There’s an old joke that the worst place to be in Washington, D.C. is between a politician and a TV camera. Politicians do seemingly love attention, and most love to speak before large audiences.
With that in mind, it’s no wonder many politicians venture into television after their political careers end. It’s also no wonder that many television personalities are attracted to a life in politics.
Arnold Schwarzenegger famously left an acting career likely chock-full of 50+ Terminator sequels to be the two-term Governor of California. Notable B-movie actor and Screen Actors Guild president Ronald Reagan eventually made his way to the U.S. presidency, becoming the point-of-reference for all people who made the transition from TV/film to politics or vice versa.
Check out an additional list of stars-gone-politicians and politicians-gone-TV stars below:
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The resident conservative co-host of MSNBC's
Morning Joe was once a Republican congressman from the 1st district of Florida. He held the post from 1995 until 2001 when he resigned to spend more time with his family.
One of the more interesting bills Scarborough sponsored during his time in Congress included a U.S. withdrawal from the United Nations after a four-year transition.
Before he was voted into Congress as part of the 2010 Republican victories, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) was a star on the 1997 MTV series
The Real World: Boston. At the time, Duffy was an aspiring conservative lawyer. Much of the series' tension came from his political clashing with liberal cast-member Kameelah Phillips.
Fun fact: Duffy went on to marry Rachel Campos, an alumna of MTV's The Real World: San Francisco. A Real World family it is.
Before he was current Senator Al Franken from Minnesota, he was regular ol' Al Franken from
Saturday Night Live and other comedic gigs.
Though his previous career largely consisted of comedy and acting, he was also a political commentator. Franken wrote several political best-sellers including the mild-mannered progressive dissertation entitled Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations.
Nothing like a little TV camera therapy to heal the wounds of being a disgraced former Governor of New York.
Just a few short years after resigning from the governorship amidst a prostitution scandal, Spitzer took up a gig hosting a CNN political talk show. When that show failed in the ratings, Spitzer moved to progressive news outlet Current TV where he currently resides.
Before his first name became a well-known chant during trashy fight situations, Jerry(!) was the Democratic Mayor of Cincinnati from 1977-1978.
Funny story: before he was mayor, he was a city council member who had to resign after admitting to hiring a prostitute. Somehow that makes total sense.
Before she was a regular TV pundit and current co-host of MSNBC's
The Cycle, Ball ran for Congress in Virginia's 1st district.
Ball's campaign took a hit when raunchy photos surfaced of her from a holiday party six years prior. She rightfully bemoaned the public outrage as "sexist," but she still went on to lose to Republican candidate Rob Wittman.
Many moons ago, from 1989 to 1993, Ben L. Jones was a Democratic U.S. Congressman from Georgia's 4th district. But before that, he played
The Dukes of Hazzard's famous character Cooter Davenport, Hazzard's local rebellious mechanic.
The current Republican Governor of Ohio was also a U.S. Congressman from 1983 to 2001. Following his congressional career, but before his gubernatorial career, Kasich hosted a folksy Saturday primetime show on Fox News, appropriately titled
Heartland with John Kasich from 2001 until 2007.
Speaking of folksy Saturday night Fox News shows, the former three-term Governor of Arkansas (1996-2007) has hosted one (titled
Huckabee) since September 2008, following his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Jesse "The Body" Ventura had an 11-year professional wrestling career in the WWF from 1975 to 1986. He was also a star in major motion pictures like 1987's
Predator. But one day Ventura decided to become the zany Governor of Minnesota from 1999 until 2003.
Since leaving the Governor's Mansion, Ventura has ventured back to a television career, hosting truTV's Conspiracy Theory, which investigates Ventura's favorite conspiracy theories.
The War Room with Jennifer Granholm on Current TV, Granholm was the two-term Governor of Michigan from 2003 to 2011.
The late Sonny Bono was the male half of famous musical duo Sonny and Cher, well-known for hits like "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On," as well as a popular variety TV show
The Sonny and Cher Show.
Not satisfied with being an international superstar, Bono attempted to open a restaurant in Palm Springs, California, but entered politics when he became frustrated by the local bureaucracy. After serving as Mayor of Palm Springs, Bono went on to become a Republican congressman from 1995 until his skiing accident death in 1998.
Before and after being a U.S. Senator from Tennessee, Thompson had a successful acting career, playing roles in movies like
The Hunt For Red October and, most famously, the District Attorney in various iterations of the Law & Order television series.
From 1986 to 1988, the prolific, highly-praised actor/director/composer Eastwood was a one-term mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California – a small, very wealthy artsy town on the Monterey Peninsula. In 1986,
The Economist wrote that his "irritation with fiddly environmental regulations" prompted his venture into local politics.
Grandy played Gopher on the sitcom
The Love Boat before he became a Republican U.S. Congressman from Iowa between 1987 and 1993.
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