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Professional Wrestler, Governor of Minnesota
His political bumper stickers and T-shirts read, "My governor can beat up your governor." Jesse Ventura is not just any American politician. Retired professional wrestler, actor, former radio and television talk show host, former co-holder of the AWA World tag team title and 2-time AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion, Jesse Ventura had a long and often flamboyant history in the public eye, even before he became the 38th Governor of Minnesota.
Jesse Ventura's stellar career began with service to his country, as a member of the US Navy, where Ventura was awarded the National Defense Service Medal.
Ventura joined the Navy after high school and was on active duty during the Vietnam era. He served in the US military for a total of six years - four on active duty (1969-1973), and two in the Reserves (1973-1975) with the Navy UDT - Underwater Demolition Team 12. In the Naval Reserves, Ventura was assigned to SEAL Team One. He would later describe SEAL training as the toughest experience of his life. Ventura is still entitled to use the title of Navy "SEAL," for his service in the UDT and SEAL teams, and his successful graduation from UDT.
After being discharged from the Navy in the mid 1970s, Ventura attended North Hennepin Community College. It was then that Jesse began weightlifting and wrestling, and around this time that he briefly served as a bodyguard for The Rolling Stones.
For his budding career as a wrestler, Ventura created the stage name Jesse "The Body" Ventura and performed as a villain. In 1975, he wrestled for promoter Don Owen. He won the Pacific Northwest Wrestling title twice and the tag team title six times. Ventura and Adrian Adonis later teamed as the "East-West Connection" and, in 1980, won the AWA World Tag Team Championship. Although the wrestling duo was unable to capture the WWF Tag Team Championship, both Adonis and Ventura became title contenders.
Jesse "The Body" Ventura continued to wrestle until began doing commentary on television, first for "All-Star Wrestling," and later "Superstars of Wrestling." He hosted his own talk segment on the WWF's "Superstars of Wrestling" called "The Body Shop," and did color commentary on radio for a few National Football League teams. Ventura also did commentary for World Championship Wrestling from 1992-94.
Ventura ran for Governor of Minnesota in 1998 as the nominee for the Reform Party of Minnesota. He won the election in November 1998, defeating the major-party candidates. During his term as Governor of Minnesota in 1999, Ventura wrestled a few different careers, even appearing on WWE television as special guest referee.
In his political career, Ventura wanted to be known as "Jesse 'The Mind" rather than Jesse "The Body" Ventura. But in an adaptation of his former stage name, he became known as "Jesse 'The Governing Body'."
During his tenure as Governor, Ventura supported property tax reform, gay rights, and abortion rights. Additionally, Ventura supported the use of medicinal marijuana, advocated a higher role for third parties in national politics, and favored the concept of instant-runoff voting.
Ventura's acting career included appearances in the movies Predator, Abraxas/Guardian of the Universe, The Running Man, Demolition Man, Repossessed, Ricochet, The Master of Disguise and Batman & Robin. Ventura also made an appearance in Major League 2, and as a self help guru in The Ringer. Ventura also had a cameo in a TV episode of The X-Files." In 2008, Ventura starred as a high school shop teacher in the independent comedy film, Woodshop.
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