Political Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2022


There is a growing literature on celebrity involvement in American politics. Celebrities have advantages that are beneficial when they seek elected office, but they can also lose elections despite these advantages. Because George Murphy was a Hollywood actor who both won and lost electoral contests, his case can provide insights about why celebrities win and lose elections. Having appeared in over forty movies, Murphy was a nationally recognized figure when he ran successfully for the U.S. Senate in 1964. He demonstrated that celebrities have the talents, fame, and resources to succeed in the electoral arena. These attributes alone, however, were not enough to win re-election. An unfavorable political environment was the reason for his loss six years later. This suggests that despite having advantages, the normal laws of politics still apply to celebrity politicians.


Original published version available at muse.jhu.edu/article/857985.

Publication Title

Southern California Quarterly



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