Actor-Politicians Across the World

They may have to don on a new set of costumes, read from a different script, and abandon the world of make-believe for the harsh realities of civic leadership, but that has not deterred actors and actresses across the world from opting for a life in the world of politics.

Here are some famous actors and actresses across the world who have made forays into politics:

Jayaram Jayalalitha, India: To her fans, she's the "Mother Goddess of the World," a buxom former starlet turned politician who has the ability to bring down the national government. To her critics, she is the "Iron Lady," the chief minister of a southern Indian state who brooks no opposition and has a fearsome reputation for intimidating rivals and suing publications.

Jayaram Jayalalitha first became chief minister of the state of Tamil Nadu in 1991, when her mentor — or some say, lover — M.G. Ramachandran, another legendary Indian actor-politician, died. She has been a figure in the Indian political scene ever since, despite major corruption allegations, including a police raid on her home that yielded a treasure trove of diamond-studded jewelry, hundreds of expensive silk sarees and 700 pairs of shoes, which earned her the nickname, "Booty Queen."

Still, Jayalalitha commands godlike adoration in her native state with one supporter cutting off and offering the actress-politician one of his fingers during her 55th birthday celebrations earlier this year.

Eva Peron, Argentina: Argentina's famous former first lady rose from humble beginnings to launch a successful career as a radio and film actress before she married Juan Domingo Peron. When Peron was elected president in 1946, his glamorous wife was put in charge of labor relations. Despite her relatively minor official position, Eva — or Evita, as she was popularly called — rose to immense power and popularity in Argentina.

A passionate speaker whose ill health lent her a sense of vulnerability, Evita was a committed Peronist. By extending voting rights to women and equal rights to illegitimate children, she won the hearts of many of her country's poor and disposed. But for many wealthy Argentines, Evita was a symbol of anti-democratic populism who used her position for personal gain.

While some accounts — notably Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical, Evita — portray her as a power-grabbing beauty, more than 50 years afer her death, she remains a beloved symbol in an Argentina mired in a free market-style economic crisis.

Clint Eastwood, USA: Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of the prosperous northern Californian town of Carmel in 1986 and served for two years. While many expected the Dirty Harry star to follow the trail that Ronald Reagan had blazed — leading up to the top spot at the White House — Eastwood turned back to film after serving his term. "I love cinema too much," the craggy Western hero-turned-politician-turned-acclaimed film director recently told reporters.

Sonny Bono, USA: Singer-musician Sonny Bono of The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour fame was elected mayor of Palm Springs, Calif., in 1988 and served until 1992. After a failed Senate race that year, he won a Republican seat in the House in 1994 where he served until his death in a skiing accident in January 1998. He was replaced in Congress by his wife, Mary Bono.

  Gina Lollobrigida, Italy: With her blazing almond eyes, raven hair, luscious lips and outrageously hourglass-shaped body, Gina Lollobrigida was a hit star in the 1950s and '60s. But more than three decades after her peak movie years, 'La Lollo' emerged from fading actress obscurity to stand for European Parliament elections in 1999, representing her hometown of Subiaco.

Running on a platform to promote women's and other social issues, the 72-year-old former star campaigned fearlessly through the Italian summer in high-heels, form-fitting dresses, suspiciously long eyelashes and obviously fake fingernails.

In her heyday, she was such a powerful sex figure, that a senior Syrian official once claimed to have saved Italian troops in Beirut from an attack because he "did not want a single tear falling from the eyes of Gina Lollobrigida." In 1999 though, she failed to rouse her hometown and lost her bid for a seat on the European Parliament.