The presidential campaign by entrepreneur and reality-TV star Donald Trump was one of the biggest stories of 2016, but he’s hardly the first non-politician to run for office. Here’s a list of the most successful celebrities and professional athletes who moved on to become public servants.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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It's hard to imagine that serving as the governor of California (2003-2011) might not be one's most notable career highlight, but when you've starred in such movies as "The Terminator," "Predator," "True Lies," "The Running Man" and "Conan the Barbarian" the argument can be made.

Clint Eastwood

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He's starred as the iconic character "Harry (Dirty Harry) Callahan," as well as in dozens of other films, and went on to win Academy Awards for Best Director ("Unforgiven," "Million Dollar Baby.") Eastwood has also held public office, serving one term as the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. (1986-88).

Al Franken

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Franken was one of the original writers for "Saturday Night Live," also appearing on the program as a performer, most famously as the character Stuart Smalley. A winner of five Emmy Awards, he went on to work as a politically active author and radio host before running for the United States Senate in 2008, and was elected the junior U.S. senator for Minnesota. Franken was re-elected to a second term in 2014.

Ronald Reagan


Before serving as the 40th president of the United States (1981-89), he held office as the governor of California (1967-1975). However, prior to his days as a politician, Reagan was best known for his acting career, starring in such films as "Cattle Queen of Montana," "Hellcats of the Navy," "Knute Rockne, All American," "The Girl from Jones Beach" and "Bedtime for Bonzo."

Fred Thompson

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Appearing in several films (such as "The Hunt for Red October," "Cape Fear," "Days of Thunder") and TV shows (including more than 100 episodes of "Law & Order"), the late Fred Thompson (1942-2015) also served as a U.S. senator representing Tennessee (1994-2003).

Bill Bradley

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Bill Bradley served as a U.S. senator for the state of New Jersey (1979-1997), but is also a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, as he won an Olympic gold medal in 1964 and played with the New York Knicks (1967-1977).

Sean Duffy

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Following his role as a cast member of the MTV program "The Real World: Boston," Duffy served as the district attorney of Ashland County, Wisc. (2002-2010) before being elected a U.S. representative for the state of Wisconsin.

Sonny Bono

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The late Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono (1935-1998) first found the public eye in the 1960s as a musician partnered with his wife Cher, with whom he scored a Billboard Hot 100 number one hit in 1965 ("I Got You Babe"). The two went on to host a network variety show ("The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour") in the early 1970s before divorcing in 1975. Bono continued his entertainment career as an actor, taking roles in film and on TV before moving into politics, serving as the mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., (1988-1992) and then as a congressman for the state of California from 1995 until his demise.

Jesse Ventura

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Jesse Ventura (born James George Janos) was once a top-level wrestler and announcer for World Wrestling Entertainment (then the World Wrestling Federation), often playing a heel with a penchant for feather boas and flashy sunglasses (calling himself Jesse "The Body"). Following a few roles in action movies, Ventura ventured into politics, and after serving as the mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minn., (1991-1995) ran for and won the governorship of Minnesota in 1998 as a member of the Reform Party, making him the first Reform Party candidate ever elected to state or federal office. Ventura served as governor until 2003.

Jim Bunning

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Jim Bunning is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, playing for four teams (1955-1971) and threw a perfect game in 1964 (one of only 23 in major-league history). Following his retirement from baseball, Bunning went into politics, and was first elected to the city council of Fort Thomas, Ky., (1977-79), and then as the representative for Kentucky's 4th congressional district (1987-1998) before serving two terms as a U.S. senator for the state of Kentucky (1999-2010).

Jack Kemp

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The late Jack Kemp (1935-2009) was a professional quarterback, primarily for the Buffalo Bills (1962-1969) and was selected as an American Football League All Star seven times. Upon retiring, Kemp ran for Congress and served nine terms as the congressman for Western New York's 31st congressional district (1971-1989) before his appointment as secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1989-1993).

Fred Grandy


Most famously starring as Burl "Gopher" Smith on the TV show "The Love Boat," Grandy also served as a four-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives for the state of Iowa (1986-1995).

Dave Bing

Credit: Getty Bill Pugliano

Hall of Fame basketball player Dave Bing was a seven-time All-Star, but also served as the mayor of Detroit, Mich., from 2009 to 2013.

Kevin Johnson

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Recognized as "KJ" by fans of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Johnson was a three-time All-Star, playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns. He was elected mayor of Sacramento, Calif., in 2008, and re-elected in 2012.

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