Ranking all of Donald Trump's TV and movie cameos from the bad to not-so-bad

Greg Evans
Sunday 25 October 2020 16:00
Showbiz

Donald Trump is not somebody who needs an introduction.

He has been president for the past four years and is possibly the most famous person in the world as a result, regardless of what you think of his politics.

Before he moved into the White House, Trump was a real estate mogul, but you don't need any more stories about that. We all know Trump had mixed successes in this area.

One thing he did do to keep his profile and brand in the mainstream was keep himself on our screen by making cameos in television shows or movies.

There has been speculation as to why Trump went down this path. In 2017, Matt Damon claimed that there was a contract that Trump had drawn up which stated that if someone wanted to shoot in one of his many buildings then he had to have a part in the film or TV show.

Chris O'Donnell appeared to back up this claim in the same year, telling Conan O'Brien that Trump shot a part for the Oscar-winning Scent of a Woman in 1992 but was eventually cut from the film.

Whether Trump actually had such a contract will probably remain a mystery for some years and if it's true then who knows how many acting appearances Trump made that never saw the light of day.

As it stands though between 1989 and 2013 Trump made more than 20 cameos, mostly as himself in all sorts of films featuring the talents of Whoopi Goldberg, Hugh Grant, Leonardo DiCaprio, Elizabeth Hurley, Ben Stilller and of course, Macaulay Culkin.

Ronald Reagan was an actor of some success before he took up politics but unlike Reagan, Trump is not exactly a gifted actor and had a knack of appearing in some truly awful pieces of television and cinema.

Sex-ghost-comedy-dramas? Yep, he's been in one of those. Long-running television dramas that Friends used to mock? Oh yeah, he's been in more than one of those.

For all the bad things that he's been in, there are a few classics like Zoolander and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York that Trump has popped up in.

So, with the 2020 election on the horizon, we've taken a look back at all of Trump's cameos (or at least the ones that we can find) and ranked them from worst to best.

And yes, WWE is in there.

(Note: We have not included The Apprentice in this list as we could hardly say that Trump was acting in that show and we've also not included the two music videos he has starred in, Bobby Brown's On Our Own and Emin's In Another Life, but we would encourage you to watch them just for the strangeness of Trump's appearances).

22. Marmalade

The only reason this 2004 romantic comedy is at the bottom of this list is that we can barely find any information out about it. There isn't a single trailer for it online and the only clip we can find from it the one above which comes from a YouTube account called 'MarmaladeFilm'. The video's description describes the movie as:

A scene from the feature film, Marmalade. A witty and satiric romantic comedy about the exploits of a New York fashion model who suddenly discovers that the lights fade when she reaches the 'ancient' age of 30. Swedish actress, Jill Sorensen, is hilarious in her many desperate attempts to hold on to love and success. A funny and poignant story filled with great cameo appearances by Donald Trump, celebrity fashion models and comedy stars like Michael Showalter.

It has a 5.2 rating on IMDB but there isn't a single user rating for the movie or review. Furthermore, it's not even listed on Letterboxd, a social media app for logging movies. Does this movie actually exist? Why is Trump in it? If you've seen it please let us know because we are stumped.

21. All My Children

Once again this is another Trump clip which is very, very hard to track down but it was his first-ever television cameo. The long-running soap opera was on ABC from 1970 until 2011 and has over 1,500 appearances. Clearly, Trump's cameo didn't make much of an impression given its lack of prominence online and it would appear that Trump doesn't have much recollection of it either. This comes from Soap Opera Digest:

Candidly, this is what I remember about my appearance on All My Children. My driver pulled up at ABC, I dashed out of the car, and before I knew what happened, I was in the studio, standing in front of a camera and reading a line off a cue card. I shook hands with a few people, ran out the door, jumped back in my car, and I was gone. You have to remember, I’m a busy guy.

20. 54

1998's 54, about the notorious 1970s New York nightclub Studio 54 was a bit of a flop upon release despite having an impressive 90s cast including Ryan Philippe, Salma Hayek, Neve Campbell and Mike Myers.

However, it has since become a cult hit in its own right. That being said, Trump's involvement is minimal as he is listed in the credits as 'VIP Patron' and can be seen in the trailer entering the club. That being said, this might be a case of what Chris O'Donnell was referring to earlier as it's impossible to find Trump in the movie, leading us to think that his scene made it into the trailer but was left out of the final cut. His involvement in the film is accurate to real life, though. Back in the 70s, Trump was reportedly a regular at the party spot, despite him famously not indulging in drink or drugs. There was even a BBC Radio 4 documentary about Trump's time at Studio 54.

19. Across the Sea of Time

This is another odd inclusion in Trump's filmography. Across the Sea of Time is a 51-minute film IMAX 3D movie, kinda like those educational films about the ocean that you grandparents would take you to sea, except this one is about the wonders of New York City and migrants chasing the American dream. It focuses on a young Russian boy who is trying to retrace the steps of one of his relatives, who was reportedly a real-life person who took 3D photographs. This gives the movie an excuse to utilise this technique throughout the film but is hardly impressive. Think Martin Scorsese's Hugo but with none of the charm or love for cinema. Trump's inclusion here is pathetic. All it consists of is him going into a Broadway theatre but he's obscured by so many people that you could be forgiven for missing him. Barely a cameo at all.

18. Sex and the City

You would think that the trashy glamour and indulgence of wealth that Sex and The City liked to promote would be rife for Donald Trump. Unfortunately, his cameo in the 1999 season 2 episode 'The Man, the Myth, the Viagra' is completely forgettable. It might have actually been fun to see Samantha hook up with Trump but no, he can't even deliver us that. Sad.

17. Days of Our Lives

This is one of the more famous Donald Trump cameos and for all the wrong reasons. In the episode of the long-running soap opera set in the Midwestern town of Salem, which debuted in 1965, Trump plays himself while actor Arianne Zucker's character throws herself at him and suggests that she will do anything to get a job in his firm. It's a crass scene and portrays Trump as nothing more than the arrogant narcissist that we know today. The scene was later parodied to much funnier effect on Saturday Night Live. However, the episode has since become infamous as this is what Trump was talking about when he appeared on Access Hollywood with Billy Bush and made lewd comments about women. Zucker, who escorted both men to the set of the soap opera has since spoken out about her former co-star. In a tweet from October 2016, she wrote:

I am a strong, independent, hard working mother, business woman and partner to a great man. I have grown to learn that the words of others cannot effect the value of my self worth or define the content of my character. How we treat one another, whether behind closed doors, locker rooms or face to face, should be done with kindness, dignity and respect. Unfortunately, there are too many people in power who abuse their position and disregard these simple principles and are rewarded for it. In understanding the magnitude of this situation, I choose to stand tall with self respect and use my voice to enrich, inspire and elevate the best of who we are as people.

16. The Job

This is another stomach-churning scene starring Trump and does nothing for his reputation. The Job was a short-lived sitcom about a detective in New York who has an unconventional approach to fighting crime. In one episode he manages to punch well above his weight and lands a date with Elizabeth Hurley. Trump's cameo occurs when the two are on their date and Hurley, who is apparently a friend of Trump's beckons the real-estate tycoon over. After greeting Hurley and also leering over her, Trump turns to the lead and says:

Are you banging her? Are you?

Completely deplorable.

15. Ghost's Can't Do It

Let's just say this now, this is a woefully bad movie and probably the single worst thing that Trump was ever involved in beyond the White House. It stars Bo Derek, whose husband Anthony Quinn dies but is able to contact her from the afterlife and commands her to find a new younger husband who she should kill just so that he can possess him. It's a ridiculous premise and is only made worse by the shoddy filmmaking and laughably bad acting. Trump has two scenes as himself in this film, neither of them makes any sense and he gives some of the worst line readings you'll ever see. In an unsettling premonition, Derek says that she's noticed that Trump 'likes creating mischief' to which he says 'you've noticed'...shudder. In fact, he was so bad that he was awarded the 1990 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor (back when those awards still had some credibility) for his performance.

14. The Drew Carey Show

Drew Carey was a big star in America in the 1990s and his very own sitcom ran for nine seasons between 1995 and 2004 but didn't have the long-term appeal of Seinfeld or Friends. Trump's cameo took place on the season finale of the show's second season titled 'New York and Queens.' The scene isn't awful and nowhere near as bad as some of Trump's acting in his other roles but the portrayal of him is what rankles with us most here. Carey and his friends encounter Trump as he's walking down a street on his own, like a regular person. Trump then acts like a nice guy and gives the gang free tickets to watch the New York Yankees in his private box. Knowing everything that we now know about Trump, the likelihood of something like this actually happening is slim to none.

13. The Associate

Here we have one of three Whoopi Goldberg films that Trump has starred in. The Associate was not a prototype version of The Apprentice but actually a comedy about an investment banker who is trying to make a name for herself on Wall Street and was actually a remake of a 1979 French film of the same name. It wasn't a huge success on release but for once Trump didn't disgrace himself in front of the cameras. That's because he only had one line of dialogue and even he would struggle to screw that up. It's also rather amusing to see him struggle to get into a high-end New York restaurant.

12. Eddie

This is the second Whoopi Goldberg that Trump has starred in and it's another forgettable vehicle for the otherwise excellent Goldberg. It's a pretty straightforward fish-out-of-water comedy about a New York Knicks fan who is randomly selected to coach the NBA team. Once again there is not much to be said about this as it wasn't a huge success and Trump has a very minor cameo in a montage about Eddie's success as the coach and that's how we like Trump. Small, in bite-sized chunks and completely forgettable.

11. The Little Rascals

And this is the third Whoopi Goldberg films, albeit she only a cameo from her as well that being said it's one of the strangest cameos that Trump ever did. The Little Rascals is a bit of a cult children's film that is still a favourite to this day. Look for no further evidence of this than when it was actually a top Google Trend when Trump was running for the presidency in 2016. Trump stars as one of the 'Little Rascals' dad and that's about the gist of it. There's not much to say about the actual scene but the out-takes in the credits are gross as we actually see Trump spit out some popcorn, which appears to land on a man in front of him.

10. Night Man

If Night Man were still around today it would have probably been turned into a multi-million dollar superhero movie to try and rival the success of Marvel but sadly it is not fondly remembered and is unlikely to be turned into a film anytime soon. That being said, the show about a saxophonist who develops the powers to telepathically tune in to the frequency of evil, ran for two seasons and had 44 episodes overall. Trump's appearance is actually kinda great and unintentionally hilarious. A supervillain morphs into Trump before walking into a bank. The future president is woefully bad at acting but the short scene does plug his book The Art of the Deal.

9. The Nanny

Here is another mostly forgotten sitcom from the 90s that Trump made a cameo in and for once he's not completely terrible. The timing on the phone switch gag is actually pretty good and might be the funniest thing Trump has done. We say funniest but it's a pretty low bar.

8. Two Weeks Notice

Donald Trump and Hugh Grant shared screen time together? Yes, it does seem strange, given that Grant is now a defender of truth and democracy on social media but the pair did a brief scene together in the 2002 rom-com Two Weeks Notice that also starred Sandra Bullock. Once again, Trump's scene is very short and completely forgettable but it is made marginally better thanks to the enduring charm of Grant and his comically oversized tie.

7. Celebrity

This is one of the Woody Allen films that nobody talks about mostly because it's not very good. That being said it does have an impressive cast including Melanie Griffith, Kenneth Branagh, Winona Ryder, Judy Davis, Charlize Theron and Leonardo DiCaprio to name but a few. Trump's short cameo sees him play himself and is the same air brained real estate mogul that we all knew he was before he became president. Trump is spectacularly unfunny in this scene and we can't help but think that Allen was having a little pop at Trump here. Anyway, that's enough of praising Woody Allen...

6. Suddenly Susan

Another 90s sitcom that Trump made an appearance in was Suddenly Susan starring Brooke Shields as a San Francisco magazine writer. Trump had a few scenes in the season one episode that he appeared in and he's completely fine in them. The strangest thing about his appearance is that one scene also featured Kathy Griffin who is now a very, very prominent critic of the president who sparked controversy in 2017 when she posed with a bloodied, severed head that was made to resemble Trump. The backlash was so severe that Griffin lost a gig at CNN as a result. She later detailed the controversy that the image created in a YouTube video that she used for a stand up special that she released in 2018.

If all that wasn't strange enough the show also featured a magazine cover which asked if Trump was 'our next president?' We can't be sure if Trump remembers this but it now feels like an eerie premonition.

5. Spin City

After Back to the Future, Spin City is probably the role that Michael J. Fox is best known for. The sitcom about the deputy mayor of New York who constantly has to save the actual mayor from embarrassment and media scrutiny was very popular and ran for six seasons between 1997 and 2002. Trump appeared in episode 14, season 2 of the show and does ok for himself but the scene is carried along by Fox and Barry Bostwick, who plays the mayor in the program. At the time of this episode, Trump's friend Rudy Giuliani was the actual mayor of New York. We'd be fascinated to learn if Trump gave him any tips from Spin City about how to do his job.

4. Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

We're moving into the upper echelon on Trump's cameos (as they are probably the only three that anyone remembers). Trump appeared in season 4, episode 25 of the beloved sitcom and was part of a storyline where the Banks household was potentially going to be purchased by Trump as one of his relatives had once lived there. It soon turned out that wasn't the case and Trump was on his way but not before he'd had the chance to interact with Will, Carlton and co. The best part is when Ashley tells Trump that he had 'ruined her life.' We'd wager that she wouldn't be the only one in line saying that now.

On a side note, the AV Club reported in 2018, that this episode and Trump's appearance in The Little Rascals still earn a few thousand dollars a year, thanks to studio royalties. So, that's why Trump made some of these cameos...

3. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

This is undoubtedly Trump's most famous cameo as everybody of a certain age grew up with the Home Alone films. At the time many of us probably didn't know or care who the man that Macaulay Culkin had asked for directions from but nearly 30 years later the appearance of the former president has almost tainted the movie for some, which might be a bit of an overaction as we are talking about seven seconds of a two-hour film.

Culkin has said that he isn't a fan of Trump's cameo in the film. During a 2018, Reddit AMA , the star said:

The first one was more fun because we didn’t know what we were walking into and it was a lot less flying all over the place. It was all in Chicago. It also had 100% less Donald Trump.

That being said, Home Alone 2 is not as universally liked as its predecessor and Trump's cameo is one of the few things that people remember so you could consider that a win for the POTUS.

2. Zoolander

Some might question why Zoolander is ahead of Home Alone 2 and they'd have every right to.

The Home Alone 2 cameo is more well known but there is something about Trump's brief appearance at the start of Zoolander which really sums up that entire period of the early 2000s. Perhaps its the frantic music-video esque editing of the intro or Trump's odd placing alongside fashion icons likes Victoria Beckham and Tom Ford at the VH1 Fashion Awards, which makes it so odd. Don't forget that Melania is there too back when they were still dating.

Director and star, Ben Stiller has since revealed that he was asked by passionate fans of the film to edit Trump out of this scene but refused, citing the many inane cameos that Trump made around this period as a reason for including it. Talking to The Daily Beast earlier this year, he said:

I’ve had people reach out to me and say, you should edit Donald Trump out of ‘Zoolander' but at the end of the day, that was a time when that exists and that happened. There were so many movies [back then] that had a silly cameo from Donald Trump. He represented a certain thing.

1. WWE

Trump association with WWE and his friendship with owner Vince McMahon, stretches back to the 1980s when the wrestling company used the Trump Plaza to host two Wrestlemania events in 1988 and 1989. Trump didn't appear on WWE television again until 2004 when he was interviewed by former wrestler and former governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, who Trump offers his political support to (we'd bet that wouldn't happen today, given that Ventura is a vocal critic of the president). Trump's most prominent run with the company was in 2007 when he entered into an on-screen feud with McMahon.

This is the closest that Trump had even got to the version of himself seen on The Apprentice and in all fairness, he revelled in the spotlight. As the good guy of the feud, Trump upstaged McMahon by showering fans with money and aligned himself with fan favourite Bobby Lashley. This culminated in the 'Battle of the Billionaires' at Wrestlemania 23 where both men were in the corners of their respective wrestlers and the loser would have to get his head saved in front of thousands of fans. McMahon was the loser and would be bald by the end of that night but the explosive moment where Trump tookdown his opponent and rained down blows upon has almost transcended everything that came before and after, becoming a meme for the president for him and his supporters to use to mock others. What many don't mention is that Trump was a victim of a 'Stone Cold Stunner' after the match.

Trump would make two more appearances in WWE. In June 2009, he 'brought' the Monday Night Raw show from McMahon, only for McMahon to buy it back almost immediately in a rather rushed and ill-conceived storyline. Then in 2013, Trump was inducted in the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame over the weekend of Wrestlemania 29, where he was booed by fans at the MetLife stadium in New Jersey. Incidentally, Drew Carey a celebrity mentioned earlier on this list is also a member of the WWE Hall of Fame and few wrestling fans would argue that Trump was actually more deserving of his induction.

In many ways, WWE served as the platform for the version of Trump that we see now. The president uses the theatricality and pomp of wrestling for his rallies and speeches, running down his opponents and insulting them as if he was building up to a big match. He's a larger-than-life character, who doesn't play by the rules and doesn't care who he hurts along the way. He's a wrestler but with a MAGA hat instead of spandex. Trump has truly turned politics into sports entertainment and for better or worse his involvement in WWE made him a bigger star than any meaningless cameo in a movie or television show ever could.

Whether Trump returns to the world of acting once his presidency is over remains to be seen but we'd guess that he probably won't need to as he'll be inundated with interviews and key speaker spots. If he should fancy a turn in front of the movie cameras then we'd be confident that he'd wind up in better and more high profile feature films and shows that this sorry list. The only thing that would be holding him back is his own reputation.

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