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Top 20 Celebrity Activists of All Time

An inside look at stars ranging from Harry Belafonte to Ronald Reagan

Paul Newman at the 1968 Democratic convention

Paul Newman (second from left) and playwright Arthur Miller (second from right) at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago — CBS/Getty Images

Paul Newman

No prominent elected officials stood with Sen. Eugene McCarthy when he launched his 1968 Democratic primary challenge to President Johnson. Fortunately for McCarthy, his few assets included one of the world's most recognized movie stars.

Newman proved a relaxed and compelling campaigner, drawing huge crowds in frozen New Hampshire. At Polish pool halls in Milwaukee during the Wisconsin primary, he also demonstrated his form from his gripping role in The Hustler, bringing cool to a candidate often considered cold.

Until his death in 2008, Newman remained a mainstay in liberal politics, part of the "Malibu Mafia" of Los Angeles donors who helped launch George McGovern's insurgency in 1972, a prominent advocate of a nuclear freeze in the 1980s and part owner of the Nation magazine in the 1990s. He used the proceeds from his eponymous Newman's Own food line to fund wide-ranging philanthropies.

For all his achievements, Newman once said that his greatest accomplishment was appearing on Richard Nixon's enemies' list.

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