The History of Actors Turned Politicians

George Murphy

Notable roles: Broadway Melody of 1938 (1937), For Me and My Gal (1942)
Political position: U.S. Senator, California (1965-1971)

George Murphy was the granddaddy of all actors-turned-politicians. He gained notoriety in the ‘30s by starring in numerous big-budget Hollywood musicals during a time when the genre was bringing record profits to the movies industry. Near the end of his acting career, Murphy served as the president of the Screen Actors Guild, a position that would be held by Ronald Reagan just a few years later.

Murphy then made history by becoming one of the first high-profile actors to successfully transition to politics when he was elected as a senator from California in 1965. He is perhaps best remembered for being the senator who started the Senate's legendary “candy desk," where the senator seated closest to the most heavily-used door keeps his or her desk full of candy for their colleagues to eat throughout the day. Seriously. That's your tax dollars hard at work, folks.

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