There have been two people who were considered celebrities before their careers in politics who ended up having successful runs for the White House. The first was when former actor and Screen Actors Guild leader Ronald Reagan became the 40th President of the United States. The next was real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump, who became the 45th President.
Along the way, there have been several other celebrities that have taken their shot at the White House but haven’t come as nearly as close as Reagan and Trump. Between singers, reality television stars, actors, and authors, there are plenty who felt that they were ready to lead the nation, but didn’t have many who felt the same way. Here are five celebrities who ran for the White House.
The controversial rapper has had a lot to say about politics throughout his career, but especially during the late 2010s. West had been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump’s initial campaign in 2016 and decided that he wanted to run for office in 2020 himself. The “Flashing Lights” and “Through the Wire” singer decided to run as an independent during the election, but didn’t fare so well.
West received around 60,000 votes in total, so he was never as serious as a contender as some thought he would be. However, West did almost immediately announce that he would be running in 2024 while the votes were still being counted. As for where most of his votes came from, the state of Tennessee counted for the largest amount at 10,195.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
All Dwayne Johnson has to do to really become a serious contender for the White House is to officially submit his name. As of now, he has said several times that he has thought about it and likes where the polling numbers are, but hasn’t hit the campaign trail to secure more votes. One poll showed that nearly half of Americans would support him in a presidential run, even.
“I would consider a (more serious) presidential run in the future if that’s what the people wanted,” said Johnson, the professional wrestler turned actor. “Truly I mean that, and I’m not flippant in any way with my answer. That would be up to the people…So I would wait, and I would listen. I would have my finger on the pulse, my ear to the ground.”
The name Brock Pierce might not sound too familiar, but if you grew up in the 1990s, you certainly remember his face. Pierce was a child acting star who rose to prominence in the film “The Mighty Ducks”, playing the younger version of Emilio Estevez’s Gordon Bombay. Afterward, he starred in the 1996 Sinbad film “First Kid” and also appeared in “Little Big League” and “Three Wishes”.
Pierce left the acting world during his teenage years and became an investor and entrepreneur who made millions, eventually hitting it big in cryptocurrency and real estate. As a true independent, Pierce ran for president during the 2020 election with Karla Ballard as his running mate. He didn’t fare well, though, earning less than 50,000 votes.
You’ve likely heard of some of the third parties that end up receiving a good chunk of votes each election. The Libertarian Party, Green Party, and Reform Party are all ones that have popped up as third-place finishers, but the Peace and Freedom Party is one that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention. That would change in 2012, however, as comedian and actor Roseanne Barr ran for president under the party’s ticket.
At the time, Barr had identified as a member of the leftist group and ran with Utah as her home state. Barr actually performed better than anyone on this list so far, collecting nearly 70,000 votes. That was good for 0.05 percent of the total and placed her sixth overall in the final tally. Of course, it wasn’t enough to top Barack Obama’s 65.9 million votes.
Talk show host Stephen Colbert was still playing his satirical Comedy Central character in 2008 when he decided to start a campaign for the presidency. He did so in October 2007 and had initially said that he was going to run on both the Democrat and Republican tickets. However, the Republican fee turned out to be too high, so he instead spent just $2,500 to be on the Democratic ballot.
Despite paying the fee, the Democratic Party executive council in the state of South Carolina turned him down, so he didn’t make it to the primary. Within one month of his candidacy, Colbert officially withdrew in what could have ended up being a very interesting situation in 2008.