Fame and notoriety have their benefits. They can give you a platform to achieve lofty dreams, even ones as high as holding a political office.
Even classic shows like Happy Days have this effect. Anson Williams was one of the cast’s standout members as Potsie. He’s never been the type to stick to one pursuit. He’s been an actor, a businessman, and an author. He’s now chasing a new dream; becoming mayor of his hometown, Ojai, California.
Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more updates on his campaign. Keep watching to learn why Anson Williams is no longer an actor- not even close.
Anson Williams’ Early Life
Anson William Heimlich was born in Los Angeles, California on September 25, 1949. His uncle was Dr. Henry Heimlich, namesake of the Heimlich maneuver.
Anson attended Burbank High School. He was the captain of the track team and fell in love with acting while participating in school productions.
Anons Williams’ Career
One of his first official acting gigs was in a Mcdonald’s commercial in 1971. That led to a role in the anthology series Love, American Style in 1972. He played Potsie Webber, the character he’d later portray in the spin-off Happy Days. He was one of the few to remain on the show throughout its entire run. His first wife Lorrie Mahaffey played his girlfriend Jennifer.
He also used his singing talents to play in Richie, Potsie, and Ralph’s band. In 1997, he even released a single called Deeply that hit #93 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Anson moved on to other projects after Happy Days ended. He was included in specials such as No Greater Gift in 1985, Drug Knot in 1986, and the made-for-TV movie Lone Star Kid in 1986. He’s also directed episodes for The Pretender, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, and more.
He’s reappeared as Potsie a few times in other shows as well. These appearances included a Happy-Days-themed Boy Meets World episode in 1996 and a 2003 episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He’s also shown up in 2 reunion specials; Happy Days Reunion Special in 1992 and Happy Days: 30th Anniversary Reunion in 2005.
Anson has also tried his hand at several business ventures. He and castmate Al Molinaro opened a diner chain called Big Al’s that eventually failed. He also founded a cosmetics company known as Starmaker Products.
Anson spoke at the National Trademark Expo in April 2008. He even wrote a book called Singing to a Bulldog: From Happy Days to Hollywood Director, and the Unlikely Mentor Who Got Me There.
Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on your favorite classic sitcom stars. Keep watching to learn why Anson Williams from Happy Days is no longer an actor-not even close- and what he’s doing instead.
Anson’s Mayoral Campaign
Anson announced his campaign for mayor of his hometown Ojai, California in a city council meeting on June 28, 2002. He hopes to inspire collaborative leadership.
He’s running against current mayor Betsy Stix. His Happy Days castmate tweeted his support, saying “you have my vote.”
A Brief History of Celebrity Candidates
Clay Aiken ran for congress in 2014. He was a Democratic candidate for the North Carolina district. He lost to incumbent Republic Renee Ellmers and, if he had won, would have been the first openly gay man in Congress in the South. He tried and lost again on January 10, 2022.
Jim Bob Duggar ran for Senate in Arkansas in December 2021. He won 15% of the vote but lost the position a few days after his oldest son Josh lost his child sexual abuse case. He did write a Facebook post showing appreciation for everyone who voted for him and said that he’d support whoever won.
Similar allegations also affected Saturday Night Live star Al Franken’s run for Minnesota senator. He was elected in 2009 after a close race that even went to the state’s Supreme Court. He won again with 53.9% of the vote but left early in 2018 after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Dr. Oz wrote an op-ed for The Washington Examiner that announced his Pennsylvania Senate candidacy on November 30. He was inspired by the coronavirus pandemic and felt that the deaths it caused could be prevented. He hired a great campaign team and won the Primary.
Caitlyn Jenner ran against California governor Gavin Newsom in April 2021. She called herself a compassionate disruptor. She only won 1% of the vote in the September 2021 election but did get plenty of publicity.
Steve Lodge was engaged to Real Housewives of Orange County star Vicki Gunvalson. He posted on Instagram on June 29 that he was running for governor of California, quipping “help me make California California again.” He earned less than 1% of the vote.
Barbara Kavovit is another Real Housewives name that ran for office. She announced her candidacy for mayor of New York City on January 27, 2021. She believed her connections and business sense as owner of Evergreen Constructions could help her get the city out of crisis. She dropped out but decided to run again for the next election in the fall of 2025.
Sean Duffy was another reality star who ran for office. The former Real World star became the district attorney of Ashland County, Wisconsin in 2002 and is still a member of Congress today.
Italian soap opera star Antonio Sabato Jr. ran against incumbent Julia Browney for Congress in California in 2018. He lost the race.
Cynthia Nixon announced her run for governor of New York on March 19, 2018. She’d developed a deep love for the city by living there for her whole life and starring in Sex and the City, a show that highlighted it. She eventually lost to incumbent Andrew Cuomo.
Dan Rodimer is a former professional wrestler who ran for office 3 times. The death of Ron Wright left an open spot in the House of Representatives. He came in 11th place among 23 candidates with 3% of the vote during the May 1 election. He also ran for state senate in 2018 and lost the race for Congress in Nevada in November 2020.
Glenn Jacobs, also known as Kane, is another famous wrestler who ran for office and won twice. He won the title of mayor of Knox County, Tennesse on August 2, 2018, beating out Linda Haney in a 2-1 race.
Wrestler Wyclef Jean’s nickname was The Body. He moved on to politics after winning the race for mayor of Brooklyn Park Minnesota. He then became the first member of the Reform Party to become governor of Minnesota in 1999.
Some celebrities have considered running for office but have yet to put their name in the pool officially.
Matthew McConaughey considered running for governor of Texas in 2022. The chair of the state’s Democratic Party said they’d welcome him. He took his name out of the running on November 28 to focus on his family.
46% of Americans want former wrestler and current action star Dwayne The Rock Johnson to run for president. He expressed his honor on Instagram and has discussed it during interviews with USA Today and People magazine.
The Federal Election Commission even approved a Run the Rock 2020 campaign that made him eligible, and he had higher poll numbers than Donald Trump at one point despite not officially putting his name in.
Bachelor star Ben Higgins got even closer to going into office. He filed the paperwork for the Colorado House of Representatives in 2016 after the show’s first season. He eventually dropped out due to “unforeseen circumstances.”
Howard Stern also dropped out of the race for New York Governor. He ran against George Pataki and made large promises, such as reinstating the death penalty, upping tolls, and increasing construction workers’ hours. He wanted to stay in office until he achieved these goals but dropped out to avoid a personal financial disclosure.
Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal published his plans to run for Sheriff in 2020. He hasn’t said which state he wants to run for, but he has more experience than you may realize.
He’s already been a reserve officer in Miami Beach, Tempe, Arizona, and the Port of Los Angeles. He even became a sworn deputy in Clayton County in 2016 and the director of community relations for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia in 2021.
Jerry Springer began running for office before becoming a political reporter and starring in the show that bore his name. He lost a seat in Congress in 1970 but won the seat as Mayor of Cincinnati and served from 1977-1978.
Clint Eastwood became mayor of his hometown of Carmel, California in 1986. He won 72.5% of the vote and served 2 years.
Arnold Schwarzenegger won the affectionate nickname of “the Governator” when he became the governor of California in 2003 over Governor Gray Davis, winning again in 2006 and ending his term in January 2011.
Many other California Congress hopefuls have also been popular celebrities.
Shirley Temple Black lost during the 1967 Primary, and Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert ran in 2015 but dropped out. Clueless Star Stacey Dash withdrew after backlash in 2018. Law and Order: SVU star lost to Antonio Delgado in the same year. Sonny Bono became mayor of Palm Springs in 1988 and a California Congressman in 1994.
Roseanne Barr came in 6th during the presidential elections in 2012, but other celebrities have held the highest office in the country. Ronald Reagan was a popular actor before serving as governor of California from 1967-1975 and president from 1981-1989. Donald Trump was the star of The Apprentice before becoming president from 2017-2021.
Kid Rock took a unique spin on the run for office. Fans noticed a “Kid Rock for Senate” website in July 2017. He swore it was real at first but eventually admitted it was a publicity stunt used to promote an upcoming album.
Which celebrity would you most like to see holding a political office? Let us know in the comments below. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the election wins and losses of your favorite stars.