Ross Perot, the former two-time candidate for president of the United States, has died at the age of 89.
In a statement, Perot’s asset management company said that the Texas-born businessman had died on July 9th, “surrounded by his family.” The statement refers to Perot as a “true patriot and humanitarian.” The family has asked that instead of flowers, those wishing to pay tribute to Perot should donate to one of his favorite charities. That list can be found here.
Perot, a self-made billionaire, ran twice for the presidency, in 1992, as an independent, and again in 1996 as the Reform Party candidate.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Perot Gained Nearly 20 Million Votes in the 1992 Presidential Election
Perot became a pop culture icon during the 1992 presidential campaign when he launched an independent run for the White House. Despite losing to President Bill Clinton, Perot did gain close to 19 percent of the popular vote. That amounted to close to 20 million votes. Those votes were not enough for Perot to win any electoral college votes as Clinton defeated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Perot did get to share the debate stage with the candidates
famously quipping after remarks were made about his lack of political coverage, “I don’t have any experience in running up a $4 trillion debt. I don’t have any experience in gridlock government, where nobody takes responsibility for anything and everybody blames everybody else.”
In 1996, Perot did not fare as well but still gained 8.4 percent of the popular vote, amounting to just over eight million votes.
Following the 1996 election, Perot was largely absent from politics. In 2008 and 2012, Perot endorsed Mitt Romney for president. He did not endorse a candidate in the 2016 election.
2. Ross Perot’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death Was $4.1 Billion
According to Forbes, Perot’s net worth at the time of his death was $4.1 billion. That made him the 167th richest person in the United States. Perot’s Forbes listing includes the late billionaire’s quote, “The world wants things done, not excuses. One thing done well is worth a million good excuses.”
Perot’s business career began after he left the U.S. Navy in 1957. He first went to work for IBM as a salesman, legend says that he fulfilled his sales quota for the year in two weeks. Perot left IBM in 1962 to form Electronic Data Systems, a company processed computer data. Among the company’s first big contracts was a U.S. government contract to process Medicare information. A controlling share in Perot’s company was bought by General Motors in 1984 for $2.4 billion.
3. During His Political Career, Dana Carvey’s Impression of Perot Became a Staple of ‘Saturday Night Live’
Among the reasons for Perot’s status as a pop culture icon was Dana Carvey’s legendary impression of the candidate. In 2016, Thrillist named Carvey’s Perot imitation as the ninth best political impression in the history of “Saturday Night Live.” Carvey’s performance as George H.W. Bush from the same era was voted as number five.
Rolling Stone magazine once referred to Carvey’s portrayal of Perot’s as being “part strict grandfather, part carnival barker and 100-percent loose cannon – a motor-mouthed munchkin who talked loud and said folsky-cutesy nothings, prone to dominating the conversation by constantly reiterating that he was never allowed to complete a sentence (“Can I finish? Can I finish?”).”
4. Perot Is Survived by His Wife & 5 Children
Perot is survived by his wife, Margot Birmingham, and their five children, Ross Jr., Nancy, Suzanne, Carolyn and Katherine. In addition, Perot had 16 grandchildren. The couple married in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1958. Perot had been able to establish Electronic Data Systems following a $1,000 loan from his wife.
5. In 2016, Perot Called His Home in Texarkana the ‘Center of the Universe’
In 2016, Perot called his home in Texarkana, Texas, “The center of the universe.” Pero made those remarks during a ceremony when he was honored by his alma-mater, Texarkana College. Perot attended the school between 1948 and 1949. Perot closed his speech in the ceremony, “The one thing I am certainly sure of is that things will never go still here, you’ll be moving moving moving at all times.”