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Jesse Ventura | Top 10 actors turned politician

Former wrestler and Governor of Minnesota.

Jesse Ventura, born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was briefly a bodyguard for The Rolling Stones before making his debut as a potential wrestler under the name Jesse "The Body" Ventura in 1975. During his pro-wrestling career, he competed for several world titles, and stated that his motto was "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!".

His wrestling career came to an end in 1981 due to blood clots in his lungs that he claims were the result of exposure to Agent Orange during his military service in Vietnam. He then went on to become a wrestling commentator for various networks before running for mayor in Brooklyn Park Minnesota in 1990. He defeated the 18 year incumbent and served from 1991 to 1995.

In 1998, he ran for Governor of Minnesota as a Reform Party and later Independent candidate. He narrowly defeated the Democratic and Republican candidates and served as Governor until 2003, when he declined to seek a second term, citing media intrusion on his family's privacy. His tenure was marked by a large number of gubernatorial vetoes, as he did not have a party base in the state legislature, which made it difficult for him to introduce his own bills.

Since his governorship, he has hosted his own television show on MSNBC, but remained active on the stage, publically endorsing John Kerry for President in 2004 and speaking at a 2008 rally for Republican candidate Ron Paul, where he hinted at a possible Presdiential bid in 2012.

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Caroline Crampton is assistant editor of the New Statesman. She writes a weekly podcast column.