H(enry). Ross Perot has big ears, a crazy Texas drawl, and twice ran for President of the United States as an independent in 1992 and 1996. He carried 19% of the vote and did better than any 3rd party candidate since Theodore Roosevelt, but his crazy antics (dropping out and dropping back in, his penchant for charts, buying infomercials to sell himself, patronizingly addressing the NAACP as "you people", and something about his daughter's wedding) made him more of a punch line in the end. He did not win any states or electoral votes (best showing: 30% in Maine, where he came in second.)
On the other hand, many think that he acted as a spoiler, costing Bush the election. He contends that his support came evenly from Democrats and Republicans, and that this is proved by Bill Clinton's cooptation of Perot's biggest issue, the deficit.
Perot became a billionaire through the businesses he founded, Electronic Data Systems (later sold to General Motors) and Perot Systems (later sold to Dell). In 1979 he sponsored the rescue of two of his EDS employees imprisoned in Iran after the Iranian Revolution. This rescue was the subject of a book and 1986 TV miniseries, On Wings of Eagles. He also went on to political activism during the 1980s supporting "no pass, no play" in his home state of Texas (school athletes must have passing grades to play team sports), and entering into back-channel negotiations with the Vietnamese government and publicly disputing with the first Bush administration on Perot's belief that Vietnam was still holding U.S. prisoners of war. Thus by the time he ran for President in 1992 he was already well known.
Perot was a critic of the first Gulf War, opposed NAFTA, supported term limits, and, especially, centered his campaign around balancing the federal budget and paying down the national debt. These issues endeared him to a significant segment of the electorate who felt their views were being marginalized by both major party nominees.
He went on to found United We Stand America in 1993, which became the genesis of the Reform Party, officially launched in 1995. He ran for President again in 1996 and did less well, still carrying about 9% of the nationwide vote. The brief subsequent successes of the Reform Party, most notably Jesse Ventura's election in 1998 as governor of Minnesota and the attraction of high-profile candidates like Colorado's former Democratic governor Richard Lamm, only led to disputes with Perot. This led many to conclude Perot was more interested in the party only being a vehicle for his presidential ambitions, rather than building a new major party. By 2000 it seems he had enough of the infighting within the Reform Party and the impending nomination of Patrick Buchanan as their 2000 nominee: he left the party and endorsed George W. Bush. Not much has been heard from him since.