From $6 million a movie to $200 a month is a heck of a pay cut.
But that’s what Clint Eastwood took in 1986 when he ran for mayor of his home town of Carmel.
Unsurprisingly, the residents of the Californian town quite liked the idea of having the Hollywood legend in charge and his victory was a landslide.
The turnout was double the norm in the picturesque seaside town, 80 miles south of San Francisco, as the 55-year-old got nearly three-quarters of the vote.
He polled 2,166 against the 799 votes cast for sitting mayor Charlotte Townsend, a former librarian.
Two of Eastwood’s supporters were also elected on to Carmel’s local council, giving him control of the five-member body.
Eastwood, a resident of Carmel for 14 years, decided to run for mayor after a series of clashes with the council.
After being refused planning permission to renovate his English-themed pub and restaurant, the Hog’s Breath Inn, the former Man With No Name took legal action and had the decision overturned.
His mayoral campaign centred on relaxing the strict controls on business in the town of 4,000 residents.
His famous Dirty Harry movie catchphrase “make my day” was put to good use on bumper stickers and T-shirts urging voters to back him.
Finance might have helped Clint as the actor – deemed to be worth a smidge over $375m four years ago – spent more than $40,000 on his campaign compared to the $3,000 spent by Mrs Townsend who had been the town’s mayor for four years.
After his victory, Eastwood said his first priority would be to restructure some of the “punitive” bylaws in the town, such as those against fast-food restaurants and frisbee throwing.
But he said he was not aiming to emulate Ronald Reagan and make the transition from acting to US president, insisting being mayor of Carmel was his priority.
“I’m taking a two-year hiatus from films. This is one politician who doesn’t have ambitions to leave Carmel. This is where I belong,” he said.
However, in spite of his promise to devote himself full-time to Carmel, Eastwood made two films while serving as the town’s mayor – Bird, his biopic of jazz musician Charlie Parker, and The Dead Pool, the last of his Dirty Harry thrillers.
He decided not to run for a second term and stepped down in 1988.
Other US celebrities to enter public office include former singer Sonny Bono, who was mayor of Palm Springs from 1988-1992 and became a congressman in 1994, and country singer and crime novelist Kinky Friedman who ran for Texas governor under the slogan “How hard could it be?”.