Some people might say that Americans have two main interests: Hollywood glamour and political involvement.
Donald Trump is the embodiment of the mixing of these two interests, but he is far from the only celebrity to run for political office.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian bodybuilder turned American actor, was most famous for his role as the Terminator, until he chose to run for governor of California. He served from 2003 to 2011, and was a generally well-liked politician. His transition from a hunky hulk to “the Governator” might not be so shocking when you realize his (now ex) wife Maria Schriver is part of the Kennedy clan, niece of President John F. Kennedy and his brothers, Senators Bobby and Ted Kennedy.
He was born in Austria and raised in Thal, living in the same home until he moved to the United States to pursue his career as a bodybuilder.
After becoming wildly successful in Hollywood, he maintained several residences, including a large estate in Los Angeles, which was the family’s primary residence until his infidelity ended their marriage. It sold in 2013.
Cynthia Nixon has been a working actress since 1980, but her most famous role was that of consummate New Yorker Miranda Hobbes on the now-classic HBO series Sex in the City.
Since the end of the show, Nixon has made a name for herself as an advocate for LGBT and women’s issues. After ending a five year relationship with Danny Mozes, she began dating her now-wife Christine Marinoni.
In 2018, Nixon announced her intention to run for Governor of New York as a Democrat, challenging incumbent Chris Cuomo. While she has made quite an impact in the campaign, it was clear from the start that her campaign would raise important issues in the Democratic primary, but she was a long shot to beat Cuomo. Cuomo did win the primary and was reelected governor in November 2018.
Nixon and her family, classic New Yorkers, maintain several residences throughout the city, including this home just off Central Park.
Clint Eastwood is tough, and he always gets his way. As an actor he has embodied a tough as nails attitude, in his famous Dirty Harry films, and has directed gritty, moving and successful films such as Million Dollar Baby and Flags of our Fathers.
His grit isn’t just an act, and it shows in his personal life. He has lived in Carmel, California for decades. He has been active in maintaining and protecting the town of 4,500, and after a dispute with the mayor, he ran for mayor in 1986. He won the election on a platform of, among other things, allowing ice cream cones to be sold within the city limits. He donated the $200 monthly salary to charity, and after his first term, decided not to run for reelection.
Jerry Springer, famous for his tabloid-style talk show, was a politician first, and then became a celebrity. Springer was born in London, England, during World War II, and emigrated to the United States in 1949 and ended up as a lawyer in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1971, he was elected as a city councilman, but in 1974 he had to resign amid a major, if not amusing in hindsight, scandal.
Springer had been a client of a massage parlor that fronted a brothel, and had the misfortune of paying with a check “for services rendered”. In spite of the short-term scandal, he was reelected to office in 1975, and appointed mayor in 1977.
After his stint in politics, he got involved in local television news, and eventually became the host of the nationally syndicated show The Jerry Springer Show, which interviews guests on salacious and dramatic topics, encouraging fights and dramatics to the delight of viewers.
Ronald Reagan was an actor, appearing in movies and on television from the 1930s to 1960s. He was famous, if not an A-list star, but became very well-known for his television appearances.
He ran for and was elected governor of California in 1966, and served two terms. After serving, he remained involved in politics, and very popular among conservative Republicans. He was elected president of the United States in 1980, and served two terms, and was generally well-lied and effective in his job.
He and his wife Nancy maintained their close ties to California, including visiting their ranch in Santa Barbara, which earned it the nickname the “Western White House”.
The Reagans also spent much of their time post-presidency in a nice home in the Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, where Ronald Reagan died in 2004.
These celebrities and politicians just go to show us all that you can really do anything you want, if you set your mind to it, and maybe have a lot of fans to vote for you, and enough money to fund your campaign ambitions.