In the Spotlight

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Restless Jesse
By Mark Zdechlik
June 14, 2000
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Governor Jesse Ventura dabbled in daytime drama, taping an upcoming episode of the The Young and the Restless. Ventura says the CBS soap has long been a favorite of his. He says he had a wonderful time acting in Los Angeles and he hinted acting is what he'd like to concentrate on when he's finished with politics.

Stories, audio, and pictures of Governor Ventura's California tour are available on MPR's Jesse in Californiasection.

MORE THAN A DOZEN television crews along with a battery of print reporters flooded CBS studios for Governor Ventura's soap-opera taping. On the way on to the set, Ventura suggested he was not quite prepared.

The Young and the Restless is normally shot on a closed set, but hoping to capitalize on the potential publicity, CBS escorted groups of reporters in and out during the taping.

Ventura spent about an hour and a half on his four scenes.

The governor appeared as himself, barging into the office of Victor Newman, the show's ruthless business mogul, who turns out to be an old friend of the governor's. It's revealed that Newman helped get Ventura elected Minnesota governor by providing him information about another candidate.

Jesse tells the business tycoon he's stopped by only to say "hello." But when pressed on his ulterior motive, Ventura opens up the possibility of running for president in four years and asks the tycoon to join his ticket.

Gov. Ventura (left) talks with actor Eric Braeden on the set of The Young and the Restless Click for larger image.
Ventura leaves Newman's office and, ultimately, the soap's audience veiled in uncertainly over his political future.

It was not Ventura's first acting gig. He's taken part in 11 films, not to mention his professional wrestling career. Still, he says the bright lights were a bit nerve-raking initially. Ventura says The Young and the Restless has been a favorite of his and his wife's for years.

"To me, every good actor always has some butterflies," says Ventura. "You want to give the best performance that you can give and if you feel that way about yourself, there's always a little tension that you want to do the best job that you're capable of doing."

On the set in the drama, Ventura tells his soap-star tycoon-friend he's "just trying to earn a living, and the politics is very rewarding."

"I have a right to a private life."

- Governor Ventura
In real life, the governor is once again under fire for his out-of-state travel and extra-gubernatorial, for-profit enterprises. CBS says the governor made union scale for his appearance - about $700, money Ventura plans to donate to a scholarship fund he established for students from his south Minneapolis high school.

As for the criticism of his traveling, much of which comes in written news releases from a group called the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, Ventura says so far his travel budget has been coming in below that of the previous governor, Arne Carlson. And, Ventura says, he has every right to earn outside income.

"I'm entitled to a private life," Ventura said. "I'm entitled to do other things than governing 24 hours a day. I think if they could focus on Minnesota more instead of me, we could be more productive."

Ventura will be back before the cameras when he appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.