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Clint Eastwood made his name as a popular television and film actor, and went on to become an acclaimed filmmaker, directing several Academy Award-winning films.
Actors Turned Politicians (2:48)
Sean Penn - Full Episode (45:27)
Clint Eastwood starred on the TV western "Rawhide" before transitioning to film as "the Man with No Name" in Sergio Leone's films. Eastwood has won the Academy Award for Best Director twice, for "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby."
As Ronald Reagan asked, "How can a president NOT be an actor?" Since Reagan, celebrities such as Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger have entered the political arena and run for elected office.
A short biography of Angelina Jolie, who went from troubled child to overnight superstar with the movie "Gia." Aside from acting, she's known for her humanitarian efforts and her relationship with Brad Pitt.
Sean Penn's performance in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" made him a Hollywood star and his performances in "Mystic River" and "Milk" made him an Oscar winner.
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He directed (but did not appear in) Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997); and produced, directed and starred in the 1999 thriller True Crime.
August of 2000 saw the release of another directorial and acting project for Eastwood, Space Cowboys, with co-stars James Garner,
Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones. He then directed the haunting and award-winning Mystic River, starring Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, which was released in 2003. Two years later, Eastwood won both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe (best director) for his work on the film Million Dollar Baby, starring Hilary Swank (Eastwood directed and acted in the film). The picture also won the an Oscar Award for best picture. That same year, Eastwood received the Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles.
In 2006, Eastwood directed two World War II dramas, Flags of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. These companion films viewed the conflict from two distinctly different perspectives. Flags of Our Fathers explored the American side, telling the story of one man's efforts to learn more about his father's involvement in the raising of the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima—a moment captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. The film featured a number of young Hollywood actors, including Ryan Phillippe, Jesse Bradford and Paul Walker. Truly multitalented, Eastwood even wrote some of the music for the film.
Drawing from correspondence found on that island battlefield, Letters of Iwo Jima looks at the experiences of Japanese soldiers during World War II. While both films earned wide praise, Letters from Iwo Jima garnered four Academy Award nominations, including for best picture, and Eastwood earned his fourth nod for an Oscar (best director).
Next for Eastwood was the 2008 family dramatic thriller The Changeling, which stars Angelina Jolie as a mother of a kidnapped child. Jolie's character in the film—which is based on a true story—suspects that the child who is eventually returned to her is not, in fact, her son. Several widely acclaimed directorial projects followed, including 2008's Gran Torino (in which Eastwood also stars) 2009's Invictus and 2011's J. Edgar.
Outside of acting, Eastwood has tried his hand at politics. He was elected mayor of Carmel, California in 1986, serving two years.
Eastwood is also known for being a big supporter of the Republican Party, and made headlines when he spoke at the Republican National Convention in August 2012. His speech garnered attention for its unusual format: During his narrative, Eastwood spoke to an empty chair, which seemed to be used to represent President Barack Obama. When speaking about the president during his speech, Eastwood frequently addressed the chair: "I think it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem. When someone does not do the job, you have got to let them go," said the 82-year-old Eastwood, a supporter of the Republican Party's presidential candidate for the 2012 election, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (Eastwood endorsed Romney in an ealier speech).
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Lot of actors play politicians on the big and small screens, but few have made the transition in real life. At every level of government, there are actors who have used their charisma, good looks, and personalities to get the policies they support enacted. Though Hollywood has a reputation as a city of liberals, many conservative actors have been members of the Republican party. From Ronald Reagan to Sonny Bono, here's a look at famous actors who went on to careers in politics.
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