Did you know that before he hosted his eponymous chair-throwing, fist-flying talk show, Jerry Springer was the mayor of Cincinnati?
Going from politician to TV star may be an unusual path, but the opposite route is actually quite common.
Here are 13 stars who made -- or tried to make -- the leap from primetime to politics.
Fred Thompson's plans to announce his candidacy for the 2008 presidential race once again brings up the question of "equal time" provisions that are in place to assure a single candidate is not given more airtime on television than anyone else.
Thompson, a Republican and former Tennessee senator, played DA Arthur Branch on NBC's Law and Order for five seasons. NBC, in keeping with the provisions, has stopped airing episodes that feature Thompson, but TNT, whose schedule overflows with Law and Order reruns, will keep airing the Thompson episodes.
Linus Roache, who starred in NBC's Kidnapped, has joined Law and Order as an assistant district attorney. His character will replace Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston), who moves to serve as New York district attorney. McCoy (Waterston) replaces D.A. Arthur Branch, who was played by former real-life senator Fred Thompson. Thompson left the series to explore a possible presidential bid.
Roache also appeared in Canterbury's Law, a midseason pilot for FOX starring Juliana Margulies as a lawyer who doesn't mind bending the rules. It's unknown at this time whether or not Roache will appear in both series.
Roache's other credits include the movies Batman Begins and the TV movie RFK, in which he played Robert F. Kennedy.
Law & Order actor and former senator Fred Thompson hasn't officially announced he's running for president, but based on opinion polls, people seem to like him.
The man who played D.A. Arthur Branch on the Law and Order franchise is also being endorsed by his ex-wife and former girlfriends.
Lorrie Morgan, a country music singer whom Fred dated, said, "women love a soft place to lay and a strong pair of hands to hold us."
First of all, I think it's great that Freddy Fred knows how to treat a lady. I'm someone who could use a few lessons in treating women right, since the last two I dated got loose from their chains, ran into the road, and were both hit by a garbage truck. Also, you have to feed them every day, which is sometimes easy to forget.
Everybody got that? Good.
Sam Waterston wants a promotion. For the last 13 years Waterston has played Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy on the long-running (some say too long) NBC drama Law & Order. Now that co-star, and former U.S. Senator, Fred Thompson (who played District Attorney Arthur Branch) is leaving the show to run for president of the United States his job position is now open. And, it seems that Waterston's McCoy wants to move into the slot.
According to an anonymous source close to the show, Waterston is negotiating to have his character step into the D.A. role when Law & Order returns at the beginning of 2008. How McCoy would slip into the position, as well as his replacement, have yet to be determined. When asked to confirm this news L&O creator Dick Wolf as well as Waterston declined to comment.
While actor and former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who plays D.A. Arthur Branch on Law and Order, has not officially announced whether or not he plans on running as a potential Republican presidential candidate, NBC prez Kevin Reilly says it is "highly unlikely" that Thomson will return for the series' 18th season.
There has been a lot of talk already as to how a Thompson campaign would affect past episodes of Law and Order, considering "equal time" rules and all that.
So does this mean he's actually going to run? Since I can't read Fred Thompson's mind, that's tough to say. But as Hollywood Reporter points out, the threat of a writers strike means many series will begin filming earlier than usual, which means Thompson will have to decide sooner rather than later if he's going to stay with the series.
Why? Because of the FCC's equal time rules, says The Washington Post. It's a fairness policy that the governing body has had for decades; it ensures that every candidate in a political race has an equal opportunity to promote themselves. The rule doesn't apply to newscasts, interview shows, and news-oriented events (like debates, I'd imagine), but it definitely applies to entertainment shows like L&O. This isn't a unique circumstance; the article cites Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan as two candidates whose movies were pulled from TV during their political campaigns.
Thompson has an unusual past that will make him an interesting candidate. Besides appearing in a big ol' pile of television shows and movies, he also has some serious experience in Washington, D.C. Before becoming an actor or a Senator, he was an attorney and was on the Watergate committee. If he does join the race for president, he'll be running against fellow republicans Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain for the nomination. And, in 2005, he returned to politics briefly when President Bush appointed him to be an advisor for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts during his confirmation process.
Hell. If Arnold Schwarzenegger can do it...
Beach is sort of Hollywood's go-to-guy who portrays a Native American character in everything from John Woo's WIndtalkers to Clint Eastwood's Flags of our Fathers. Now don't get me wrong, I think he's a good actor, but aren't there any other Native American actors out there who can step into roles like this?
The movie, like the book, is about the massacre at Wounded Knee, and the extremely heavy-handed attempt of the U.S. government to assimilate Native Americans and homogenize them, much like the Borg does on Star Trek:TNG.
They did this by moving them onto reservations and giving them "Christian" names, and allowing them to "hunt" for food ... by chasing penned calves around with a rifle. It's a heart-breaking and tragic story, and according to the creative team has ties to the current U.S. situation in Iraq.
Quote of the panel:
- Anna Paquin: "Sadly, stories like this are not unique in the United States." She can act, and she's political. Watch out folks.
- Fred Thompson, former U.S. senator and actor who has is always typecast as a hard-assed senator, admiral, and politician in general plays President Ulysses S. Grant. When aproached by executive producer Dick Wolf and asked if he wanted to play him, Thompson replied: "Not if I have to grow the damn beard."
Fred Thompson, a former senator from Tennessee and the actor best known for the role of District Attorney Arthur Branch on Law and Order, recently signed on to ABC Radio as a "special program host and senior analyst." When he's not providing commentary, he'll be filling in for venerable radio icon Paul Harvey when Harvey is on vacation. I just hope Thompson can make those air purification systems sound as appealing as Harvey can. I've purchased so many of them I'm afraid I'll be contaminated if I try to leave my apartment.
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