5 Famous Politicians

Meet Some of the Most Well Known Solons in the United States

There are few famous politicians in Washington - elected officials who used their star power to win over voters. Most members of Congress are businesspeople and lawyers, educators and physicians.

But there are exceptions. 

Comedians, movie stars, talk-show hosts and other celebrities have been known to try their hands at politics. Some have succeeded. Many have failed and embarrassed themselves. Here's a list of some of the most famous politicians in American history.

1
Ronald Reagan

Without question the most famous politician in modern American history is the late Ronald Reagan.
Ronald Reagan is pictured here during a 1980 television debate with President Jimmy Carter just before the elections. Hulton Archives/Getty Images

Without question the most famous politician in modern American history is the late Ronald Reagan. The Republican served two terms as president after a successful Hollywood career.

Reagan's career in entertainment began in radio and moved onto the silver screen. He appeared in about 50 movies before being elected governor of California and then president of the United States in 1980. He served two terms.

Reagan's film credits include "Hellcats of the Navy," "Prisoner of War," "The Last Outpost," "Murder in the Air," and "Code of the Secret Service."

2
Sonny Bono

Songwriter Sonny Bono was one half of Sonny and Cher, one of the most popular rock duos of the 1960s and early 1970s.
Sonny Bono served as a congressman from California after his Hollywood career. U.S. Congress

Songwriter Sonny Bono was one half of Sonny and Cher, one of the most popular rock duos of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Bono served as the mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., from 1988 until 1992, and was elected to Congress in 1994. The Republican lawmaker served from 1995 through his accidental death three years later while skiing in Lake Tahoe.

3
Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson played a tough-as-nails law-and-order character on television. He also played one in Congress.
Fred Thompson played a tough-as-nails law-and-order character on television. He also played one in Congress. Getty Images

Fred Thompson played a tough-as-nails law-and-order character on television. He also played one in Congress.

The Republican from Tennessee has a long list of acting and legislative accomplishments. On the silver screen he had roles in "The Hunt for Red October" starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, "Days of Thunder" starring Tom Cruise and "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" with Bruce Willis. Perhaps his most famous role was in the popular television series "Law & Order."

Thompson's career in politics is just as lengthy. He served as a U.S. attorney and on a committee that investigated Watergate. Thompson was elected to Al Gore's seat in the U.S. Senate in November 1994. He served through the end of 2002 and resumed his acting career.

4
Al Franken

Before Al Franken was a U.S. senator from Minnesota, he was a screenwriter, comedian, author and talk-show host.
Comedian and politician Al Franken. Getty Images

Before Al Franken was a U.S. senator from Minnesota, he was a screenwriter, comedian, author and talk-show host. He is perhaps best known for his role on "Saturday Night Live," for which he is one of the original writers. Franken, a Democrat, was elected to the Senate in 2008.

5
Jesse Ventura

To wrestling fans, he is known as
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. Hannah Foslien/Getty Images Sport

To wrestling fans, he is known as "The Body." To politicians, he is known as a fierce independent who relishes a good fight with members of either major party and enjoys digging into conspiracy theories.

Ventura is a former professional wrestler who went on to serve as governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. He described himself as conservative on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues.

He flirted with the idea of running for president in the 2016 election.

6
Runners-Up

Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served as governor of California after making many successful Hollywood films.
Movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger served as governor of California. Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images Entertainment

There have been plenty of other famous politicians.

They include actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who served as governor of California after making many successful Hollywood films; Jerry Springer, a daytime talk-show host who once served as mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Clint Eastwood, the conservative movie star and one-time mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.