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Former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura went on to a career in acting and politics, becoming the governor of Minnesota.
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Born James George Janos on July 15, 1951, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jesse Ventura went on to find success and fame in the worlds of professional wrestling, acting, and politics.
Born James George Janos, on July 15, 1951, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His father, George, worked for the city of Minneapolis as a steam fitter, while his mother, Bernice, was a nurse in a local hospital. After graduating from high school in 1969, James Janos enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was accepted into the elite Navy SEALs program. In 1970, Janos completed the SEALs training program and was sent to Vietnam. During his service in Vietnam, he made over 100 parachute jumps as well as many deep-sea dives. He was honorably discharged in 1973 and settled for a brief time in California, where he joined a motorcycle gang and worked as a bodyguard for the Rolling Stones.
Janos returned to Minneapolis in 1975 and enrolled in a community college, but he dropped out after one year. During that year, he accelerated his weight training program and began to work seriously on his already large—6'4," over 200 pound-physique. A wrestling promoter spotted Janos and offered him a job wrestling in the Central States division (at that time professional wrestling in the United States was organized strictly into regions). His stage persona was the California surfer-type Jesse "the Body" Ventura—"bad guy" in big sunglasses and bright pink tights.
During Ventura's ten years on the pro wrestling circuit, he was part of the American Wrestling Association as well as the World Wrestling Federation. While he was never considered the most talented wrestler, he won fans with his charisma and his outspoken style. These qualities led to a steady gig as a color commentator for the WWF in 1985. Ventura cut back on his wrestling schedule, then quit completely in 1986 when doctors discovered he had a pulmonary embolism. His success as a commentator led to several movie roles, including a part in the 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Predator and a starring role in the B-movie Abraxas, Guardian of the Universe (1991).
In 1990, Ventura became upset by what he perceived to be an ineffective local government in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, where he was living with his wife, Terry, and two children, Tyrel and Jade. At Terry's urging, Ventura decided to run for mayor as an independent candidate. That November he shocked skeptics and scored an upset victory over the 18-year incumbent, becoming mayor of Brooklyn Park. Though conflict with the Democratic and Republican council members prevented Ventura from accomplishing much significant legislation, the town's crime rate dropped and citizen interest in local government grew during his four-year term.
Ventura decided not to seek reelection and instead continued his career as a commentator, this time for the WWF's rival, World Championship Wrestling.
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