Former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson Dies At 73
NASHVILLE, Tennessee - Fred Dalton Thompson -- a man with many talents that he employed from Hollywood to Nashville to D.C. -- has died. He was 73.
In a statement, his family said he passed away following a recurrence of lymphoma.
"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," the family statement read. "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."
Born in Alabama on Aug. 19, 1942, and raised in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 70 miles north of Nashville, Fred Thompson had been a lawyer, lobbyist, radio commentator, minority counsel for the Senate Watergate hearings, and a senator.
Former Tennessee Sen., actor and 2008 Presidential candidate Fred Thompson announces his endorsement of Republican presidential candidate former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during a news conference at the Capitol Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, in Atlanta.
Thompson is often best known for being an actor. His credits include "In the Line of Fire," ''The Hunt for Red October," ''Die Hard II" and "Cape Fear."
He was 6-foot-6 and had appeared in some two dozen movies since 1985, and in the NBC drama "Law and Order," where for five years after leaving the Senate in 2002 he played gruff district attorney Arthur Branch.
In May 2007, he left the role, and a month later formed a presidential exploratory committee. He announced a bid for president in 2007 but dropped out in January 2008 after faring poorly in the early going.
After leaving the race, he campaigned extensively for presidential nominee John McCain, then sought support to become chairman of the Republican National Committee but quit that quest after a few months.
Thompson took stock of his life after the January 2002 death of his daughter, Elizabeth Thompson Panici, 38, following an accidental prescription drug overdose.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.