Though it was an off-year election, Election Day got us thinking this week about politicians who got their start on the silver screen. Without further ado, here are our Top 5 Actors Turned Politicians:
1. Al Franken
Though he is mostly remembered as a writer on “Saturday Night Live,” Al Franken is credited with appearing in nearly 100 “SNL” episodes over a 17-year period. After 15 nonconsecutive seasons on the hit sketch series, Franken, now 62, went from political talk show host to Senator in 2009. With his term up in 2014, he plans to seek re-election, showing no signs of letting go of his newfound political career.
2. Arnold Schwarzenegger
From body builder to actor to governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has done it all. The “Running Man” became the Governator of California in the 2003 “Total Recall” election and won re-election in 2006. Though his political career was not without controversy, Schwarzenegger told Forbes magazine that his top three lessons for young people are “trust yourself, don’t be afraid to fail, and work your butt off.” Arnold has since returned to Hollywood and is set to co-star in “The Expendables 3.”
3. Kal Penn
In an instance that proves that actors are often very different from the characters they play, Kal Penn, star of the “Harold & Kumar” trilogy, left his full-time gig on FOX’s hit “House” in 2009 for the position as Associate Director in the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. He stayed until summer 2011 – albeit with a break in the middle to film “A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.” Penn also worked on President Obama’s reelection before going back to Hollywood, where he most recently starred in the now-cancelled “We Are Men.” Trailer Slightly NSWF:
4. Shirley Temple
In 1967, beloved former child star Shirley Temple Black ran for Congress. She lost the election but was later named a U.S. Representative for the United Nations by President Nixon and eventually appointed U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. In respect to her place in Hollywood and her later years, Temple once said "Shirley Temple doesn't hurt Shirley Temple Black. Shirley Temple helps Shirley Temple Black because Shirley Temple is remembered with love and with affection. I am thought of as a friend -- which I am."
5. Clint Eastwood
Actor and director Clint Eastwood has been in the public eye for over six decades. He is famous for his roles in westerns during the 1960s and later earned an Oscar in 2004 for directing “Million Dollar Baby.” Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California in 1986 and served one term. He did not run for reelection because his celebrity was attracting too many tourists to Carmel. Since then, Eastwood, now 83, has continued to be an active voice in politics, including his much-publicized speech at the last Republican National Convention, as well as continuing to star in and direct award-winning films.