Fred Thompson: Ex-US senator and film actor dies

Fred Thompson: Ex-US senator and film actor dies

Fred Thompson: Ex-US senator and film actor dies

Written by Staff Writer

02 Nov, 2015 | 10:01 am

Former US senator Fred Thompson – who mounted an unsuccessful bid for the presidency as well as acting in films and TV – has died at the age of 73.

His family said he had been suffering from lymphoma.

Mr Thompson had various film roles and starred in the TV series Law & Order. As a lawyer, he served as chief Republican counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee that investigated President Richard Nixon.

The former senator – his last term ended in 2003 – was known for his straight-talking style and booming voice.

“Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of … his home,” his family said in a statement.

He ran for the Republican presidential nomination in the 2008 election but dropped out after failing to gain enough support.

The son of a used car salesman first achieved fame as a young lawyer for a Senate committee during the Watergate hearings in the 1970s.

His questioning of former Nixon aide Alexander Butterfield uncovered the president’s secret tape recording system.

He asked the vital question: “Mr Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?”

The lawyer’s acting career began when he was asked to read for a film part based on one of his high-profile cases.

He ended up playing himself in the 1985 film Marie, starring Sissy Spacek and Morgan Freeman.

Directors frequently turned to him to portray government power and he had roles as White House chief of staff, CIA director, FBI agent, rear admiral and senator.


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