One of the most well-liked figures in national politics has passed away today. Fred Thompson, whose careers as an attorney, an actor, and a politician nearly gave him a path to the White House, died earlier today from lymphoma, according to his family. Thompson was 73 years old:I would have voted for him had he succeeded.
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Thompson led a storied public life, beginning in one of the most dramatic moments in American politics over the last half-century. Thompson’s questioning of Alexander Butterfield in the Watergate scandal exposed the taping system employed by Richard Nixon, and eventually led to Nixon’s resignation. Thompson continued to make waves as an attorney, representing a whistleblower in a corruption case in Tennessee. That led to an opportunity to play himself in the film Marie, starring Sissy Spacek, and leading to a long career in Hollywood. Iconic roles in The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard II, and later “Law and Order” gave Thompson a familiar, avuncular quality.
In 1994, Thompson parlayed that familiarity to a seat in the US Senate, taking Al Gore’s seat in a special election. He won again in 1996 for a full term, but retired from the Senate in 2002 to return to his acting career. In 2007, though, with the Republican presidential field wide open, Thompson decided to run for the nomination, only to find that he’d gotten in too late to have an impact.
Monday, November 2, 2015
RIP: Fred Thompson
Hot Air has a decent summary of his public life: