Fred Dalton Thompson
Fred Thompson, was born on August 19, 1942 in Sheffield, Alabama to a fairly affluent family. However, he grew up in Tennessee, attending such universities as Memphis State (where he earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science) and Vanderbilt (where he earned his Juris Doctor degree). Thompson began to practice law in 1967, moved up to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney between 1969 and 1972, and eventually led to 1973 when he served as co-chief counsel for the Senate Watergate Committee. Thompson was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 8, 1994 in order to fill the seat of Al Gore, who resigned from the office. His term in the senate ended on January 3, 2003. He was most recently asked by President George W. Bush to assist Supreme Court nominee John Roberts through the confirmation hearings.
Thompson's acting career began in 1985 when he was cast as playing himself in Marie, a film about how he helped topple the corrupt Tennessee Democrat governor Ray Blanton. Producers supposedly couldn't find anyone to play him as well as he could play himself. Thompson went on to appear in several films over the years, including Hunt for the Red October, Cape Fear and Die Hard 2. In 2002, he took on the role of District Attorney Arthur Branch for the Law & Order series, a move which added him to the core cast of the "Order" side of the series. Branch continues to appear on the series, as well as in various episodes of its spinoffs.
In 2007, Thompson asked Law & Order executive producer Dick Wolf to release him from his contract, effectively ending his television career in order to pursue the possibility of becoming a Republican presidential candidate for the election in 2008. Thompson ran briefly and was a popular candidate in southern states like Tennessee, but was ultimately defeated by John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.
Thompson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a type of cancer affecting white blood cells, in 2004 but went into remission in 2007 following treatment. Following a recurrence of the disease, Thompson died on November 1, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee at age 73.
| Law & Order
(credited as Fred Dalton Thompson)
|Law & Order: Trial by Jury||Arthur Branch||2005||1|
Guest Starring Roles
Specials and Made-for-TV Movies
|Unholy Matrimony||Frank Sweeny||October 3, 1988|
|Bed of Lies||Richard "Racehorse" Haynes||January 20, 1992|
|Stay the Night||Det. Malone||April 26, 1992|
|Day-O||Frank DeGeorgio||May 3, 1992|
|Keep the Change||Otis||June 9, 1992|
|Barbarians at the Gate||Jim Robinson||March 20, 1993|
|Watergate Plus 30: Shadow of History||Himself||2003|
|Evel Knievel||Jay Sarno||July 30, 2004|
Talk Show Appearances
|Dennis Miller Live||Reducing Government||July 7, 2000|
|Hannity & Colmes||3/25/2004||March 25, 2004|
|Meet the Press||5/29/2005||May 29, 2005|
|Hannity & Colmes||7/6/2005||July 6, 2005|
|Meet the Press||7/24/2005||July 24, 2005|
|This Week||7/2/2006||July 2, 2006|
Awards and Accolades
- Nominated: Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2004)
- Thompson was the first standing senator to take on a full time acting job in addition to his duties on the senate.