Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator from Tennessee, GOP presidential candidate, Watergate attorney and actor who starred on the television drama “Law and Order,” died on Sunday in Nashville. He was 73.
Mr. Thompson died after a recurrence of lymphoma, according to a prepared statement issued by the Thompson family. Mr Thompson, who had recently purchased a house in Nashville to return to Tennessee, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2004.
“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 Thompson family’s statement reads.
Fred Thompson was a throw-back to a different era, when mutual respect was still part of politics. He was never the star/leading man in acting or politics, but he brought gravitas to everything he did. He got his start working on the Watergate Committee.
May he rest in peace.
The sick comes from Gawker:
The family of Fred Thompson has announced that the actor and Republican who represented Tennessee in the U.S. Senate from 1994 to 2003 has died following a recurrence of lymphoma, the Associated Press reports. He was 73.
Early in his professional life, Thompson, born in Alabama and raised in Tennessee, was a lawyer, working as an assistant U.S. attorney and in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s before being appointed minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973, where he acquired a national reputation for being tough and fair-minded.
Later, however, during Thompson’s brief bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2007, the AP reported that Thompson had leaked information to the Nixon White House and accepted coaching from Nixon’s lawyer:
At a hearing on July 16, Thompson asked former White House aide Alexander Butterfield: “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?”
Butterfield’s confirmation of the recordings set off a cascade of events that led to Nixon’s resignation 13 months later.
The question made Thompson instantly famous. His political Web site…prominently notes: “Friends in Tennessee still recall seeing the boy they’d grown up with on TV, sitting at the Senate hearing-room dais. He gained national attention for leading the line of inquiry that revealed the audio-taping system in the White House Oval Office.”
What rarely is mentioned is that Thompson knew the answer to the question before he asked it. Investigators for the committee had gotten the information out of Butterfield during hours of behind-the-scenes questioning three days earlier, on July 13.
After his failed 2008 presidential bid, Thompson started shilling for a totally risk-free, government-backed reverse mortgage company that was sued by the Illinois attorney general in 2010: “These companies used extremely misleading language in their advertising, sometimes even disguising their loans as government benefits that borrowers don’t have to repay.”
Of course he knew the answer to the question before he asked it. That’s how lawyers question people. As for the reverse mortgage ads, the company is still in business and hasn’t been found guilty of any wrongdoing. Thompson was merely a celebrity spokesman for the company.
Whatever happened to not speaking ill of the dead? Oh, that’s right – this is the new civility.