Celebrity political endorsements are nothing new, but this year they seemed front and center more than ever. But did they work?
The results of the stars' efforts appear to be a mixed bag.
The endorsements that got the most buzz were the ones Michael J. Fox gave to candidates who supported stem-cell research. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, recorded TV ads that were shown in several states.
Fox's ads might have created little stir if Rush Limbaugh hadn't given them an unintended boost. On his radio show, Limbaugh said Fox was "exaggerating the effects of his disease. He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. … This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
Limbaugh later apologized, but by then Fox and his cause had reams of free publicity. Missouri narrowly passed a bill protecting stem-cell research, and Fox's candidate, Claire McCaskill, won election to the Senate.
Here's how the rest of the Michael J. Fox ticket fared:
Ben Cardin won the Maryland Senate race.
Bob Menendez won the New Jersey Senate race.
Jim Webb won the Virginia Senate race.
Jim Doyle won the governorship in Wisconsin.
In Connecticut, the married actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner backed three Democrats for Congress. Two of them won. And there is talk that Affleck himself may take a run at elective politics.
In New York, Robert DeNiro, Paul Newman and Tony Bennett recorded telephone endorsements for Hillary Clinton. Sounds like overkill for a candidate who won by more than 30 points.
In Maryland, on the Republican side, Don King and Russell Simmons backed Michael Steele for the Senate. He lost.
Celebrities spent a lot of time on politics this fall in California, where MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer once bragged there are more stars than there are in heaven. The issue was Proposition 87, which would have taxed oil companies to help promote alternative energy.
A megamillion dollar marquee roster that included Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, Eva Longoria, Salam Hayek and the omnipresent Affleck supported it. supported it,
They flopped, not at the box office but at the ballot box. Prop 87 failed, garnering only 45 percent of the vote.
Political consultants say celebrities can bring public attention to an issue or a candidate. But winning the public's support is a lot harder.
And finally, there's "the Terminator." Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He's famous from his movies for saying he'll be back, and he will be -- for another term in the statehouse.