Ronald Reagan (USA)
Best Known Film: Bedtime for Bonzo (1951)
Impact On Politics: He started out as Governor of California in 1966, much like another famous actor/politician (see entry 10).
By 1981 Ronald Reagan had become the 40th President of the United States of America, and was in office until 1989, overseeing the thawing of Cold War tensions between America and Russia.
Similarities To Their Film Career: In Knute Rockne, All American (1940) Reagan played George Gipp, and the Gipper became one of his political nicknames. A line in the film “win one for the Gipper” was later used as a political slogan by Reagan.
Eva Peron (Argentina)
Best Known Film: The Circus Cavalcade (1945)
Impact on Politics: She became popular in 1940s Argentina as a voice for the rights of labourers and women’s suffrage.
In 1951 she announced her candidacy for Vice President of Argentina, but was forced to withdraw due to poor health in 1952.
She died from cancer later that year, at the age of 33, but shortly before her death was made Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina, a post she still holds.
Similarities To Their Film Career: Her film career was short-lived but as a radio actress she played Queen Elizabeth I, another iconic historical figure.
Clint Eastwood (USA)
Best Known Film: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) is one of many in the Eastwood catalogue.
Impact on Politics: In a speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention, Clint Eastwood spoke to an empty chair that was meant to represent Barack Obama. It got a mixed reception.
But long before voters thought age might be catching up on old Clint, he was mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California from 1986-88.
One of his central mayoral campaign promises was to overturn a local law that banned public ice-cream eating.
Similarities To Their Film Career: Despite brandishing a shooter in many of his biggest roles, he’s been an advocate of gun-control in America since the 70s.
He’s described himself as “too individualistic to be either right-wing or left-wing”, a lone hero like any good cowboy.
Fernando Poe Jr (Philippines)
Best Known Film: Ang Panday (1980)
Impact on Politics: Known as The King of Philippine Movies, Fernando Poe Jr ran in the Philippines’ 2004 presidential election.
He lost a controversial race, in which the winner has since been accused of vote rigging, and passed away in December 2004.
Similarities To Their Film Career: When running for President, his campaign focused heavily on his film persona, as a Robin Hood character who stands up for the poor.
Kal Penn (USA)
Best Known Film: Harold and Kumar Get the Munchies (2004)
Impact on Politics: It may seem odd that a man who is best known for stoner comedy had a prominent position in American politics, but Kal Penn (the one on the right) was Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement until very recently.
In the Office of Public Engagement he was responsible for ‘youth’, using his appeal to the kids to totes big-up Obama.
Similarities To Their Film Career: Not so many. Although Harold and Kumar did end up in Guantanamo Bay, a place that Obama promised to close when he first became President in 2009. It’s still operational.
Glenda Jackson (UK)
Best Known Film: A Touch of Class (1973)
Impact on Politics: Glenda Jackson is currently the Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn at the age of 77.
She recently caused a stir by criticising former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during an open parliamentary discussion about her death.
She wasn't afraid to to argue with Tony Blair either, and was one of only 12 Labour MPs to back calls for an inquiry into the Iraq War.
Similarities To Their Film Career: Jackson has played Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned by Queen Elizabeth I because of suspicions that she was plotting to replace her on the throne. In 2005 Jackson had such issues with Tony Blair as Prime Minister that she threatened to run against him in a leadership contest. She was not imprisoned.
Amitabh Bachchan (India)
Best Known Film: Sholay (1975)
Impact on Politics: In 1984 he ran in the Indian general election for the seat of 8th Lok Sabha. It was a landslide victory for Bachchan, with 68.2% of the vote.
However he resigned three years later, describing politics as a ‘cesspool’, and went back to acting.
Similarities To Their Film Career: Zanjeer (1973) established him as the 'Angry Young Man' of Indian cinema, fighting corruption and immorality. As a politician, he decided there was too much to fight.
Jesse Ventura (USA)
Best Known Film: Predator (1987)
Impact on Politics: Former Navy Seal and professional wrestler Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura, was governor of Minnesota from 1999-2003, as candidate for the Reform Party.
During his tenure, the Minnesotan administration was running at a budget surplus, so to rectify this all residents received a tax-free cheque at the end of each summer.
In 1999 this was $600 per taxpayer, and became known as a Jesse-check.
Similarities To Their Film Career: After his victory as Governor of Minnesota, a popular bumper-sticker read “My governor can beat up your governor.”
As a member of the Reform Party, he described the Democrats and Republicans as “monsters that are out of control”, which isn’t so dissimilar to what he was up against in Predator.
Alessandra Mussolini (Italy)
Best Known Film: A Special Day (1977)
Impact on Politics: You may recognise the surname, as Alessandra is the granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, Italy’s leader during World War Two.
A founder in 2003 of the now defunct Social Action party, the right-wing politician is prone to controversy, having previously stated that all Romanians are criminals and that it is “better to be a fascist than a faggot.” Lovely.
Similarities To Their Film Career: Not many, but she has been marginally more successful as a politican than an often straight-to-video actor.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (USA)
Best Known Film: Probably Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991), but take your pick.
Impact on Politics: The Governator set out his Republican stall early on, campaigning for George Bush Senior in 1988, and it was the President who labelled him Conan the Republican.
In 2003 he strode gloriously into the political battlefield as Governor of California, winning 1.5 million votes more than his closest rival.
Similarities To Their Film Career: Arnie was never adverse to referencing his film career when trying to win votes: "One of my movies was called True Lies. It's what the Democrats should have called their convention."
He came in for criticism when, in 2004, he suggested his Democrat opponents were gutless “girlie-men."