20 Inspiring Celebrities Who Have Testified Before Congress (PHOTOS)

Hollywood dating rumors and scandals fuel tabloids, but many entertainers also have a strong philanthropic side. In addition to spearheading assorted charities, some stars have gone the extra mile, testifying before Congress about various causes.

Here are 20 celebrities who used their platforms on Capitol Hill to truly make a difference.

 

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  • Ben Affleck

    1

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    While this actor may be saving the world on-screen as Batman, he's also a philanthropist in real life. Ben Affleck spoke to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs in March 2015 about violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. And Affleck knew what he was talking about -- he founded the advocacy group the Eastern Congo Initiative

  • Kerry Washington

    2

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    Even before she was Olivia Pope, Kerry Washington was no stranger to Washington, D.C. The actress testified to Congress in 2007 on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, discussing how her access to arts education while growing up in the Bronx led to her success.

  • Stephen Colbert

    3

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    In 2010, Stephen Colbert took his satirical character from the Colbert Report over to D.C. to speak in favor of immigrant workers' rights. In his typical fashion, he delivered his testimony with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

  • Julia Roberts

    4

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    After her Oscar win in 2001, Julia Roberts decided to do some good. The actress became involved with the International Rett Syndrome Association and asked Congress in 2002 to increase funding for this neurological disorder.

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  • John Legend

    5

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    This musician -- who is dedicated to giving all children access to an arts education -- testified in front of Congress to increase national funding in this area in 2008. 

  • Sheryl Crow

    6

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    This powerhouse country star spoke before Congress twice -- first in 2000 about music copyright law, and again in 2008 when she advocated for the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act, which studies links between the environment and breast cancer.

  • Kevin Costner

    7

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    The Gulf oil spill of 2010 inspired many to fight for change -- including this Dances With Wolves actor. Costner advocated in front of Congress for the increased use of oil-separating technologies in such environmental accidents.

  • Mary Tyler Moore

    8

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    As the International Chairman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary Tyler Moore testified before Congress in 2003 alongside about 200 children who suffered from this condition and argued for continued funding to find a cure.

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  • Seth Rogan

    9

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    This comedian has a serious side, too. Seth Rogen spoke to the Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies in 2014, asking to increase research for Alzheimer's disease, a condition that his mother-in-law suffered from.

  • Christie Brinkley

    10

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    In 2002, Christie Brinkley testified before Congress about the risks of nuclear reactors, since she and her children lived near three of them at the time. But she didn't stop there -- the supermodel also brought the topic to the U.N. in 2007.

  • Richard Simmons

    11

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    It doesn't come as too much of a surprise that this fitness guru asked Congress in 2008 to keep physical education in schools. While he may be famous for making exercise fun, Simmons stressed that physical education is necessary for the health of the nation's youth.

  • Nicole Kidman

    12

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    This Academy Award-winning actress testified before of Congress in 2009 in regards to the "International Violence Against Women Act." As a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, she spoke about violence against women specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo and advocated for protection for women worldwide.

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  • Muhammad Ali

    13

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    Alongside actor Michael J. Fox, this famous Olympian stood before Congress in 2002 to advocate for increased funding for research on Parkinson's disease. Both men suffer from this condition. 

  • Elizabeth Taylor

    14

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    This iconic actress spend the later years of her life doing good. In 1986, she first testified to Congress in support of AIDS research, and she would continue to be a great supporter of AmFAR for the rest of her life.

  • George Clooney

    15

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    This talented actor puts his fame to good use. In 2012, he testified on the constant violence in Sudan. George Clooney is also the co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project, an initiative that uses satellite imagery to detect potential attacks in this country.

  • Oprah Winfrey

    16

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    The talk show host has used her large-reaching platform to advocate for a number of causes, most notably fighting for the protection of children. Oprah Winfrey testified before Congress in 1991 to establish a national database of convicted child abusers.

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  • Don Cheadle

    17

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    Actor Don Cheadle spoke movingly in Congress in 2007 about the genocide in Darfur. He recounted the devastation he saw in the Sudanese camps in the effort to give a "human face" to the crisis.

  • Jewel

    18

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    Jewel may be a surprising candidate to speak before Congress, but she stood up for a good cause. Having been homeless before fame, the singer spoke to Congress about youth homelessness, representing the charity Virgin Unite.

  • Elton John

    19

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    The "Tiny Dancer" singer spoke to Congress in May 2015 about fighting against HIV/AIDs. The Elton John Foundation, founded in 1992, is also a global leader in the care of patients and AIDs education.

  • Mira Sorvino

    20

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    The Romy and Michele actress was another celebrity who raised awareness of the crisis in Darfur, speaking to the House International Affairs Committee in 2006.

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