Fred Thompson was an American politician, a columnist, a lobbyist, and an attorney famous for his versatility and expertise in multiple fields. He had also achieved success as a television and film actor, along with hosting live on radio. Being a Republican, he served his nation by actively representing Tennessee (1994-2003) in the United States Senate. He had fulfilled his duties as a Chairman of the prestigious International Security Advisory Board as well, working under the United States Department of State. Moreover, he also served as a dedicated member of the Council on Foreign Relations and as a member of the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. His presence as a Visiting Fellow for the American Enterprise Institute was greatly appreciated owing to his in-depth knowledge of national security and intelligence. He had been featured in many television commercials over the years and had a special knack for representing governmental figures in the various television shows he has worked for. Indeed, Fred Thompson is remembered for leading a rather unusual life with respect to his career as he kept shuttling between the entertainment industry and national politics! His charismatic personality and multi-talented nature received a lot of praise and contributed to his becoming a notable figure in American history.
- Fred Dalton Thompson was born to Fletcher Thompson and Ruth Inez on 19 August 1942 in Sheffield, Alabama. His father was an automobile salesman by profession and Fred was of both English and Dutch ancestry.He completed his schooling from the Lawrence County High School which was located in the Lawrenceburg region, in Tennessee. Quite athletic by nature, he loved playing football in high school.Later on, in the year 1964, he earned a double degree in philosophy and political science from the Memphis State University.A brilliant student, he won scholarships to both the Vanderbilt University and the Tulane University law schools, and chose the former. In 1967, he earned the degree of Juris Doctor or J.D. from the Vanderbilt Law School.Career
- In 1967, Fred Thompson got admitted to the State Bar of Tennessee and worked as an assistant U.S. attorney during the period 1969-1972. His area of specialization was bank robberies.In 1972, he worked as a campaign manager for Howard Baker’s (Republican Senator in U.S.) reelection campaign. Additionally, he was a part of the Minority Counsel for the investigation of the infamous Watergate Scandal (1973-1974), working under the Senate Watergate Committee.During the 1980s, he engaged himself as an attorney dealing with personal injury claims and white collar crimes, in the law offices in Washington D.C. and Nashville. In 1980-1981, he was part of the Special Counsel of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.He was also a part of the Special Counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee during the year 1982. From 1985–1987, he served as a Member of the Appellate Court Nominating Commission for the State of Tennessee as well.A multi-faceted personality, he also thrived as a lobbyist. Fred Thompson earned about one million dollars just through his lobbying efforts. His major clients consisted of Westinghouse, the Tennessee Savings and Loan League, a Baltimore-based business coalition, the Teamsters Union’s Central States Pension Fund and a few successful cable television companies.His acting career started when he was required to play himself in a film about one of his high-profile cases. Consequently, the film ‘Marie’ (1985) which had Morgan Freeman and Sissy Spacek as the main actors, ruled the box office for all the right reasons!His other film roles included playing CIA Director Marshall in ‘No Way Out’ (1987), as Rear Admiral Joshua Painter in ‘The Hunt for Red October’ (1990) as Big John in ‘Days of Thunder’ (1990), as Ed Trudeau in ‘Die Hard 2’ (1990) and as Tom Broadbent in ‘Cape Fear’ (1991).Major Works
- Fred Thompson rose to fame after participating as a young lawyer in the iconic Watergate hearings in the 1970s. His wise handling of the case of Alexander Butterfield eventually led to the discovery of the president’s secret tape recording console.In the year 1994, he became a member of the U.S. Senate and was reelected in 1996. In his autobiography, ‘Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing Up and Second Chances’, he has described his experiences as a Senator.He achieved huge success for his vital role as a district attorney in the popular television crime series, ‘Law and Order.’ This NBC television series turned out to be a long-running one and the audience was charmed by the character D.A. Arthur Branch played by Thompson.In 2006, he collaborated with the ABC News Radio as a senior analyst and a vacation replacement. He also tried his luck as a writer by signing a deal with Salem Communications’ Townhall.com, as a regular columnist for the ‘Townhall’ magazine.Personal Life & Legacy
- Fred Thompson married early at the age of 17 in the year 1959. He and his wife Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey had three children. The couple divorced in 1985.He remarried radio talk show host and columnist Jeri Kehn in 2002. The couple had two children – Hayden (daughter) and Samuel (son).He was first diagnosed with non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in 2004. Although the disease went into remission for a few years, it later resurfaced and became the cause of his death on November 1, 2015.Trivia
- Fred Thompson believed that he learnt the real values of life by “sitting around the kitchen table” with his parents and not only from the Church of Christ.He was well-appreciated for his tall, intimidating presence and a rich, booming voice. He was greatly admired by the people of Tennessee.He declared his second wife, Jeri Kehn, to be a “trophy wife” and he was very proud of her!
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