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Facts We Just Learned About Jesse Ventura

Updated August 23, 2021 5.8k votes 1.1k voters 64.1k views10 items

List RulesVote up the most interesting facts about Jesse Ventura.

To say Jesse Ventura has had an interesting life would be an understatement. From soldier to pro wrestler to film actor to mayor of Brooklyn Park to governor of Minnesota, he's got about as multidimensional a resume as one could imagine. His machismo-drenched performance in the sci-fi/action hit Predator gave us classic lines like "I ain't got time to bleed" (which is also the title of a book by Ventura) and "Old Painless is waiting," while his political career established him as an iconoclast not beholden to either of the two major parties.

It's not surprising Ventura has picked up some lesser-known, but still interesting, experiences along the way. Here's a grab bag of surprising Jesse Ventura facts that might fill out your understanding of the one-of-a-kind fellow.

Photo:
  • Photo: Minnesota Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    1

    As Governor Of Minnesota, He Refused To Return A Civil War Flag To Virginia

    From Redditor u/turboPocky:

    TIL During the Battle of Gettysburg (1863) Minnesota soldiers captured a Virginia... flag and returned it to Minnesota. Virginia has continuously asked for it back, prompting then [Minnesota] Gov. Jesse Ventura to say, “Why? We won... We took it. That makes it our heritage.”

    Context: On the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg, the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment made a valiant charge to protect the center of the Union line from Gen. James Longstreet's rebel forces. It was a desperate gambit to buy just a few minutes for the line to be reinforced, and it worked - but at a terrible cost. The unit suffered over 50% casualties. Nonetheless, they were ready to fight the next day. In this second engagement, Pvt. Marshall Sherman was able to seize the colors of the 28th Virginia Infantry, an act for which he was given the Medal of Honor. The flag remains in Minnesota to this day.

    For decades, Virginia has requested the flag be returned, and Minnesota has repeatedly refused. In 2000, it was Gov. Ventura's job to make that denial.

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  • 2

    He Once Taught At Harvard

    From Redditor u/leprecan61:

    TIL Governor Jesse Ventura taught at Harvard University.

    Context: Ventura is a fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics. In 2004 he began teaching a series of seminars to Kennedy School students. In an interview with The Harvard Crimson, Ventura admitted that "it is sort of an ego trip. I only went to high school and now I have the opportunity to teach at Harvard. Only in America."

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  • Photo: Saturday Night's Main Event / WWE
    3

    He Tried To Unionize Pro Wrestling

    From Redditor u/joe727:

    TIL In 1986 Jesse "The Body" Ventura attempted to unionize the pro wrestling industry; it was promptly shut down after Hulk Hogan informed WWE chairman Vince McMahon.

    Context: The WWE (formerly WWF) has long been criticized for its unfair treatment of wrestlers, who are denied employee status and considered "independent contractors" even though they are exclusively signed to the WWE. Ventura has repeatedly railed against the WWE's practices. In one interview, he said, "I can't figure out how [Vince McMahon] gets away with the federal government - in fact, he's lucky I didn't become a US senator. I would have started a senatorial investigation over it. [The wrestlers] are not independent contractors by any stretch of the imagination."

    Back in 1986, before WrestleMania 2, Ventura gave a speech to rally his fellow wrestlers, urging them to unionize at that moment. Nothing came of it, and McMahon threatened to fire Ventura, who backed down but increasingly focused on other career opportunities. In 1990, Ventura and the WWF parted ways.

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  • Photo: Predator / 20th Century Fox
    4

    Arnold Schwarzenegger Tricked Him In A Contest Of Biceps Size

    From Redditor u/Da-Jesus:

    TIL Arnold Schwarzenegger secretly tricked Jesse Ventura into thinking he had bigger biceps so that he could get him to bet a bottle of Champagne when they measured.

    Context: As recounted in a behind-the-scenes video from Predator, Ventura bragged that his arm was 1 inch bigger than co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger's, according to a wardrobe measurement. Schwarzenegger said the whole thing was a ruse that he set up. "I told the wardrobe department they should tell him that," Schwarzenegger said, "so I can bet him a bottle of Champagne afterwards when he comes to the gym." According to Schwarzenegger, he won the Champagne after the second measurement showed his arm to be 3 inches bigger than Ventura's.

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