Post

    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 51
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, USA, California
    • Profession: Television director, Businessperson, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: Little House on the Prairie, The Soul Collector, The Miracle Worker, Shattered Trust: The Shari Karney Story, The Babymaker: The Dr. Cecil Jacobson Story, + more
  2. Ronald Reagan starred in films such as "Knute Rockne, All American" and "Bedtime for Bonzo" and was president of the Screen Actors Guild before entering into politics.  Reagan was the Governor of California from 1967-1975 and the President of the United States from 1981-1989.
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    • Age: Died at 93 (1911-2004)
    • Birthplace: Tampico, Illinois, USA
    • Profession: Spokesperson, Politician, Soldier, Lifeguard, Radio personality, + more
    • Credits: Dark Victory, Knute Rockne, All American, The Killers, This Is the Army, + more
  3. Steven Michael Quezada

    Breaking Bad actor Steven Michael Quezada is running for county commissioner of Albuquerque, New Mexico, the same city where he, as DEA Agent Steve Gomez, fought the good fight against drug lords and meth heads in AMC's acclaimed series. Announced on July 21, 2015, the actor, comedian, and community activist, will be running as a Democratic candidate.
  4. Clint Eastwood has directed and starred in Oscar Winning films like "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby."  He served as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, from 1986-1988. He also served on the California State Park and Recreation Commission, and he spoke at the 2012 National Republican Convention.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 85
    • Birthplace: San Francisco Peninsula, Northern California, California, Contiguous United States, San Francisco Bay Area, + more
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Businessperson, Politician, Pianist, Television producer, + more
    • Credits: Good, Unforgiven, Dirty Harry, Million Dollar Baby, Back to the Future Part II, + more
  5. Arnold Schwarzenegger is well-known for appearing in films like "Kindergarten Cop" and "Terminator."  He also has had a successful career as a politician serving as the Governor of California from 2003-2011.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 68
    • Birthplace: Thal, Austria
    • Profession: Bodybuilder, Television director, Businessperson, Politician, Investor, + more
    • Credits: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Terminator, Predator, Batman & Robin, Total Recall, + more
  6. As a child star, Shirley Temple appeared in films such as "The Little Princess" and "Bright Eyes." Though she retired from acting at age 22, she ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1967. She also served the US Ambassador to Ghana from 1974-1976 and as the US Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989-1992.
    more ABOUT
    • Age: Died at 86 (1928-2014)
    • Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States of America
    • Profession: Politician, Diplomat, Actor, Singer, Dancer
    • Credits: Fort Apache, Heidi, The Little Colonel, Curly Top, Captain January, + more
  7. Jesse "The Body" Ventura is well known for his experience with professional wrestling as well as his appearances in films like "Predator" and "The Running Man."  He served as the governor of Minnesota from 1999-2003. 
    more ABOUT
    • Age: age 64
    • Birthplace: Minneapolis, USA, Minnesota
    • Profession: Talk show host, Wrestler, Politician, Television producer, Author, + more
    • Credits: Predator, Batman & Robin, The Running Man, Demolition Man, The Master of Disguise, + more
  8. Ben Stein played the teacher in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" that utter the famous line, "Bueller? Bueller?" He also was a speech writer for Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
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    • Age: age 71
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C., USA
    • Profession: Commentator, Financial adviser, Author, Actor, Writer, + more
    • Credits: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Mask, Ghostbusters II, Married... with Children, Planes, + more
  9. Al Franken spent time as a writer and cast member of "Saturday Night Live" and he appeared in films like "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "Stuart Saves His Family."  He is currently serving as a United States Senator for the state of Minnesota.
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    • Age: age 64
    • Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA
    • Profession: Commentator, Politician, Comedian, Television producer, Screenwriter, + more
    • Credits: Saturday Night Live, Trading Places, When a Man Loves a Woman, Stuart Saves His Family, Politically Incorrect, + more
  10. Kal Penn is best known on screen for his pot-smoking character Kumar in the "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle" series.  Off screen, he served as Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement under Barack Obama.
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    • Age: age 38
    • Birthplace: Montclair, USA, New Jersey
    • Profession: Film Producer, Actor, Civil servant
    • Credits: House, Superman Returns, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, National Lampoon's Van Wilder, Son of the Mask, + more
  11. Sonny Bono worked on the "Sonny and Cher Show" and appeared in films like "Hairspray" and "Airplane II: The Sequel."  He served in the United States House of Representatives for California from 1995 until his untimely death in 1998.
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    • Age: Died at 63 (1935-1998)
    • Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
    • Profession: Film Score Composer, Record producer, Songwriter, Politician, Musician, + more
    • Credits: Hairspray, Airplane II: The Sequel, Late Night with David Letterman, Troll, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, + more
  12. John Gavin starred in films such as "Psycho" and "Spartacus." He also served as the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1981-1986.
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    • Age: age 84
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, USA, California
    • Profession: Businessperson, Politician, Actor
    • Credits: Psycho, Spartacus, Imitation of Life, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jennifer, + more
  13. Fred Grandy appeared on hit television shows like "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island." He also served in the United States House of Representatives for Iowa from 1987-1995.
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    • Age: age 67
    • Birthplace: Sioux City, Plymouth County, Woodbury County, United States of America, United States, + more
    • Profession: Politician, Radio personality, Actor
    • Credits: The Love Boat, Monster Squad
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    Fred Thompson
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    Fred Thompson has appeared in films like "Cape Fear" and "Curly Sue" and has been a recurring character on several iterations of "Law and Order."  He served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1994-2003.
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    • Age: age 73
    • Birthplace: USA, Alabama, Sheffield
    • Profession: Public speaker, Politician, Journalist, Lobbyist, Radio personality, + more
    • Credits: Cape Fear, Die Hard 2, Law & Order, The Hunt for Red October, Days of Thunder, + more
  15. Nancy Kulp is best known for playing the role of Jane Hathaway on "The Beverly Hillbillies." She ran for the office California Representative in United States House of Representatives in 1984, but she lost.
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    • Age: Died at 70 (1921-1991)
    • Birthplace: USA, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
    • Profession: Politician, Actor, Voice acting
    • Credits: The Aristocats, Shane, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Parent Trap, The Three Faces of Eve, + more
  16. Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi has appeared in well-over 100 films and movies.  She is also on the National Integration Council and she was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for India by the United Nations Population Fund in 1998.
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    • Age: age 65
    • Birthplace: India, Hyderabad
    • Profession: Politician, Actor, Social activist
    • Credits: Om Shanti Om, The Chess Players, Ishq Ishq Ishq, Karm, Fire, + more
  17. Ralph Waite appeared in films such as "The Bodyguard" and "Cool Hand Luke." He also ran three unsuccessful campaigns for California Congress.
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    • Age: Died at 86 (1928-2014)
    • Birthplace: White Plains, New York, United States of America
    • Profession: Television director, Politician, Social Worker, Actor, Minister of religion
    • Credits: NCIS, Cool Hand Luke, Carnivàle, The Waltons, Roots, + more
  18. Michael Cashman has appeared on the popular BBC television program "EastEnders." He has been a Member of the European Parliament for the West Midlands since 1999.
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    • Age: age 65
    • Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
    • Profession: Politician, Actor
    • Credits: EastEnders, Zee and Co., The Sandbaggers, Small-Time Revolutionary, I've Gotta Horse, + more
  19. Indian actor Vinod Khanna has appeared in over 140 films.  He also served as a member of India's Parliament from 1999-2009.
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    • Age: age 69
    • Birthplace: Peshawar, Pakistan
    • Profession: Politician, Film Producer, Actor
    • Credits: Kudrat, Guddi, Wanted, Parichay, Sachaa Jhutha, + more
  20. George Murphy appeared in several big musicals and he was given an honorary Oscar in 1951.  He served as a United States Senator from California from 1965-1971.
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    • Age: Died at 90 (1902-1992)
    • Birthplace: USA, Connecticut, New Haven
    • Profession: Politician, Actor, Dancer
    • Credits: Battleground, Bataan, This Is the Army, Border Incident, Letter of Introduction, + more
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