Fred Thompson passed away this Sunday at age 73. The 6’6’’ Tennessee lawyer led an exciting career that took him back and forth between the silver screen and Congress. With his signature booming voice, Thompson scored roles in over 20 movies and is known for portraying the character Arthur Branch in the popular TV drama Law and Order.
Thompson spent the majority of his life alternating between politics and acting. He was elected to the US Senate in 1994, filling the spot of then-Vice President Al Gore. Thompson remained a senator until 2003. The Tennessee lawmaker was a member of several committees during his time in the Senate; he also served as chairman of the International Security Board at the US Department of State.
After much speculation, Fred Thompson decided to run for President of the United States. He announced his decision during an episode of The Tonight Show in July 2007. Endorsed by several Pro Life organizations, he managed to climb to third or fourth place in the polls before eventually withdrawing from the race in January 2008. A man of many hats, Thompson also worked as a columnist, lobbyist, radio host, and Watergate attorney.
Thompson was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in 2004, but suffered virtually no effects from this rare form of cancer. He passed away yesterday in Nashville after a recurrence of the disease. The Thompson family issued a touching statement after the death of their beloved brother, father, husband, and grandfather, which in part reads:
“Fred once said that the experiences he had growing up in small-town Tennessee formed the prism through which he viewed the world and shaped the way he dealt with life. Fred stood on principle and common sense, and had a deep love for and connection with the people across Tennessee whom he had the privilege to serve in the United States Senate. He enjoyed a hearty laugh, a strong handshake, a good cigar, and a healthy dose of humility. Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home.”