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Spotlight

From show biz to the campaign trail: unconventional politicians
Movie stars, wrestlers, musicians and comedians who took unconventional career paths to politics.
UKRAINE-ELECTION/ZELENSKIY-REAX
RTX6SMMQ
April 21, 2019
Volodymyr Zelenskiy played a president on popular Ukrainian TV series "Servant of the People" before...
Kiev, Ukraine
Candidate Zelenskiy reacts following the announcement of an exit poll in a presidential election in Kiev...
Volodymyr Zelenskiy played a president on popular Ukrainian TV series "Servant of the People" before he dramatically upended the status quo and won the country's presidential election by a landslide this week. Eschewing traditional rallies, his campaign relied heavily on quirky social media posts to his millions of online followers, jokey posters, comedy gigs and winking allusions to the fictional president he portrays on screen.

REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
USA-TRUMP/
RTS102RR
February 23, 2017
Before being elected U.S. president in 2016, Donald Trump was a real estate developer-turned-reality...
Washington, UNITED STATES
U.S. President Trump is interviewed by Reuters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington
Before being elected U.S. president in 2016, Donald Trump was a real estate developer-turned-reality TV star and producer of the NBC show, "The Apprentice," and the Miss Universe Pageants.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
UGANDA-POLITICS/
RTX70TE2
July 24, 2019
Ugandan musician Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, launched his campaign to end President Yoweri...
Kampala, Uganda
Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, addresses a news conference at his home in Kasangati
Ugandan musician Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, launched his campaign to end President Yoweri Museveni's 33-year rule. REUTERS/James Akena
ECONOMY-CALIFORNIA/
RTR2DW2M
May 14, 2010
Bodybuilder and action movie superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger served as governor of California from 2003...
Sacramento, UNITED STATES
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes his $83.4 billion state budget plan in Sacramento....
Bodybuilder and action movie superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger served as governor of California from 2003 to 2011. REUTERS/Max Whittaker
NEW YORK-GOVERNOR/
RTX6BYA1
July 18, 2018
Actress and liberal activist Cynthia Nixon, who starred as Miranda in the "Sex and the City" television...
New York, UNITED STATES
Former Sex and the City star and current candidate for governor of New York Cynthia Nixon shakes hands...
Actress and liberal activist Cynthia Nixon, who starred as Miranda in the "Sex and the City" television series and movies, unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Andrew Cuomo in the New York Democratic governor's race in 2018.

REUTERS/Joe Penney
USA-HEALTHCARE/AZAR
RTX3KDMP
November 29, 2017
First a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live and then a political talk show host, Al Franken went...
Washington, UNITED STATES
Senator Al Franken (D-MN) questions Alex Azar
First a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live and then a political talk show host, Al Franken went on to become a Democratic senator for Minnesota in 2009 before resigning in 2018 over allegations of sexual harassment.

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
ITALY-POLITICS/5STAR
RTX6FX62
October 21, 2018
Comedian Beppe Grillo satirized the corruption of Italian politics before starting the anti-establishment...
Rome, Italy
Italy's 5-Star Movement rally in Rome
Comedian Beppe Grillo satirized the corruption of Italian politics before starting the anti-establishment Five-Star Movement in 2009. Though he is no longer leader of the party, it has seen success. Five-Star emerged as Italy's largest party in national elections in March 2018 and forged a coalition government with the hard-right League.

REUTERS/Max Rossi
VENTURA
RTR128PT
August 23, 1999
WWF wrestler Jesse Ventura started in politics in 1990 when he was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota....
Minneapolis, USA
MINNESOTA GOVERNOR VENTURA REFEREES WRESTLING MATCH.
WWF wrestler Jesse Ventura started in politics in 1990 when he was elected mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. In 1998, he ran and won the Minnesota gubernatorial election as a Reform Party candidate. Ventura left office in 2003 after deciding not to run for re-election. REUTERS/
Eric Miller
USA-CAMPAIGN/
RTR37AYG
August 31, 2012
Actor Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, California, in 1986, before being appointed to the...
Tampa, UNITED STATES
Actor Clint Eastwood addresses an empty chair while speaking during the final session of the Republican...
Actor Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, California, in 1986, before being appointed to the California State Park and Recreation Commission in 2001 under Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. REUTERS/Jason Reed
GUATEMALA-POLITICS/
RTS20B8G
September 06, 2018
Comic actor Jimmy Morales rose to fame in Guatemala
starring on TV series "Moralejas" (Morals) alongside...
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales delivers a message at the National Palace of Culture in Guatemala...
Comic actor Jimmy Morales rose to fame in Guatemala
starring on TV series "Moralejas" (Morals) alongside his brother. With no experience in government, Morales won Guatemala's presidential election in 2015 after a corruption scandal toppled the country's last leader and fueled voter outrage with the political establishment.

REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
HAITI/
RTR2H2QX
August 05, 2010
Haitian-American hip-hop star Wyclef Jean registered to run in the 2010 presidential elections in Haiti...
Port Au Prince, Haiti
Wyclef Jean greets the crowd before officially registering as a presidential candidate in Port-au-Prince...
Haitian-American hip-hop star Wyclef Jean registered to run in the 2010 presidential elections in Haiti before being disqualified for not meeting residency requirements.

REUTERS/St-Felix Evens
PAKISTAN-ELECTION/
RTX6CPHW
July 25, 2018
Cricket star Imran Khan was elected Pakistan's prime minister in July 2018, after serving two stints...
Islamabad, Pakistan
Imran Khan speaks to members of media after casting his vote at a polling station during the general...
Cricket star Imran Khan was elected Pakistan's prime minister in July 2018, after serving two stints as member of the National Assembly beginning in 2002. After spending much of his political career on the fringes, the Oxford-educated former sportsman rose to power on a populist platform, and in recent years his anti-corruption message has increasingly resonated with Pakistanis, especially the young.

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
USA-ENTERTAINMENT/
RTR4I5BU
December 16, 2014
Actress Stacey Dash, best known for her role in the movie "Clueless", went on to become a Fox commentator....
New York, UNITED STATES
Actress Stacey Dash arrives for the premiere of the film "American Sniper" in New York
Actress Stacey Dash, best known for her role in the movie "Clueless", went on to become a Fox commentator. The Republican filed to run for Congress in California's 44th district in the November 2018 elections, but withdrew from the race in March 2018.

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
USA-CAMPAIGN/
RTR37HX1
September 05, 2012
Actor Kal Penn served off and on in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration as an associate director...
Charlotte, UNITED STATES
Actor Kal Penn addresses delegates during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte...
Actor Kal Penn served off and on in U.S. President Barack Obama's administration as an associate director in the White House Office of Public Engagement from 2009 until 2011. Penn co-chaired Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

REUTERS/Eric Thayer
BLACK
RTXO6V5
January 30, 2006
Child actress Shirley Temple Black ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1967, and was appointed U.S. ambassador...
Los Angeles, USA
Shirley Temple Black celebrates backstage the honor of receiving the Screen Actors Guild's Life Achi.....
Child actress Shirley Temple Black ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1967, and was appointed U.S. ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and to Czechoslovakia in 1989.

REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
USA-POLITICS/CONSERVATIVES
RTX4YNAO
February 23, 2018
Linda McMahon, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO, ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate...
Washington, UNITED STATES
Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon speaks at the Conservative Political...
Linda McMahon, former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO, ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate in 2010 and 2012 U.S. Senate races. She was appointed administrator of the Small Business Administration under U.S. President Donald Trump, and resigned from the role in April 2019.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
BONO
RTRA54H
January 06, 1998
One half of singing team Sonny and Cher, Sonny Bono was mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992. He was...
UNITED STATES
FILE PHOTO OF REP. SONNY BONO WHO WAS KILLED IN SKIING ACCIDENT IN NEVADA
One half of singing team Sonny and Cher, Sonny Bono was mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992. He was elected to the House of U.S. Representatives in 1994 and served until his death in 1998.

REUTERS/File
USA-NORTH CAROLINA/AIKEN
RTR3O7LD
May 07, 2014
Singer and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken ran for U.S. Congress as a Democrat in his home...
Cary, UNITED STATES
Democratic nominee Clay Aiken takes a pictures with a constituent after a campaign forum in Cary, North...
Singer and former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken ran for U.S. Congress as a Democrat in his home state of North Carolina in 2014, but lost to the Republican incumbent.

REUTERS/Colleen Jenkins
EMMYS/
RTR1QUDX
June 15, 2007
Before he became a television personality, Jerry Springer was first elected to Cincinnati City Council...
Hollywood, UNITED STATES
Television personality Jerry Springer arrives at the 34th annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Hollywood
Before he became a television personality, Jerry Springer was first elected to Cincinnati City Council in 1971 and resigned in 1974 after admitting to hiring a sex worker. He won back his seat in 1975, and served one year as mayor in 1977.

REUTERS/Fred Prouser
PHILIPPINES/
RTR2GQM9
July 26, 2010
World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives in 2010,...
Manila, Philippines
Newly elected Philippine congressman and world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao gives a peace sign after...
World boxing champion Manny Pacquiao was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives in 2010, and in 2016 was elected as a senator.

REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
USA-WOMEN/SUMMIT
RTS2HHBS
April 12, 2019
Award-winning British actress Glenda Jackson began her second career in politics in 1992 when she was...
New York, UNITED STATES
Actor and politician Glenda Jackson speaks on stage at the Women In The World Summit in New York
Award-winning British actress Glenda Jackson began her second career in politics in 1992 when she was elected to UK parliament. The Labour MP was appointed junior minister responsible for London Transport under Prime Minister Tony Blair, and also unsuccessfully sought the Labour nomination for London mayor in 2000. She served as MP until 2015.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
USA-POLITICS/
RTX8CQS
September 03, 2008
Best known for his role on Law & Order, Fred Thompson was a U.S. senator for Tennessee from 1994 to 2003,...
St. Paul, UNITED STATES
Former US Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee speaks at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul...
Best known for his role on Law & Order, Fred Thompson was a U.S. senator for Tennessee from 1994 to 2003, and also ran in the Republican presidential primaries in 2008, ultimately losing to John McCain.

REUTERS/Rick Wilking
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