“Fred Thompson, 73, an actor and former U.S. senator from Tennessee with a booming, instantly recognizable voice and heavy-lidded eyes, died Sunday in Nashville,” reports the Los Angeles Times, adding, “In a statement, his family said he had a recurrence of lymphoma.”
He was best known for his portrayal of Dist. Atty. Arthur Branch on NBC’s “Law & Order” from 2002 to 2007.
One fact we did not know about Thompson until we read the L.A. Times obituary was this: “While Thompson had a down-home persona, he was also a sophisticated attorney and Beltway insider who immersed himself in politics. In Washington, he served as minority counsel for the Senate Watergate hearings in 1973 and 1974. It was under Thompson’s questioning that former White House aide Alexander Butterfield revealed the fateful existence of a taping system in the Oval Office.”
According to NBC News, Thompson “parlayed his fame as a key investigator of the Watergate scandal into a TV and movie career before he was elected to finish the Senate term of Al Gore of Tennessee, who vacated the seat when he became vice president. Thompson, a Republican, was elected to the seat in his own right in 1996. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.”