9 Surprisingly Conservative Hollywood Celebrities
Conservatives spend a lot of time railing against liberal Hollywood, complaining it’s full of leftists, progressives, and not so long ago, communists. This notion is a bit of paranoid fever dream, since Tinseltown has its fair share of right-wingers. Sure, there is a hint of truth to the idea that the entertainment industry, as a whole, skews a bit left. But it’s not all bleeding hearts and tree huggers emoting across your screens and streaming out of your speakers. There are conservatives and Republicans in the field, too, some of whose political stances are better known than others.
An obvious list of Hollywood’s vocal right-wingers includes Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Kelsey Grammer, Chuck Norris, Ben Stein, Gary Sinise, Jon Voight and Sly Stallone. (And there are other rumored conservatives who, with a little digging, it turns out actually aren’t, such as Laura Prepon, David Lynch, Hillary Duff, and LL Kool J, to name a few.) But there are plenty of conservative and Republican stars who might surprise you.
Here are the nine most surprising conservative celebs.
1. Dennis Hopper. In the late 1960s and ‘70s, Dennis Hopper was basically a counterculture mascot, a poster child for everything gone wrong with the country, at least according to conservatives at the time. He’d made his silver screen debut in Rebel Without a Cause and was a James Dean acolyte; directed and edited the game-changing cinematic landmark Easy Rider; and did enough drugs to kill several hundred horses, several hundred times over. (Later, Hopper would state, “I only [did] drugs so I [could] drink more.”) This is a man who dropped acid with Jack Nicholson at D.H. Lawrence’s grave and claimed he did so many illegal narcotics the night he married Mammas & the Papas singer Michelle Phillips he literally didn’t recognize her the next morning. (The two were married for eight hellacious days, after which Phillips divorced Hopper for what she labeled “unnatural sexual demands.”)
But by the early aughts, Hopper told news outlets, “I've been a Republican since Reagan. I voted for Bush and his father. I don't tell a lot of people, because I live in a city where somebody who voted for Bush is really an outcast.” He even appeared in that awful, one-star piece of conservative agitprop An American Carol, a movie we should never speak of again. In any case, Hopper had a change of heart ahead of the 2008 general elections (the last ones held before his 2010 death), saying, "I pray [to] God Barack Obama is elected.” Later, he explained that presidential candidate John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin had been just a step too stupid for him to remain on the sinking Republican ship. America agreed.
2. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If there were a list of WWE champions who have managed to leverage their professional wrestling fame into mainstream action film careers, that list would have just one name on it: Dwayne Johnson. Kudos to him for making the against-all-odds leap, and also, maybe a few high fives for consistently killing it when he guest hosts SNL and nailing Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” on the otherwise trying-way-too-hard show "Lip Sync Battle."
According to numerous sources, Johnson is a registered Republican in California, which seems to be the most convincing evidence of his political affiliation. (The Internet’s numerous citations of the fact that he appeared at the 2000 Republican National Convention neglect to recognize that he also appeared at the Democratic National Convention that same year, though he only gave a non-partisan “get out the vote”-style speech at the RNC.) It’s worth noting that Johnson got into a little bit of a tussle with New Jersey governor and now presidential candidate Chris Christie last year after the actor claimed his likeness and name had been used without permission in a campaign video for the politician. Christie’s team ultimately had to edit all references to The Rock out of the ad, though you can watch the contested version below.
3. Alice Cooper. I hate to disappoint anyone who bought Cooper’s records in the 1970s thinking they’d really gotten in league with one of the devil’s best proselytizers in rock and roll. But Cooper, a born-again Christian, now says all those early songs were “pretty much always warning about Satan.” Not only is the singer very religious these days, he takes a literalist interpretation of the Bible, stating in interviews that he doesn’t quite buy evolution, believes “each word…[of] the Old Testament explicitly,” and thinks the world was created in seven days. While Cooper claims he crosses party lines in terms of voting, he supported Bush in 2000 and 2004. And in 2008, he called Sarah Palin “a breath of fresh air,” adding, “When they say she has no experience, maybe that's what Washington needs. I still don't know who I'm going to vote for. But in a shooting war, I want a pitbull, not a poodle. I'm gonna go for the hawk." (Later, he did some gentle backpedaling, saying he made that statement because it was wartime and “[i]f you’re going to be in a war, be in it to win.” Which, like, whatever.)
4. James Caan. You might think of the movie The Godfather when you think of James Caan (or depending on the season, Elf), but let’s not forget the many storied real-life escapades Caan has been linked to over the years. He admittedly had a bit of a downturn in the 1980s when he sunk into a life of drug consumption, and in the 1990s was accused of beating up his model girlfriend, pulling a gun on a rapper (!!!), and even served as a character witness in the trial against alleged mafioso Ronald Lorenzo. He also famously spent a lot of time at the 1970s preeminent den of inequity, and has said, “[t]o get over my divorce, I got a prescription to live at the Playboy Mansion for a while.” Lest anyone chalk up all that hedonism to some liberal moral failing, Caan in recent years has set the record straight. Said the actor in a 2010 interview, “I'm an ultra conservative,” and to drive the point home, added, “I'm not a goddamn Hollywood liberal, I'm not.” He reportedly also noted that the only news he watches is Fox News, to which we might all respond, Okay, James, we get it already.
5. Cindy Crawford. While it’s true that back in 2008, Crawford and her husband were on Team Obama, donating the maximum amount of $4,600 to his campaign, that Democratic enthusiasm was a bit of an anomaly. CNN, citing Federal Election Commission records, notes that the couple’s political contributions have mostly gone to Republican contenders and their backing groups, “including former President George W. Bush, Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell and the Republican National Committee.” In the last general election, Crawford seemed to go all-in for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney while still not offering a full-stop endorsement. In the lead-up to voting day, Tagg Romney tweeted this photo of the former supermodel with Romney family matriarch, Ann. And a Romney spokesperson proudly tweeted that “Crawford appears in a demonstration video at Romney call day to show people how to use ComMitt fundraising software.” When asked what it all meant, Crawford’s spokesperson suggested the model only appeared in the video because of her friendship with Tagg, and issued the tepid message that, “[Cindy is] not politically aligned with any party or candidate.”
6. Joe Perry. Aerosmith co-founder Joe Perry isn’t at all cagey about his political beliefs or his stance on issues. He collects firearms, and in response to questions that are not at all explicitly about the Second Amendment, says things like, “I have always been fascinated with guns. I grew up in America so granted, it is part of our heritage and it is written into the laws of how this country is run.” (I see what you did there!) He’s also pretty straightforward about what party he’s for. In a 2012 interview, Perry said, “I’m a Republican, but I’m a Republican from the old school...My favorite president was actually John Kennedy. Oh, and Eisenhower. I don’t think we’ve had anyone like those guys since Reagan, but you need somebody you can believe in...The bottom line is I’m a definite old-school Republican and you can put that in there. I was one of the few people that came out for McCain and got a lot of shit for it. There’s an awful lot of people out there in L.A. that were jumping up and down for Obama that aren’t right now.”
In 2013, he took to Twitter to defend Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson after the latter said a bunch of homophobic (and racist, can’t forget racist!) drivel in an interview with GQ Magazine. "So what do you think about this 'Duck Dynasty' hoopla? More crackin' down on Freedom of Speech in the US or what?" Perry asked his followers on Twitter, and then added, "Seems to me people have a right to express their opinions & religious beliefs. But that doesn't mean we have to agree." Because being temporarily suspended from a reality TV show is exactly the kind of censorship the First Amendment was meant to protect against.
7. Caitlyn Jenner. Let’s be clear: Conservatives have been vocal and almost universally consistent in their non-support of not just Caitlyn Jenner but the entire transgender community. Which is why the second most noted revelation to emerge from Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer in April was the fact that the 65-year-old identifies as a Republican. Asked about Obama’s use of the word “transgender” in his State of the Union address, an historic first for a U.S. president, Jenner responded, “I will certainly give him credit for that. But not to get political, I’ve just never been a big fan. I’m kind of more on the conservative side.” Jenner also responded affirmatively to the question of whether or not she is a Republican, saying, “I believe in the Constitution.” (Because Republicans have a patent on the Bill of Rights™. Also, Patriotism™.)
While a few GOP presidential hopefuls have offered the most tepid support possible to Jenner, Fox News hosts lauded her...not for identifying as transgender, but for admitting to being a Republican. Andrea Tantaros said, "I think it was more courageous to come out as a conservative than to come out as Caitlyn, I mean truthfully.” Eric Bolling said, "Bruce Jenner did something that was very difficult. Bruce Jenner did something that he knew was probably going to give him a lot of grief. Bruce Jenner stood up and loudly and proudly declared that he was a Republican."
8. Adam Sandler. To be honest, I’m not sure how surprising Sandler’s Republicanism is at this point, but on the off chance there’s anyone left who’s unaware, I’m including him. The king of 1990s frat humor is a registered Republican, according to pretty much every source. He also performed at the 2004 Republican National Convention, which came four years into Bush 43’s presidency, and thus, may be unforgivable. There’s also the fact that back in 2007, when Rudy Giuliani was running to be The Worst President Ever (his campaign slogan, donated by Joe Biden, was, “A Noun, A Verb, and 9/11”), Sandler reportedly donated $2,100 to the effort. Perhaps the one saving grace is that back then, Giuliani was merely totally awful, as opposed to now, when he might be described as insufferably loathsome.
9. Big Boi. Remember when Jenna Bush namechecked OutKast at the 2004 Republican National Convention? (Actual quote: “[C]ontrary to what you might read in the papers, our parents are actually kind of cool. They do know the difference between mono and Bono. When we tell them we're going to see OutKast, they know it's a band and not a bunch of misfits. And if we really beg them, they'll even shake it like a Polaroid picture.” Ugh.) Nearly a decade later, in 2013, the rapper appeared on an episode of HuffPost Live in which he noted that he’d voted for Gary Johnson in the last general election, and stated, “I’m a Libertarian. Liberty, justice for all. I’m really pro people, pro freedom.” After stating he had “nothing against” Obama, he laid out his own politics simply and thusly: “Anything that benefits the public and not just big banking, that's what I'm with.” It was enough to get some conservatives on Twitter to push the idea of having Big Boi speak at CPAC 2013. (They pointed out that his tweets suggested he’s pro-gun rights and possibly a fan of Ayn Rand.) No dice. But maybe Rand Paul should get on that, stat.