Celebrities who make it big often have a different calling that comes to them later in life— the calling to join the men and women in blue. Or, some celebrities had that calling first, and then became famous later on as actors, musicians, and politicians.
Many celebrities want to give back to the communities that helped make them who they are. They have a measure of respect and selflessness, and an admiration for the police force, and many of them have the drive to try to make the streets a better place. It’s definitely a noble cause, especially for people who are making millions of dollars a year elsewhere. Like all cops, they don’t do it for the money— they do it for a greater purpose.
The valuable experience of law enforcement, and insight learned, can help anyone in their careers— even celebrities. Here are 20 celebrities who have also been police officers.
20 Steven Seagal
Steven Seagal is a movie star known for his martial arts skills and for being a bit of a weirdo, but he’s also worked with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff Department since the 1980s. Given his penchant for violence in his movies, his longing to catch bad guys is unsurprising. He even starred in a short-lived reality television series that chronicled his crime-fighting spree, called Steven Seagal: Lawman.
19 Elvis Presley
The King of Rock and Roll is perhaps the most famous lawman in the world, despite being dead for decades. He was an avid admirer of the police, and collected badges and police equipment from federal special agents. He met President Richard Nixon in 1970 and professed his hatred of hippie drug culture. Nixon made him an honorary drug enforcement agent after that.
18 Jaime Faith Edmondson
Jaime Faith Edmondson is an American model who was the Playboy Playmate of the Month for January 2010. She’s also a former police officer in Florida after graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Criminal Justice. She was also a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. She’s married to former Tampa Bay Rays star Evan Longoria, and once sued a strip club in Tampa for misappropriating her image.
17 Ted Nugent
The former Damn Yankee and wild outspoken political activist known as The Nuge is a rock and roll legend first, but he also (unsurprisingly) has a history in the police department. Ted Nugent was a reserve deputy with the Lake County Sheriff Department in Michigan in the 1980s, and as a long advocate for gun rights, he’s worked to support DARE programs and law enforcement-friendly endeavors.
16 Shaquille O’Neal
Everyone knows Shaq for his unparalleled skill on the basketball court, and then as a basketball analyst. But he’s also served as a reserve officer for the Los Angeles Port Police, the Miami Beach Police Department, and the Golden Beach Police in South Florida. He’s completed two police academies in different states and has also been named an honorary U.S. Marshal. In 2020, he plans on running for sheriff of Henry County, Georgia.
15 Erik Estrada
Before he was the real deal, Erik Estrada was an actor who played a California Highway Patrol Officer on CHiPs. He then went on to serve as a deputy sheriff in Bedford County, Virginia in 2009. He also signed on as a reserve officer with the St. Anthony Police Department of Idaho in 2016. He was also a reserve officer in Muncie, Indiana. He’s said he always wanted to be a police officer as a child, but acting got in the way.
14 David Zayas
David Zayas is a Puerto Rican actor best known for playing Angel Batista on Dexter, Enrique Morales in the HBO show Oz, and Sal Maroni on Fox’s Gotham. Before he was an actor, though, he was a cop with the New York Police Department for 15 years. He attended acting school while still on the streets, and he’s said he enjoyed the midnight shift because he had downtime to run his lines. His first role once he broke into acting was as a police officer.
13 Eddie Money
Eddie Money had some one-hit wonders to his name in the ‘70s and ‘80s, making him into somewhat of a music icon. “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On” were his big claims to fame. During his time as a star, he also worked with New York’s finest before changing his name to help his rock career. As a police officer, Money was known as Edward Mahoney, and he followed in the footsteps of his brother and father in joining the NYPD.
12 Dennis Farina
Dennis Farina was best known for being typecast as mobsters, such as Jimmy Serrano in Midnight Run or Ray “Bones” Barboni in Get Shorty. But in real life he’s the one trying to catch bad guys (and he’s been typecast as a cop, too). You might remember him from Law & Order and Miami Vice. He was a Chicago police officer for 18 years and a detective. He first got into acting after being hired as a consultant for police shows, and passed away in 2013.
11 Carol Shaya
Carol Shaya has a bit of a tumultuous history with law enforcement. She was a New York City police officer whose employment was terminated after she appeared in the August 1994 issue of Playboy. She’s an actress trained under Marily Fried and appeared in an Off-Broadway production of Grandma Sylvia’s Funeral. She’s currently a personal trainer, actress, and model living in West Hollywood.
10 Herb Fame
Born Herbert Feemster, Herb Fame is the male half of Peaches & Herb, a vocalist duo that has been around since 1966. He found fame in the 1970s for hits like “Reunited (And It Feels So Good).” He took a break from show business and worked as a Washington, D.C. cop, though he continued to make music. Today he works as a deputized court security officer with the U.S. Marshals, and as an occasional security guard.
9 Ken Osmond
Ken Osmond had a prolific career as a child actor, starting at the age of four. He’s best known for his role as Eddie Haskell in the 1950s TV sitcom, Leave It to Beaver. He also reprised the role in the 1980s revival series, The New Leave It to Beaver. He was typecast and found it hard getting other roles. After his stint as The Beave, Osmond became a Los Angeles Police Officer, serving as a motorman and vice officer. He was even shot in 1980 while chasing a suspect, but was saved by his vest!
8 Dan Aykroyd
Dan Aykroyd is first known as an iconic Saturday Night Live star, then as a friend of John Belushi’s and co-star of the Blues Brothers and Ghostbusters. The famous funnyman held an honorary police commission, though, serving as an honorary commander with the Harahan Police Department in Louisiana. He’s credited with doing a lot to support that agency.
7 James Woods
James Woods is a legendary actor known mostly for his roles in mobster movies like Casino and Once Upon a Time in America, but also for the films Nixon, Contact, and as the voice of Hades in Disney’s Hercules. His breakout role was in The Onion Field, where his character kidnapped two cops and took out one. He was a reserve officer for the LAPD, and, shortly after 9/11, he reported what he believed to be suspicious behavior during a flight and might have thwarted another attack.
6 Kiran Bedi
Although not very famous in the states, Kiran Bedi is huge in India, where she’s a social activist, politician, former tennis player, and a retired police officer. She joined the Indian Police Service in 1972 and became its first woman officer, which is a huge claim to fame. She was a teenage junior national champion in tennis in 1966, and between then and 1978, she won several national and state-level championships. She is the current Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
5 Barney Martin
Barney Martin is best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld’s dad, Morty, in the sitcom Seinfeld. The long-running star also appeared in Mel Brooks’ The Producers and as a stand-in for Jackie Gleason on The Honeymooners. He’s also appeared in some musical productions. Barney served as a New York City police officer for 20 years before he got his acting career going.
4 Gene Roddenberry
Before Gene Roddeberry boldly went where no one had gone before with Star Trek— creating one of the most iconic TV shows and franchises of all time— he spent several years working in the newspaper unit as an LAPD officer. He honed his screenwriting skills by cleaning up stories for fellow officers to submit to the popular TV show Dragnet.
3 Lou Ferrigno
Lou Ferrigno is best known for playing The Hulk on television from 1977 to 1982. He was sworn in as a full reserve deputy with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 after serving as an LA County reserve deputy since 2006. He’s starred in King of Queens and is known worldwide as a bodybuiler. He underwent a full background investigation, psychological testing, and polygraph exam to follow in his police lieutenant father’s footsteps.
2 Steve Wilkos
Steve Wilkos is best known as a talk-show host and TV personality, having hosted The Steve Wilkos Show since 2007. He was also the director of security on The Jerry Springer Show from 1994 to 2007. He served in the US Marine Corps. which he joined right after high school, and then applied to the Chicago Police Department.
1 Valentina Vezzali
Valentina Vezzali is a world-renowned fencer who has won six Olympic gold medals in foil competitions for Italy. She’s one of only four athletes in the history of the Summer Olympic Games to have won five medals in the same individual event. She became a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies as part of the Scelta Civica Party in 2013.
Sources: ranker.com, thebalancecareers.com, wikipedia.com