18 celebrities who have run for political office: from Clint Eastwood to Amitabh Bachchan

These stars of stage, screen and the wrestling ring prove you don’t have to be a career politician to get involved with politics

Powered by automated translation

All things considered, actors, actresses and sports people are actually perfectly positioned to move into politics when they desire a change of career. After all, their roles already involve putting in long hours, plenty of diplomacy and the kind of drive and resolve that gets you to, and keeps you at, the top.

It’s little wonder then that politics has long held a fascination for those used to life in the spotlight.

Ever since John F Kennedy was elected the 35th President of the US in 1961, bringing some high-octane glamour to the White House, the line between show business and politics has become increasingly blurred. So much so that it seemed fitting that an actor – Ronald Reagan – would eventually hold the highest office in the US, becoming president in 1981.

And Reagan's was a precedent that paved the way not only for action star Arnold Schwarzenegger to become the governor of California, but also for reality TV star Donald Trump to become the 45th President of the US.

It's not just in America where politics crosses over into other high-profile arenas, either, as Bollywood legend, Amitabh Bachchan, proved with his 1984 landslide victory while contesting Allahabad's seat for the Lok Sabha.

And in the UK, double Oscar-winning actress Glenda Jackson, 84, won a seat in the House of Commons as a Labour candidate and kept it for almost 20 years. She was only recently coaxed back into acting, after an almost two decade-long gap, to much critical acclaim in the BBC drama, Elizabeth is Missing.

From world-famous child star, Shirley Temple, landing a job as an Ambassador to Ghana after Henry Kissinger happened to overhear her talking about West Africa, to Oscar-winning actor and director Clint Eastwood becoming mayor simply because, if rumours are true, he wanted to secure himself planning permission, here are 18 stars who swapped the bright lights of stardom for the unforgiving spotlight of politics.

Scroll though the gallery above for the stars of stage, screen and sports who ran for various political positions across the globe.