In the long history of Hollywood, we have seen several top-rated stars taking on active as well as supporting roles in politics and activism. Many of them have left a long-lasting impact on the society by advancing different great causes and political movements. However, unfortunately, today’s younger generation doesn’t know much about these Hollywood celebrities or their work. This article discusses five such politically active celebrities that made maximum impact on the world beyond Hollywood.
Warren Beatty: Warren Beatty was instrumental in Hollywood’s shift of power from the studios to the stars in the 1960s. Through the early 1970s, he campaigned for some political candidates and social causes. In 1972, he was an active associate of Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. He also campaigned for the presidential bid of Sen. Gary Hart of Colorado in 1984. No other Hollywood star before Beatty had ever made such a strong influence in a presidential campaign. Beatty’s involvement with McGovern includes persuading Hubert Humphrey to be the running mate of the nominee, organizing fundraising rock concerts, and much more. He was also an all-purpose adviser to Hart.
Harry Belafonte: A renowned singer and actor from the 1950s, Belafonte used the public platform to effectively support numerous civil rights movements. He headlined many fundraisers and rallies. In support of school integration, he led a student delegation for delivering a petition to the Eisenhower White House. He was the man behind bailing Martin Luther King Jr. out of the Birmingham jail, and later acted as a bridge between Robert F. Kennedy and King. In 1985, Belafonte organized the star-studded recording “We Are the World” supporting Africa. He also served as a special ambassador for UNICEF.
Bono: Born Paul Hewson, this popular Irish singer has probably had more political influence compared to any other celebrity. Dedicated to fighting the developing world’s poverty problem, he was the nucleus of an active global network comprising of many noted celebrities, development experts, philanthropists, and political leaders.
With extraordinary political dexterity, persistence, and tenacity, Bono formed strong political alliances with political figures such as Bill Clinton, Jesse Helms, George W. Bush, and many others. With his adept political maneuvering, he managed to raise consciousness about several issues. It is often said that Bono is responsible for changing the way celebrities react to and interact with social issues and politicians.
Michael J. Fox: In 1998, it was revealed to the world that Fox had Parkinson’s disease. He has been a strong and poignant voice for finding a cure to this condition by expanding federal efforts. He has been a strong proponent of funding stem cell research.
Fox was actively involved in campaigning for many Democratic candidates in 2006. Interestingly, all these candidates were strong supporters of stem-cell research. Through his own foundation, Michael J. Fox has funded over $200 million for Parkinson’s research.
Jamie Lee Curtis: In addition to being extremely successful as an actress and author, Curtis is also an accomplished philanthropist and activist. Along with her father, she helped the efforts to rebuild a Hungarian synagogue that was destroyed during WWII. In support of a rehabilitation organization named Women in Recovery, Jamie Lee Curtis participated in a fundraising gala in 2003 as the guest of honor. She has been a strong supporter of the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation and has been the annual host for the foundation’s “Dream Halloween” event. Curtis has also been an active supporter of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and its outpatient division.
During California’s 2008 general election, Curtis was a part of the “Yes on Prop 3” commercials in support of the Children’s Hospital Bond Act. In 2016, for the presidency, she was one of the most vocal critics of Donald Trump and supporters of Hilary Clinton.