List of Actor Politicians

this is a list of actors turned politicians/ Politicians turned actors
While I was initially focusing on American politicians, I have now included others as well.
I am also now including actors who ran for office but didn't win, yet were notable. I am also only counting more people with more than 1 or 2 acting credits, so john McCain's appearance in 24 doesn't count.
These are candidates both serious and not serious.
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Ronald Reagan
Production Manager, General Electric Theater
Ronald Reagan is, arguably, the most successful actor in history, having catapulted from a career as a Warner Bros. contract player and television star, into serving as president of the Screen Actors Guild, the governorship of California (1967-1975), and lastly, two terms as President of the United States (1981-1989)...
“ Actor, President of SAG (1947, 1959), Governor of California (1967-1975), President of USA (1981-1989 had run unsuccessfully in 1968 and 1976). Republican ” - pgrass13
Arnold Schwarzenegger
With an almost unpronounceable surname and a thick Austrian accent, who would have ever believed that a brash, quick talking bodybuilder from a small European village would become one of Hollywood's biggest stars, marry into the prestigious Kennedy family, amass a fortune via shrewd investments and one day be the Governor of California!...
“ Actor, Governor of California (2003-2011) Republican. Was also President's council on Physical Fitness 1990-1993. ” - pgrass13
Jesse Ventura
Actor, Predator
Jesse Ventura was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Bernice Martha (Lenz), a nurse who was of German descent, and George William Janos, a steam fitter of Slovak ancestry. In November 1990, professional wrestler turned actor Jesse Ventura was elected to a four-year term as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota...
“ Pro-Wrestler, Actor, Mayor of Brooklyn Park (1991-1994), then Governor of Minnesota (1999-2003). Reform/ Independent. ” - pgrass13
Clint Eastwood
Perhaps the icon of macho movie stars, and a living legend, Clint Eastwood has become a standard in international cinema. Born May 31, 1930 in San Francisco, the elder of two children in a middle-class family, Eastwood stayed in high school until the comparatively late age of nineteen and worked menial jobs over a period of several years before enrolling at Los Angeles City College...
“ Served as Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA (1986-1988) Republican or Independent depending. ” - pgrass13
“ Was mayor of Cinncinati (1977-1978), having first been elected to the city council in 1971. Democrat ” - pgrass13
Al Franken
Al Franken is best known for nearly two decades of work on Saturday Night Live. During that time he wrote, performed in and produced hundreds of sketches, including "Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley" and "The Final Days," a piece about the last days of Richard Nixon's presidency. A noted political commentator and satirist...
“ Actor, Writer, Senator from Minnestota (2009-) Democrat ” - pgrass13
“ Singer, Actor, Mayor of Palm Springs (1988-1992),Congressman from California (1995-1998). Republican ” - pgrass13
“ Actor, lawyer, Senator from Tennessee (1994-2003), ran for President (2008). Republican ” - pgrass13
Kal Penn
Kal Penn was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey, to Asmita, a fragrance evaluator, and Suresh Modi, an engineer. His parents are Gujarati immigrants to America from India. He attended the Freehold Regional High School District's Performing Arts High School where he participated in the school's theater productions...
“ serving a minor political post (2009-2011) Democrat ” - pgrass13
John Lodge
John Davis Lodge, the movie actor who became a successful politician around the time that "Helen Gahagan' Douglas (the wife of Melvyn Douglas and the star of "She" (1932)) was making California politics safe for the likes of faded hoofer George Murphy and future General Electric Theater host Ronald Reagan...
“ Served as US Ambassador (various posts from 1955-1985), US House Member (1947-1951) and Governor of Connecticut (1951-1955). Republican ” - pgrass13
Shirley Temple
Shirley Temple was easily the most popular and famous child star of all time. She got her start in the movies at the age of three and soon progressed to super stardom. Shirley could do it all: act, sing and dance and all at the age of five! Fans loved her as she was bright, bouncy and cheerful in her...
“ Child star, Ambassador (various posts from 1974-1992). Republican ” - pgrass13
George Murphy
After giving up college, George Murphy decided to become a dancer. Starting in 1927, he worked with his wife and partner Julie Johnson on Broadway. In 1934, after his wife retired from show business, he worked with Shirley Temple, in Hollywood, as well as Eleanor Powell, Fred Astaire, and Ronald Reagan...
“ Was a US Senator form California (1965-1971). Republican ” - pgrass13
“ actor, Lt. Governor of Nevada (1955-1962). Republican ” - pgrass13
Alan Autry
He was raised in Riverdale, California, in the San Joaquin Valley. He was a star player at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
“ Mayor of Fresno (2001-2009). Republican ” - pgrass13
Jack Kelly
Actor, Maverick
Jack Kelly started acting at age two, modeling in soap ads and garnering a lifetime supply of soap for his pay. Jack continued to model until the age of nine when he appeared in his first play with Hope Emerson called "Swing Your Lady". Broadway shows and radio followed until his family moved to California in 1938...
“ Actor, became mayor of Huntington Beach (1983-1986). Republican ” - pgrass13
Manny Pacquiao
Voted "Person of the Year 2003" in Philippines, beating out President Arroyo for the award. Enjoys huge celebrity status in his native Philippines and therefore trains in the United States with trainer Freddie Roach at Wildcard Boxing Gym in Los Angeles, California. Formerly the champion of the OPBF...
“ Boxer, Actor, Congress of the Philippines (2010-). Various political parties. ” - pgrass13
Amitabh Bachchan
Son of well known poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Teji Bachchan. He has a brother named Ajitabh. He completed his education from Uttar Pradesh and moved to Bombay to find work as a film star, in vain though, as film-makers preferred someone with a fairer skin, and he was not quite fair enough. But they did use one of his other assets...
“ Star of Bollywood was also a politician (1984-1987). ” - pgrass13
“ Served in the US House from California(1977-1983, 1985-1997) Ran for President (1996), was a fairly controversial figure. Republican. ” - pgrass13
Fred Grandy
Fred is lovingly known as Gopher by his millions of fans around the world who watched him became for 9 years in the 1970s hit series The Love Boat. But, before Fred became well known as an actor, he went to "Phillips Exeter Academy" with David Eisenhower. Later, he became David's best man when he married Julie Nixon...
“ Served in US house from Iowa (1987-1995). Republican ” - pgrass13
“ Served in US House from Georgia (1989-1993). Democrat ” - pgrass13
Will Rogers Jr.
Will Rogers Jr. was elected as a Democratic congressman for Southern California in 1942. Although he served only 17 months in congress, he is best remembered as the American politician who did the most to try and save the Jews of Europe during World War II. Rogers joined the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People of Europe in 1943...
“ Served as a Congressman from California (1943-1944). Democrat ” - pgrass13
Sheila James Kuehl
Babyboomers remember well the diminutive (4'10"), dark-haired comedienne Sheila James who raised a smile with her portrayals of tomboyish kid sisters and boy-crazy high schoolers on late 50s and early 60s TV. For a while she was a huge hit backed by her characters' plaintive, pony-tailed presences, strategies and sheer persistence to get what they wanted...
“ Served on California State assembly (1994-2000) and State Senate (2000-2008). Was elected to the LA County Board of Supervisors in 2014. Democrat ” - pgrass13
Albert Dekker
A stage actor from 1927, Albert Dekker was an established Broadway star when he made his film debut ten years later. Tall and with rugged good looks, Dekker often played aggressive character roles, and was memorable as the double-crossing gang leader in the classic The Killers. From 1945 to 1946 he served a term in the California legislature representing the Hollywood district...
“ Served in the California Assembly (1945-1947). Democrat ” - pgrass13
John Gavin
Actor, Psycho
John Gavin, the American film and TV actor, businessman and diplomat who was Ronald Reagan's first Ambassador to Mexico, was born John Anthony Golenor. The future "Jack" Gavin was a fifth generation Angeleno on the side of his father Herald, who was descended from the Golenor family of Spain. The Golenors were early landowners in Spanish California...
“ Ambassador to Mexico (1981-1986), had also been president of SAG (1971). Republican ” - pgrass13
“ Held a number of positions under Ronald Reagan (1981-1982). Republican ” - pgrass13
Wendell Corey
Wendell Corey was a hard-working American character actor who appeared in numerous movies and television productions in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. Born on March 20, 1914 in Dracut, Massachusetts, in the northeastern part of the Commonwealth near the New Hampshire border, Corey was the son of a Congregationalist clergyman...
“ Republican campaigner, served on Santa Monica city council (1965-1968), ran for Congress (1966). Republican ” - pgrass13
Ben Stein
Ben Stein (Benjamin J. Stein) was born on Nov. 25, 1944 in Washington, D.C. The son of noted economist and writer Herbert Stein, he grew up in Silver Spring, Md., and attended Montgomery Blair High School. Some of his classmates included journalist Carl Bernstein, and actors Goldie Hawn and Sylvester Stallone...
“ Speech writer for Nixon and Ford, economist. Republican ” - pgrass13
Al Lewis
In the late 1920s, Lewis worked as a circus performer, but ultimately decided on college, earning a Ph.D. in child psychology from Columbia University. He taught school and wrote two children's books. In 1949, at the suggestion of a friend, Lewis turned to acting and joined the Paul Mann Actor's Workshop in New York...
“ Ran for Governor of New York on Green party ticket (1998). Green Party ” - pgrass13
“ Hosts a political radio show, and also ran for Congress. Republican/ Libertarian. ” - pgrass13
Gary Coleman
Without a doubt Gary Coleman was THE child TV star of the late 1970s and early 1980s. A refreshingly confident little tyke with sparkling dark, saucer-like eyes and an ingratiating, take-on-anyone burst of personality, the boy charmed the pants right off of TV viewers the minute he was glimpsed in national commercials...
“ Ran for California Governor in the same race Arnold won, but most people didn't take it seriously (2003). Independent. ” - pgrass13
“ Ran for Senate in Connecticut (2010). Republican ” - pgrass13
Mary Carey
Actress, Pervert!
Cleveland native Mary Carey was born into what could be charitably called a dysfunctional family. Both of her parents were mentally handicapped (her mother had been diagnosed as a schizophrenic) and she was taken away from her parents by her grandparents when she was three months old. After her parents divorced...
“ Ran for California Governor along with Arnold and Gary Coleman mostly as a publicity stunt (2003). Republican ” - pgrass13
“ Was a minor Candidate for Vice-President in 2004 and President in 2008. Personal Choice/ Boston Tea ” - pgrass13
Nancy Kulp
Nancy Kulp wore many hats: Publicity person, actress, linguist, would-be politician and teacher. Originally from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Kulp attended college in Florida, then headed for Hollywood to work in publicity for the movies, not star in them. Soon after arriving in Hollywood, Kulp was convinced...
“ Ran for the US House from Pennsylvania (1984). Democrat ” - pgrass13
“ Ran for President several times but was always considered a fringe candidate (1992, 2004, 2008). Democrat/ Republican ” - pgrass13
Mimi Miyagi
Mimi Miyagi was born Melody Damayo in Davao City, Philippines, the second of four children. Her parents were strict Seventh Day Adventists, and when the family moved to California, Mimi stayed with them until she reached high-school age, at which time her parents sent her back to the Philippines to be educated in a Seventh Day Adventist school...
“ Ran for Governor of Nevada (2006). Republican/ Libertarian ” - pgrass13
Pat Paulsen
Pat Paulsen was a comedian specializing in satire who thrived on television in the late 1960s. The highlight of his career came in the watershed year 1968 when - emulating Gracie Allen''s quixotic 1940 Presidential bid as the Surprise Party candidate - he launched his own campaign for the U.S. presidency on the STAG (Straight Talking American Government) ticket...
“ Ran for President many times but not too seriously ( 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 1992, 1996). Democrat/ Republican ” - pgrass13
Howard Stern
Howard Allan Stern was born on January 12, 1954, in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, to Rae (Schiffman), an inhalation therapist, and Bernard Stern, who co-owned a cartoon/commercial production studio. His grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Stern's first radio experience was at Boston University...
“ Ran for Governor of New York (1994). Libertarain ” - pgrass13
“ Mayor of San Juan (1969-1986) Senator for the Philippines (1987-1992) Vice President of the Philippines (1992-1998) President of the Philippines (1998-2001), Mayor of Manila (2013-). Various parties ” - pgrass13
“ Served in the Italian parliament (1987-1991). Partito Radicale / Partito dell'Amore ” - pgrass13
“ Served on Italian Parliament: Chamber of Deputies (2008-2013) Senate (2013-2014), and European Parliament (2014-). Various parties ” - pgrass13
“ Member of European Parliament for Britain (1999-2014), British House of Lords (2014-). Labour Party ” - pgrass13
Glenda Jackson
Few in modern British history have come as far or achieved as much from humble beginnings as Glenda Jackson has. From acclaimed actress to respected MP (Member of Parliament), she is known for her high intelligence and meticulous approach to her work. She was born to a working-class household in Birkenhead...
“ Member of British Parliament (1992-). Labour ” - pgrass13
Jello Biafra
Soundtrack, The Social Network
Eric Reed Boucher was born to Virginia Boucher and Stanley Boucher. Stanley a psychiatric social worker and poet and Virginia a librarian. His sister's name was Julie J. Boucher (1963-1996). As a child, Eric became interest in politics and was encouraged by both his parents. He watched the news a lot, one of has earliest memories is of watching the presidential assassination of John F. Kennedy...
“ Ran for Mayor of San Francisco (1979), Ran for President of US(2000). Green Party ” - pgrass13
Stephen Colbert
Stephen Tyrone Colbert (pronounced "col-BEAR") was born on May 13, 1964 in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the son of Lorna Elizabeth (Tuck) and James William Colbert, Jr., a doctor and medical school dean at Yale, Saint Louis University, and MUSC. He is the youngest of eleven children, and is of Irish Catholic background...
“ Started a campaign for President but didn't get very far (2008, 2012). Democrat/ Republican ” - pgrass13
“ Member of Italian Senate (1994-2001). Forza Italia ” - pgrass13
“ Elected to city council of Ulysses, New York(2014-). Democrat ” - pgrass13
Rajesh Khanna
Actor, Anand
Jatin Khanna, the first superstar of Indian and Hindi Cinema with 74 Golden Jubilee Hits - (which includes 48 Platinum Jubilee hits and 26 Golden Jubilee Hits) & in addition had 22 Silver Jubilee Hits and 9 average hits, was born on 29 December 1942 in Amritsar, Punjab, India. Known as the most versatile of all actors who later regionally were given superstar status in media...
“ Indian Congress (1992-1996) ” - pgrass13
Russell Means
Russell Means was born an Oglala/Lakota Sioux Indian. He was the first national director of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in which role he became prominent during the 1973 standoff with the U.S. government at Wounded Knee. In 1987, he joined the U.S. Libertarian Party and announced his candidacy for the party's presidential nomination...
“ Key Member of the American Indian Movement, Ran for president of Oglala Sioux Tribe (1974) Ran for President as a Libertarian (1988) Ran for Governor of New Mexico (2001). Libertarian/ Independant ” - pgrass13
Will Rogers
World-famous, widely popular American humorist of the vaudeville stage and of silent and sound films, Will Rogers graduated from military school, but his first real job was in the livestock business in Argentina, of all places. He transported pack animals across the South Atlantic from Buenos Aires to South Africa for use in the Boer War (1899-1902)...
“ Did a joke Campaign for President in 1928. Democrat ” - pgrass13
Roseanne Barr
Producer, Roseanne
Roseanne Barr, one of America's funniest comedians, has another side that not many people have seen. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. During her teenage years, she worked as a dishwasher at a local restaurant. She married Bill Pentland and they had three children together. They remained married for 16 years...
“ Ran for President (2012). Green/ Peace and Freedom ” - pgrass13
“ Ran for President of Panama (1994), appointed Minister of Tourism (2004-2009). ” - pgrass13
Sonny Landham
Actor, Predator
An actor with a powerful physique, booming voice and who has played several "Native American" characters, Sonny Landham first broke into mainstream film with a bit part as a police officer in Walter Hill's gang film The Warriors, then other minor roles in Southern Comfort & Poltergeist, before Walter Hill cast him in his first decent role as James Remar's gun happy...
“ Ran for Governor of Kentucky (2003) Ran for Kentucky State Senate (2004) Candidate for US Senate from Kentucky (2008). Rapublican/ Libertarian ” - pgrass13
“ Elected to Brazilian Congress (2010-) ” - pgrass13
Clay Aiken
Clayton Holmes Grissom was born in Raleigh, North Carolina 30 November 1978 to his mother, Faye Aiken Parker and his late father, Vernon Grissom. When Clay was a teenager, he had a love for teaching and helping young children and later on studied to became a school teacher. When he was about 23 years old...
“ Ran for Congress in North Carolina (2014). Democrat. ” - pgrass13
Craig X. Rubin
Craig X Rubin was born and raised in Southern California. He graduated from Beverly Hills High and then UCLA. Craig is married to Tara Rubin aka "Mrs. X" to her friends. Together they have seven children. When Craig is not acting he can be found at the family church in Pasadena teaching at their Bible College or doing stand-up comedy at one of the local night clubs.
“ Ran for Mayor of LA (2009). Independent. ” - pgrass13
George Takei
Actor, Mulan
Although primarily known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the television series Star Trek and the first six features, George Takei has had a varied career acting in television, feature films, live theater and radio. He also is a successful writer and community activist. George Takei was born Hosato Takei on April 20...
“ Ran for LA city council (1973) Member of Board of Directors of Southern California Rapid Transit District (1973-1984). Democrat ” - pgrass13
“ Is running for the House in Iowa. ” - pgrass13
“ Also ran in the California recall (Independent) ” - pgrass13
“ Also ran in California recall ” - pgrass13
“ 2016 Republican nominee for President. Also startes to run in 2000 under the Reform party and threatened to run in 2012 as a Republican. ” - pgrass13
Ralph Waite
Ralph Waite was born in White Plains, New York on June 22, 1928. Educated at Bucknell University where he graduated with a BA degree, Waite existed rather aimlessly as a young adult while trying to find his way in the world. Occupations came and went, including social worker, religious editor for Harper & Row...
“ Ran for US Congress in California in 1990 and 1998. Democrat ” - pgrass13
Helen Gahagan
Actress, She
This beautiful Broadway singer and actress appeared in only one film, portraying the forever-young ice goddess ("she who must be obeyed"), the title character in RKO's 1935 adaptation of H. Rider Haggard's tale, She, opposite Randolph Scott. In the latter 1940s, having entered politics, she would serve two terms in the lower house of the U.S...
“ US Congresswoman from Caifornia 1945 – 1951, Democrat ” - pgrass13
“ President of Guatemala (2016-) ” - pgrass13
“ Independent, Running for President in 2016, questionable on how serious he is. ” - pgrass13
“ Ran for President in 2008, but dropped out quickly. ” - pgrass13
“ As a joke ran for President in 1968. ” - pgrass13
“ President of SAG, 2001-2005, ran for congress in Michigan in 2016. Democrat. ” - pgrass13