Fred Thompson Has Died & The Politician-Turned-Actor Will Be Remembered For His Many Accomplishments

Former senator of Tennessee and actor known for his work on Law & Order Fred Thompson died Sunday at the age of 73. According to a statement from Thompson's family, he died after a resurgence of lymphoma. His family wrote, "Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home." And with Thompson's multifaceted work across the realms of acting and local and national politics, his accomplishments in those very different arenas shone as well.

Thompson went back and forth between politics and acting, enjoying a bit of both worlds depending on what he was feeling that year. The attorney, not only served for eight years as a senator of the state in which he grew up, but he also ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2008. When it came to acting, too, he didn't just perform in Law & Order, playing Arthur Branch for years, but he also had roles on the big screen, including in The Hunt for Red October, Cape Fear, and Die Hard 2. Most recently, after his unsuccessful presidential bid, Thompson had a role in 2012's Sinister and NBC's Allegiance TV show in 2015.


According to The Tennesseean, Thompson grew up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. He married his first wife at 17, the same age he realized he wanted to be a lawyer. Thompson graduated with a degree in law from Vanderbilt in 1967, worked as an attorney, and eventually worked closely with Sen. Howard Baker. This series of events led Thompson to play a huge role in the Watergate investigation of President Nixon. Thompson was the counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee investigation, and he asked a White House aide if he was "aware of he installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president." The Tennesseean reports that this one question and the answer eventually led to Nixon's resignation.

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Thompson married his second wife, Jeri, in 2002. A New York Magazine feature of Thompson reported that it was Jeri, a former spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, who encouraged him to run for president in 2008. He led the polls for a while, before dropping to third and fourth place, and eventually withdrawing. Thompson leaves behind his wife, their two children, and his children from his first marriage.

The statement from Thompson's family was a sweet sentiment honoring the "brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville." They wrote:

Fred believed that the greatness of our nation was defined by the hard work, faith, and honesty of its people. He had an enduring belief in the exceptionalism of our country, and that America could provide the opportunity for any boy or girl, in any corner of our country, to succeed in life.