Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator for Tennessee, GOP presidential candidate, Watergate attorney and “Law and Order” star, died on Sunday after a recurrence of lymphoma at the age of 73.
Thompson’s family announced the news in a statement, published late Sunday afternoon in The Tennessean.
“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, husband, father, and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville surrounded by his family,” the statement 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.”
“Fred believed that the greatness of our nation was defined by the hard work, faith, and honesty of its people. He had an enduring belief in the exceptionalism of our country, and that America could provide the opportunity for any boy or girl, in any corner of our country, to succeed in life. “
Thompson was one of the attorneys who helped lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.
He starred in many prominent roles during his acting years, including three of the biggest films of 1990: “Days of Thunder,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “Die Hard 2.”
He starred on NBC’s “Law and Order” as District Attorney Arthur Branch from 2002-2007.
He served in the senate from December 1994 to January 2003.
Fred Thompson was a GOP presidential candidate in 2008 but due to his low-octane campaign, he never placed higher than third in any of the early primary states. He dropped out of the race in late January 2008.
Here’s a memorable clip from a primary debate from that campaign that has some significance this time around.