Celebrity Turned Politician

Since Al Franken finally secured his Minnesota Senate State last year, he’ll go on to join an elite list of celebrities turned politicians. Franken is now in the same company as Ronald Reagan, Arnold, Sonny Bono, Clint Eastwood and Cooter from “The Dukes of Hazard” who have made a career switch.

After all, it’s only natural for a celebrity to turn to a life of politics after their career in the spotlight has fizzled out. Why wouldn’t celebrities want to become politicians? They already have fortune and fame, so why not add power to their resume? They also have to do little campaigning, since the media will jump all over their run at office.

Here’s a look at the types of celebrities that were good enough, smart enough and gosh darn, people like them enough for a new career in politics.


This one is a given. Being a professional athlete has a short life span and an athlete has to do something after their sports career. There have been a lot of athletes turned politicians, almost too many too list, so here’s a glimpse at a couple of them.

Bill Bradley played for the New York Knicks before becoming a Senator from the great state of New Jersey. He also made a run for the Democrat’s presidential nomination in 2000 gaining endorsements from Spike Lee, Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. Oh yeah, AND he’s a Hall of Famer.

Jack Kemp was a NFL quarterback for teams that included the Steelers, Chargers and Bills before diving into a very successful political career. He was a member of Congress, as a Republican representing New York state, during the 80’s. He made a presidential bid in 1988, and went on the be in the cabinet of  G.H Bush and eventually was a ticket with Bob Doyle in the 1996 presidential election.

Lynn Swann was part of that team in the 70’s called The Pittsburgh Steelers. After a stint in the broadcaster’s booth, Swann set his sights on becoming Governor of Pennsylvania. Swann ran against, and lost to, former Philly mayor Ed Rendell in the 2006 race; but this hasn’t slowed the Hall of Famer down. He considered running for a seat in Congress in 2008, but didn’t file for the election, and now he’s eying up that Governor’s spot again in 2010.

Jim Bunning pitched in the majors for 17 years with teams like the Phillies, Pirates, Dodgers and Tigers. He even made the Hall of Fame, but since then he returned home to Kentucky and has been a Senator for the past decade.

Richard Petty, aka “The King”, is a NASCAR legend, that nickname says it all. That’s why he should have been a shoe-in for the 1996 North Carolina Secretary of State, but ultimately lost.

Jesse “The Body” Ventura can be remembered for a lot of things. He was a classic villain in the world of professional wrestling and later became one of the WWF’s best known commentators. He also starred with “The Governator” in Predator and The Running Man. He eventually went on to become the Governor of Minnesota in 1998 as an independent. Maybe it was Jesse that gave Arnold the idea to become Governor.

Child Stars

Life can be really tough for former child stars. You usually end up dead or are a full fledged addict appearing on some crappy reality series. Here’s a couple that went into politics instead. Thank me later Screech.

Shirley Temple was the essential child star in the era of black and white film. After growing up, she made her first political move in 1967 after an unsuccessful bid at Congress to represent California. However, she rebounded and became a respected diplomat for the U.S. She was an ambassador to the U.N., and served as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

Gary Coleman became victim to many of the tragedies that hit child stars, but has really bounced back as of late. He was one of 135 candidates in the 2003 California recall election. While his run for Governor of California may have been a satirical comment on the election itself, he still finished in 8th place. I would love to see Gary in some sort of political employment, maybe a member in Obama’s cabinet. “What’cha talking about Barack” could really catch on.

Will Rogers, Jr. was the son of famous screen cowboy, uh, Will Rogers. He actually starred in a couple of films with dad, served under George Patton in WWII and eventually moved into politics. He ran for Senator of California in 1946, but lost. He later a delegate to the Democratic National Convention, member of the California State Parks Commission and was part of the Commission on Indian Affairs for LBJ.

Porn Stars

It doesn’t matter which side of the political spectrum you find yourself, we can all agree that we love porn. Here’s a couple of porn stars who made the jump into politics. Let’s hope that this is a trend that catches on.

Mary Carey was another one of those candidates for the 2003 California recall election. Her campaign was a joke, but her platform seemed promising, like making lap dances tax deductable and establishing a “Porn for Pistols” program. However, it turns out that she may actually take her political career more serious. She ran for Lt. Governor of California in 2006 and wants to run for President one day.

Marilyn Chambers was a trendsetter in the porn industry, so why not take that into politics. Chambers ran as V.P. on the Personal Choice Ticket during the Presidential elections in 2004 and 2008. Unfortunately she passed in 2009 ending anymore ventures into the political world.

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