Billionaire, two-time presidential candidate Ross Perot dies at 89

Presidential hopeful H. Ross Perot speaks at a rally in Austin Texas in this 1992 file

Ross Perot, the colorful, self-made billionaire from Texas who launched two unsuccessful presidential bids as a third-party candidate, has died.

Young Perot's first job was delivering papers in a poor, mostly black part of town from his pony, Miss Bee.

Barely three months after that now famous night of February 20, 1992, when he first announced his willingness on CNN's Larry King Live! to run for President, the Dallas billionaire had ridden to the top of the polls by preaching his gospel of tough love - tax hikes, budget cuts and all-around fiscal discipline.

In 1992, Perot earned 19% of the popular vote as an independent presidential candidate.

When two of his employees were jailed in Iran in 1979 over a contract dispute - just before the Islamic revolution - he financed a private commando rescue in a raid that inspired a book and a film.

Perot's was truly a grassroots campaign.

He was known for his catchphrase the "giant sucking sound", referring to American jobs that would head to Mexico because of NAFTA.

Henry Ross Perot was born on June 27, 1930, in Texarkana, Texas, and raised in the height of the Depression.

"In business and in life, Ross was a man of integrity and action", said Perot family representative James Fuller. From 1947 to 1949, he attended Texarkana Junior College, then entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949 and helped establish its honor system. EDS went public in 1968 and the stock price rose from $16 a share to $160 within days. General Motors ultimately bought a controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion. In 1988 he founded Perot Systems Corporation Plano.

Perot's fortune was estimated at $4.1 billion by Forbes magazine in April 2019.

It was during the Nixon administration that Perot became involved in the issue of USA prisoners of war in Southeast Asia. A self-made billionaire with a penchant for plain-speaking in his clipped north Texas twang, he built a reputation as a savvy technology entrepreneur and spent a small fortune helping United States veterans and attempting to free American hostages overseas.

"Describe my father?" Ross Perot Jr., his only son and CEO of the Perot Group told the Dallas News.

Perot received a special award from the VA for his support of veterans and the military in 2009. He was blunt and assertive and his success in business made him accustomed to getting his way. His personal office was dominated by large paintings of his wife and five children and bronze sculptures by Frederic Remington.

In Texas, Perot led commissions on education reform and crime.

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