How celebrity politicians became subjects of the Hollywood fame game

Juliette Fairley

Politics for both Democrats and Republicans changed forever at the advent of television in the 1950s, according to a Hollywood pioneer.

“It was Hollywood driven when television became the tool for driving presidential campaigns and the debate system,” said Ramon Hervey, author of the new HarperCollins book, THE FAME GAME: An Insider’s Playbook for Earning Your 15 Minutes.

The difference, however, between actors and politicians is as simple as whether they have lines to memorize or not.

“Politicians don't have the luxury of a script that’s written for them,” Hervey said. “They're not actors. They are real people who are asking others to vote for them.”

Hervey is the mastermind personal manager behind Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Vanessa Williams, Quincy Jones, Tina Turner, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Muhammad Ali, The Jacksons with Michael Jackson, and Natalie Cole. He is Vanessa Williams' first husband with whom he has three adult children.

“I don’t see a political star on the rise who is ready to be crowned because it’s much harder today with our country being so divided,” he said. “The bigger political stars have come when there was not such a fine line between left and right so it’s harder to get that ground swell of celebrity when the most you can hope for right now is 50% of the country’s support.”

Whether it’s a movie pass, concert ticket, or an electoral vote, certain principles apply to all who are successful in their chosen professions.

“Fame is a reward,” Hervey said. “It's an accolade but when you do something really well, you're still going to find people who don't like it. So, if you are only in this game to please other people, that's an issue that will end up biting you.”

Hervey had this to say about today’s politicians who are experiencing the highs and lows of fame.

Former U.S. Pres. Donald Trump who was defeated by current U.S. Pres. Joe Biden in the 2020 elections and is being called on by his supporters to run again in 2024.

“I can't think of another CEO, another president, or another superstar who's made so many mistakes and still is able to garner as much attention as he seems to be able to do,” Hervey said. “It's remarkable to me. He is an anomaly. I don't know of another politician who's gotten more publicity and exposure through social media ever. I doubt that it will ever be repeated.”

Former Indiana Attorney General and rising political star Curtis Hill whose law license was suspended after being accused of groping women at a 2018 party.

“He'll never escape that question,” Hervey said. “But he could do a lot of behind-the-scenes types of activity like if he got a bill passed against it or something that would show that he was not aligned with that and that he was telling the truth, or that he was set up or whatever, then he might have a chance at running again. People do have to forget that incident because anyone who's running against him is going to use it.”
Hervey with Pres. Clinton and Hillary ClintonRon Baker Photography.

Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Green became the Republican primary nominee three months ago for a possible second term after being stripped of her committee assignments for allegedly spouting hateful rhetoric.

“You would need to determine what is the makeup of the people who support her in order to determine how she was able to do this,” Hervey added. “She may have women, men, or a mixed cultural background that causes people to support her. All those things play a role in a politician’s lifeline, and it changes depending on what region of the country you’re in.”

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Juliette Fairley is a legal and financial investigative reporter who writes about politics, law, corruption, and many other topics. She is a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Chicago City Wire, Legal Newsline, Southern California Record, St. Louis Record, New York Daily News, Dallas Express, Dallas City Wire, the Lone Star Standard, The Epoch Times, Newsmax, and many other publications.

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