More and more, celebrities are throwing their hat into politics for a variety of reasons. Clearly, some thrive on the fame and limelight and have a desire to have their voices heard on social issues. Other “stars” have unlimited funds to propel them into the political arena as advocates for their favorite causes. And just about all of these recognized personalities would have you believe that they want to “do good” and help society.
Whatever their reasoning, if celebrities like the seven on our list are successful in the world of politics, then it's highly likely that more will be following in their paths in future.
The following are seven super famous and very rich icons, both past and present, from the world of television and cinema, who have entered the political arena and influenced policies both nationally in the United States and locally.
7 Al Franken, $8 million
Hailing from Minnesota, this unique-looking man with the distinctive voice is currently a United States Senator. However, Mr. Franken is more widely recognized as a radio personality, political commentator and comedian. In fact, more people recognize him as a writer for Saturday Night Live than for his votes over the past five years as a Democrat on the Senate floor.
Never at a loss for words, Al Franken actually won his Congressional seat after demanding a manual recount because of the small difference in votes.
Although his net worth is listed at $8 million, most believe this could be growing much higher due to his books, screenplays and acting roles. An earlier generation identifies Senator Franken with the infamous book and comedy sketch, “ I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!: Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley.”
Franken is now chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law and focuses on mobile device privacy investigations.
6 Fred Thompson, $8 million
If you've ever considered a reverse mortgage and if you own a television set in the U.S., then you probably know the face of Fred Thompson. He is considered one of those rare specimens who have integrity both as a Senator and as an actor - even his voice has the sound of credibility.
Fred Thompson’s career has come full circle. Early in his career he appeared in such movies as No Way Out and Die Hard 2. He then entered politics and won the Tennessee Senate seat in a landslide. His straight-talking gave him an air of confidence and charisma that his constituents flocked to with enthusiasm.
After serving two terms, he returned to the small screen with a recurring role as District Attorney in the seemingly infinite Law & Order series. Now seen daily on financial commercials, Fred Thompson has never been so popular or recognizable. Evidently, he has no need for a reverse mortgage.
5 Jesse "The Body" Ventura, $12 million
Love him or hate him, Jesse Ventura shocked just about everyone when he left professional wrestling to enter politics. He began his career in government as a local mayor and then hurtled past well-known candidates from the major parties to become the Governor of Minnesota. His strategy was simple; Jesse Ventura ran as a Reform Party candidate and “the voice of the average person.”
But here are two facts you may not know about this unique personality:
- He was born as James George Janos
- He is actually considering a run for presidency in 2016
Stay tuned to see if Jesse Ventura can deliver another knockout punch to politics.
4 Ronald Reagan, $13 Million
The amazing journey of Ronald Reagan’s career began in 1937 when he secured his first Hollywood job. This screen cowboy would appear in more than 50 films, host television shows and would serve as president of the Screen Actor's Guild.
When he ran for the Governor of California and won, it was the beginning of a long political career. Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States and kept his Hollywood connections blooming. He was the oldest president ever elected.
Less than three months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan escaped an assassination attempt. His presidency, however, is better known for his successes rather than tragedies…his fiscal policy coined the term “reaganomics” and in one of his most famous speeches, he challenged the Soviet Union to end the Cold War. Few recall that Reagan was originally a liberal Democrat, but won the U.S. presidency as a conservative Republican.
3 Sonny Bono, $15 million
Famous for his marriage and partnership with singer and actress Cher, Sonny Bono entered politics for personal reasons, and to influence local regulations. Sonny owned a home and restaurant in Palm Springs and encountered endless red tape when he wanted to make changes to his buildings. In 1988 he ran and was elected mayor of the desert city. Six years later, Sonny Bono and was voted into the House of Representatives.
At the time of his death from a horrendous skiing accident, he had been married four times and was survived by 4 children.
2 Arnold Schwarzenegger, $300 million
Whether you know Arnie as a bodybuilder, actor, politician, Kennedy relative or “governator,” Schwarzenegger is one of the most identifiable performers turned politicians in the United States, and perhaps worldwide - on a recent visit to his Austrian homeland, he received applause as he walked through the airport.
Arnold Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame as both a fitness idol and Hollywood action film pioneer. His big break came in 1982 with the release of Conan the Barbarian and the hits kept on coming, reaching a pinnacle with the wildly popular motion picture, The Terminator.
As a Republican, his marriage to Maria Shriver of the Kennedy dynasty set tongues wagging. And when he was first elected as Governor of California in 2003, he became an object of mirth. But he has survived numerous scandals and a lot of cynicism to secure a large fortune along with his place in the hearts of many Americans.
1 Clint Eastwood, $375 million
At a staggering $375 million in net worth, Clint Eastwood made a name for himself in those well-loved wild west movies. To the surprise of many, however, Eastwood has endorsed gun control since the 1970’s.
But Clint wanted to give back to his hometown. In the 1980s he proposed to build a small structure in downtown Carmel to improve the area. The town council responded with disrespect. They hassled Eastwood with regulations, building permits, zoning laws and tax codes. Didn’t they consider how upset this star of Unforgiven would be with their actions?
So in 1986, this Oscar-winning director and Dirty Harry star ran for office of Carmel, California and won with an overwhelming majority. Noting his current net worth, it's no wonder he was not dissuaded by the $200 per month mayor’s salary...