Celebrities often look for a second act in their careers, including trading the glitz and glamour of Hollywood for the law and order of political office. Recently, ‘Survivor’ fan favorite Rupert Boneham announced he was interested in running for governor of Indiana, and Alec Baldwin is openly considering a run for mayor of New York City.
While Ronald Reagan may be our most important celebrity-turned-politician, plenty of other famous folks, from movie icons to reality TV stars, have become public servants.
Even now, it seems somewhat incredible that the action hero who immortalized the catchphrase “I’ll be back” was elected governor of California. Unfortunately, his tenure as the Golden State’s head honcho was marred by the state’s economic decline and the scandalous revelations about his mistress and love child soon after he left office.
This movie tough guy also held political office in California, but on a much smaller scale. He was the mayor of the picturesque town of Carmel-by-the-Sea from 1986-1988. Eastwood handily won the election, earning 72 percent of the votes. As mayor, he earned the tidy sum of $200 per week. No wonder he returned to his lucrative film career after finishing his term.
Duffy was known as the Midwestern party guy on the Boston season of ‘The Real World,’ but he had bigger ambitions than TV stardom. After the show, he became a lawyer and started the climb up the political ladder, resulting in his 2010 election to Congress, representing his home state of Wisconsin. Despite leaving reality TV behind, he retains one lasting connection: his wife is Rachel Campos, a cast member of the San Francisco edition of ‘The Real World.’
The former wrestler body-slammed the competition when he was elected governor of Minnesota in 1998. He proved to be very popular with his constituents, who liked being able to brag that “my governor can beat up your governor.” In fact, the only ones who could defeat him were the press, which he cited as the reason he did not run for re-election, due to the negative effect on him and his family.
As a longtime ‘Saturday Night Live’ writer and cast member, Franken did not hold back in expressing opinions about politicians. In 2008 he became one of them, when he was elected the junior senator from Minnesota after a closely contested race in which he won by only 312 votes. His most famous ‘SNL’ character, Stuart Smalley, was known for his self-help mantra “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and doggone it, people like me!” No doubt he hopes many more people will still like him when he is up for re-election in 2014.