NASHVILLE • Fred Thompson, a former Republican US senator from Tennessee who briefly ran for president and straddled the world of politics and entertainment with a prolific television and film acting career, has died of cancer at the age of 73.
Mr Thompson, a former federal prosecutor, and well known on TV as a district attorney in Law & Order, died on Sunday from a recurrence of lymphoma.
Born in Sheffield, Alabama, he earned a law degree, became a federal prosecutor and went to work for Tennessee Republican Senator Howard Baker. It was Mr Baker who secured him the job that first made his name in Washington. Mr Thompson was appointed minority legal counsel for the special Senate Watergate Committee investigating the 1972 burglary at the Democratic Party headquarters in Washington that led to the 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon.
He was elected to the Senate in 1994 and served for two terms before retiring in 2003.
He announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in September 2007, but dropped out in January 2008 after garnering little support.
Mr Thompson played supporting roles in numerous films, including No Way Out, The Hunt For Red October, Days Of Thunder, Die Hard 2 and In The Line Of Fire.
His most notable TV role, as the New York district attorney Arthur Branch in the Law & Order series, lasted from 2002 to 2007.