Cynthia Nixon exploded onto the political scene Monday as she confirmed her long-rumored run for New York governor, but the Sex and the City star isn’t the first celeb to dip her toes into politics.
From the action stars to reality TV personalities, here are other notable celebs-turned-politicos.
Out of all the celebrities who have launched a campaign for office, none may stand out more than our current commander in chief. Trump’s unlikely Republican bid spun upon his brash personality, penchant for insults and the reputation for deal-making he used to launch his mega-hit reality series The Apprentice and its spin-off, Celebrity Apprentice.
Trump isn’t the only celebrity to take his political ambitions all the way to the top. Ronald Reagan served as America’s beloved jelly bean lover-in-chief after a stint as California governor that followed his acting career. Reagan’s credits include such films as Knute Rockne, All American, where he earned his moniker the Gipper, and Bedtime for Bonzo, in which the future president played a professor raising a chimp.
Once a star of the Democratic Party, Franken became a U.S. Senator in his home state of Minnesota in 2009. Before his stint in Congress, Franken was best known as a star of Saturday Night Live, where he played such memorable characters as new age therapist Stuart Smalley. He first joined SNL as one of its original writers in 1975. He left office earlier this year amid a sexual misconduct scandal.
Professional wrestlers can be politicians in Minnesota, too! Just ask Jesse “The Body” Ventura, a Navy SEAL turned professional wrestler and actor who was elected governor of Minnesota in 1998.
Bono made his name as a singer, songwriter and music producer with his then-wife Cher. Years after the iconic duo split up, Bono reinvented himself as a politician, first as mayor of Palm Springs, Calif. and later as a U.S. congressman. Bono’s second career was cut short in 1998 when he died in a skiing accident.
Alongside Thompson’s memorable roles in films like The Hunt for Red October and on TV as DA Arthur Branch on Law & Order, he was a U.S. Senator from Tennessee after winning a special election to finish the two remaining years of Al Gore’s term. He was re-elected in 1996 before making an unsuccessful run for the White House himself in 2008.
Actor Clint Eastwood had already starred in some of the most iconic Westerns of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as “Dirty Harry,” before becoming mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif., for two years beginning in 1986. Prior to his mayoralty, Eastwood had long been known for his outspoken political beliefs. He made headlines in 2012 for his strange turn as speaker at the RNC Convention in support of Mitt Romney during which he addressed an empty chair.
No list of celebs turned politicians is complete without a reference to The Governator. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a bodybuilding superstar when he became a Hollywood action flick leading man in such films as Conan the Barbarian and Predator. After dozens of Hollywood roles, Schwarzenegger reinvented himself in 2003 as the 38th governor of California.
Aiken’s first claim to fame was as a runner-up from season 2 of American Idol. While the North Carolina native didn’t win the coveted top prize, his star turn helped him stake a claim as an entertainer with legions of fans known as Claymates. Hoping to capitalize on his notoriety, Aiken ran for his home state’s 2nd congressional district in 2014, but lost.
Jones became a household name for his role as Cooter Davenport in The Dukes of Hazzard from 1979 to 1985. He went on to represent North Carolina’s 4th congressional district from 1989 to 1993.
Gandy won fame as Burl “Gopher” Smith on The Love Boat after a string of guest roles in favorite shows of the 60s and 70s including Mary Tyler Moore, Maude and Welcome Back, Kotter. Gandy would later become a U.S. Congressman in his home state of Iowa’s 6th congressional district. He went on to represent the 5th district when the 6th was eliminated.