|United States Senator|
December 2, 1994 – January 3, 2003
|Preceded by||Harlan Mathews|
|Succeeded by||Lamar Alexander|
|Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee|
January 20, 2001 – June 6, 2001
|Preceded by||Joe Lieberman|
|Succeeded by||Joe Lieberman|
January 3, 1997 – January 3, 2001
|Preceded by||Ted Stevens|
|Succeeded by||Joe Lieberman|
Freddie Dalton Thompson
August 19, 1942
Sheffield, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||November 1, 2015 (aged 73)|
Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
(m. 1959; div. 1985)
|Education||University of Memphis (BA)|
Vanderbilt University (JD)
Freddie Dalton Thompson (August 19, 1942 – November 1, 2015) was an American politician, attorney, lobbyist, columnist, actor, and radio personality. A member of the Republican Party, he served as a United States Senator from Tennessee from 1994 to 2003; Thompson was a candidate in the 2008 presidential primaries.
He also chaired the International Security Advisory Board at the U.S. Department of State, was a member of the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as a Visiting Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, specializing in national security and intelligence.
As an actor, Thompson appeared in a number of movies and television shows including The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard 2, In the Line of Fire, Days of Thunder, and Cape Fear, as well as in commercials. He frequently portrayed governmental authority figures and military men. In the final months of his U.S. Senate term in 2002, Thompson joined the cast of the NBC television series Law & Order, starring as Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch.
Thompson was born in Sheffield, Alabama, on August 19, 1942, the son of Ruth Inez (née Bradley) and Fletcher Session Thompson (born Lauderdale County, Alabama, August 26, 1919, died Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, May 27, 1990), who was an automobile salesman. Thompson had English and distant Dutch ancestry. He attended public school in Lawrenceburg, graduating from Lawrence County High School in 1960, where he played high-school football. Thereafter, he worked days in the local post office, and nights at the Murray bicycle assembly plant.
Thompson then entered Florence State College (now the University of North Alabama), becoming the first member of his family to attend college. He later transferred to Memphis State University, now the University of Memphis, where he earned a double degree in philosophy and political science in 1964, as well as scholarships to both Tulane and Vanderbilt law schools. He went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree from the Vanderbilt Law School in 1967.
Career as an attorney
Thompson was admitted to the state bar of Tennessee in 1967. At that time, he shortened his first name from Freddie to Fred. He worked as an assistant U.S. attorney from 1969 to 1972, successfully prosecuting bank robberies and other cases. Thompson was the campaign manager for Republican U.S. Senator Howard Baker's re-election campaign in 1972, and was minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee in its investigation of the Watergate scandal (1973–1974).
In the 1980s, Thompson worked as an attorney, with law offices in Nashville and Washington, DC, handling personal injury claims and defending people accused of white collar crimes. He also accepted appointments as special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (1980–1981), special counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee (1982), and member of the Appellate Court Nominating Commission for the State of Tennessee (1985–1987).
His clients included a German mining group and Japan's Toyota Motors Corporation. Thompson served on various corporate boards. He also did legal work and served on the board of directors for engineering firm Stone & Webster.
Role in Watergate hearings
In 1973, Thompson was appointed minority counsel to assist the Republican senators on the Senate Watergate Committee, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate to investigate the Watergate scandal. Thompson was sometimes credited for supplying Republican Senator Howard Baker's famous question, "What did the President know, and when did he know it?" This question is said to have helped frame the hearings in a way that eventually led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon. The question remains popular and is often invoked by pundits commenting on political scandals.
A Republican staff member, Donald Sanders, found out about the White House tapes and informed the committee on July 13, 1973. Thompson was informed of the existence of the tapes, and he, in turn, informed Nixon's attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt. "Even though I had no authority to act for the committee, I decided to call Fred Buzhardt at home," Thompson later wrote, "I wanted to be sure that the White House was fully aware of what was to be disclosed so that it could take appropriate action."
Three days after Sanders's discovery, at a public, televised committee hearing, Thompson asked former White House aide Alexander Butterfield the famous question, "Mr. Butterfield, were you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?" thereby publicly revealing the existence of tape recordings of conversations within the White House. National Public Radio later called that session and the discovery of the Watergate tapes "a turning point in the investigation."
Thompson's appointment as minority counsel to the Senate Watergate committee reportedly upset Nixon, who believed Thompson was not skilled enough to interrogate unfriendly witnesses and would be outfoxed by the committee Democrats. According to historian Stanley Kutler, however, Thompson and Baker "carried water for the White House, but I have to give them credit—they were watching out for their interests, too ... They weren't going to mindlessly go down the tubes [for Nixon]."
Journalist Scott Armstrong, a Democratic investigator for the Senate Watergate Committee, is critical of Thompson for having disclosed the committee's knowledge of the tapes to Buzhardt during an ongoing investigation, and says Thompson was "a mole for the White House" and that Thompson's actions gave the White House a chance to destroy the tapes. Thompson's 1975 book At That Point in Time, in turn, accused Armstrong of having been too close to The Washington Post's Bob Woodward and of leaking committee information to him. In response to renewed interest in this matter, in 2007 during his presidential campaign, Thompson said, "I'm glad all of this has finally caused someone to read my Watergate book, even though it's taken them over 30 years."
Corruption case against Tennessee governor
In 1977, Thompson represented Marie Ragghianti, a former Tennessee Parole Board chair, who had been fired for refusing to release felons after they had bribed aides to Democratic Governor Ray Blanton to obtain clemency. With Thompson's assistance, Ragghianti filed a wrongful termination suit against Blanton's office. During the trial, Thompson helped expose the cash-for-clemency scheme that eventually led to Blanton's removal from office. In July 1978, a jury awarded Ragghianti $38,000 ($139,165.09 in 2016 dollars) in back pay and ordered her reinstatement.
Thompson earned about $1 million in total from his lobbying efforts. Except for the year 1981, his lobbying never amounted to more than one-third of his income. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal:
Fred Thompson earned about half a million dollars from Washington lobbying from 1975 through 1993 ... Lobbyist disclosure records show Thompson had six lobbying clients: Westinghouse, two cable television companies, the Tennessee Savings and Loan League, the Teamsters Union's Central States Pension Fund, and a Baltimore-based business coalition that lobbied for federal grants.
Thompson lobbied Congress on behalf of the Tennessee Savings and Loan League to pass the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act of 1982, which deregulated the savings and loan industry. A large congressional majority and President Ronald Reagan supported the act, but it was said to be a factor that led to the savings and loan crisis. Thompson received $1,600 for communicating with some congressional staffers on this issue.
When Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in 1991, Thompson made a telephone call to White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu advocating restoration of Aristide's government, but says that was as a private citizen, not on a paid basis on Aristide's behalf.
Billing records show that Thompson was paid for about 20 hours of work in 1991 and 1992 on behalf of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, a family planning group trying to ease a George H. W. Bush administration regulation on abortion counseling in federally funded clinics.
After leaving the Senate in 2003, Thompson's only lobbying work was for the London-based reinsurance company Equitas Ltd. He was paid $760,000 between 2004 and 2006 to help prevent passage of legislation that Equitas said unfairly singled them out for unfavorable treatment regarding asbestos claims. Thompson spokesman Mark Corrallo said that Thompson was proud to have been a lobbyist and believed in Equitas' cause.
After Thompson was elected to the Senate, two of his sons followed him into the lobbying business, but generally avoided clients where a possible conflict of interest might appear. When he left the Senate, some of his political action committee's fees went to the lobbying firm of one of his sons.
Marie Ragghianti's case became the subject of a book, Marie, written by Peter Maas and published in 1983. The film rights were purchased by director Roger Donaldson, who, after traveling to Nashville to speak with the people involved with the original case, asked Thompson if he wanted to play himself. The resulting film, Marie, was Thompson's first acting role and was released in 1985. Roger Donaldson then cast Thompson in the part of CIA director in the 1987 film No Way Out. He played the head of FBI special-agent training in the 1988 comedy Feds; in the trailer, the FBI disclaimed any connection with the film. In 1990, he was cast as Ed Trudeau, the head of Dulles Airport, in the action sequel Die Hard 2, as Rear Admiral Painter in The Hunt for Red October, and as Big John, the President of NASCAR, in the movie Days of Thunder (patterned on Big Bill France). Thompson went on to appear in many films and television shows. A 1994 New York Times profile wrote, "When Hollywood directors need someone who can personify governmental power, they often turn to him." He portrayed a fictional President of the United States in Last Best Chance, as well as two historical presidents: Ulysses S. Grant in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007) and the voice of Andrew Jackson in Rachel and Andrew Jackson: A Love Story (both produced for TV). He appeared on the television sitcom Roseanne.
In the final months of his U.S. Senate term in 2002, Thompson joined the cast of the NBC television series Law & Order, playing conservative District Attorney Arthur Branch for the next five years. Thompson began filming during the August 2002 Senate recess. He made occasional appearances in the same role on other TV shows, such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and the pilot episode of Conviction. On May 30, 2007, he asked to be released from the role, potentially in preparation for a presidential bid. Due to concerns about the equal-time rule, reruns featuring the Branch character were not shown on NBC while Thompson was a potential or actual presidential candidate, but TNT episodes were unaffected.
In May 2007, he took a break from acting to run for the Republican nomination for president in the 2008 election, winning 11 delegates before dropping out of the race in January 2008. In 2009, he returned to acting with a guest appearance on the ABC television series Life on Mars and in the movie Alleged, about the Scopes Trial.
Two campaigns for U.S. Senate
In 1994, Thompson was elected to finish the remaining two years of Al Gore's unexpired U.S. Senate term. During the 1994 campaign, Thompson's opponent was longtime Nashville Congressman Jim Cooper. Thompson campaigned in a red pickup truck, and Cooper charged Thompson "is a lobbyist and actor who talks about lower taxes, talks about change, while he drives a rented stage prop." In a good year for Republican candidates, Thompson defeated Cooper in a landslide, overcoming Cooper's early 20% lead in the polls to defeat him by an even greater margin. On the same night Thompson was elected to fill Gore's unexpired term, political newcomer Bill Frist, a Nashville heart surgeon, defeated three-term incumbent Democrat Jim Sasser, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, for Tennessee's other Senate seat, which was up for a full six-year term. The twin victories by Thompson and Frist gave Republicans control of both of Tennessee's Senate seats for the first time since Sasser ousted incumbent Bill Brock in 1976.
In 1996, Thompson was re-elected (for the term ending January 3, 2003) with 61% of the vote, defeating Democratic attorney Houston Gordon of Covington, Tennessee, even as Bill Clinton and running mate Al Gore narrowly carried the state by less than three percentage points on their way to re-election. During this campaign, Mike Long served as Thompson's chief speechwriter.
|Republican||Fred Thompson (Incumbent)||1,091,554||61.37%||+0.93%|
|Independent||John Jay Hooker||14,401||0.81%|
|Republican gain from Democratic||Swing|
In 1996, Thompson was a member of the Committee on Governmental Affairs when the committee investigated the alleged Chinese attempts to influence American politics. Thompson says he was "largely stymied" during these investigations by witnesses declining to testify, claiming the right not to incriminate themselves or by simply leaving the country. Thompson explained, "Our work was affected tremendously by the fact that Congress is a much more partisan institution than it used to be."
Thompson became committee chairman in 1997, but was reduced to ranking minority member when the Democrats took control of the Senate in 2001. Thompson served on the Finance Committee (dealing with health care, trade, Social Security, and taxation), the Intelligence Committee, and the National Security Working Group.
Thompson's work included investigation of the "Umm Hajul controversy" which involved the death of Tennessean Lance Fielder during the Gulf War. During his term, he supported campaign finance reform, opposed proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and promoted government efficiency and accountability. During the 1996 presidential debates, he also served as a Clinton stand-in to help prepare Bob Dole.
On February 12, 1999, the Senate voted on the Clinton impeachment. The perjury charge was defeated with 45 votes for conviction, and 55, including Thompson, against. The obstruction of justice charge was defeated with 50, including Thompson, for conviction, and 50 against. Conviction on impeachment charges requires the affirmative votes of 67 senators.
Campaign co-chairman for John McCain
In the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, Thompson backed former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander, who eventually succeeded Thompson in the Senate two years later. When Alexander dropped out, Thompson endorsed Senator John McCain's bid and became his national co-chairman. After George W. Bush won the primaries, both McCain and Thompson were considered as potential running mates.
Thompson was not a candidate for re-election in 2002. He had publicly stated his unwillingness to have the Senate become a long-term career. Although he announced in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks his intention to seek re-election ("Now is not the time for me to leave," said Thompson at the time), upon further reflection, he decided against it. The decision seems to have been prompted in large part by the death of his daughter.
Thompson had an 86.1% lifetime (1995–2002) American Conservative Union vote rating, compared to 89.3 for Bill Frist and 82.3 for John McCain. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) characterized her colleague this way: "I believe that Fred is a fearless senator. By that I mean he was never afraid to cast a vote or take a stand, regardless of the political consequences." Thompson was "on the short end of a couple of 99–1 votes", voting against those who wanted to federalize matters that he believed were properly left to state and local officials.
With Thompson's decision to campaign for the 2008 Republican Presidential nomination, his Senate record received some criticism from people who say he was "lazy" compared to other Senators. Critics say that few of his proposals became law, and point to a 1998 quote: "I don't like spending 14- and 16-hour days voting on 'sense of the Senate' resolutions on irrelevant matters. There are some important things we really need to get on with—and on a daily basis, it's very frustrating." Defenders say he spent more time in preparation than other Senators. Paul Noe, a former staffer, told The New York Times, "On the lazy charge, I have to chuckle because I was there sometimes until 1 in the morning working with the man."
Career between Senate and presidential campaign (2003–2007)
Thompson continued his acting career after he left the Senate. He continued playing Arthur Branch on Law & Order until he left the show in May 2007 to prepare to run for president. He also appeared in Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.
In March 2003, Thompson was featured in a commercial by the conservative nonprofit group Citizens United that advocated the invasion of Iraq, stating: "When people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask, what had the 9/11 hijackers done to us -- before 9/11."
Thompson did voice-over work at the 2004 Republican National Convention. While narrating a video for that convention, Thompson observed: "History throws you what it throws you, and you never know what's coming."
After the retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Thompson to an informal position to help guide the nomination of John Roberts through the United States Senate confirmation process. Roberts' nomination as associate justice was eventually cancelled following the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist; he was renominated and subsequently confirmed as Chief Justice instead.
Until July 2007, Thompson was Chair of the International Security Advisory Board, a bipartisan advisory panel that reports to the Secretary of State and focuses on emerging strategic threats. In that capacity, he advised the State Department about all aspects of arms control, disarmament, international security, and related aspects of public diplomacy.
Legal defense for Lewis Libby
In 2006, he served on the advisory board of the legal defense fund for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., who was indicted and later convicted of lying to federal investigators during their investigation of the Plame affair. Thompson, who had never met Libby before volunteering for the advisory board, said he was convinced Libby was innocent. The Scooter Libby Legal Defense Fund Trust set out to raise more than $5 million to help finance the legal defense of Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff. Thompson hosted a fundraiser for the Libby defense fund at his home in McLean, Virginia. After Bush commuted Libby's sentence, Thompson released a statement: "I am very happy for Scooter Libby. I know that this is a great relief to him, his wife and children. This will allow a good American, who has done a lot for his country, to resume his life."
In 2006, he signed on with ABC News Radio to serve as senior analyst and vacation replacement for Paul Harvey. He used that platform to spell out his positions on a number of political issues. A July 3, 2007, update to Thompson's ABC News Radio home page referred to him as a "former ABC News Radio contributor", indicating that Thompson had been released from his contract with the broadcaster. He did not return after his campaign ended.
Thompson signed a deal with Salem Communications's Townhall.com to write for the organization's magazine, Townhall, from April 23, 2007, until August 21, 2007, and again from June 8, 2008, until November 17, 2008.
2008 presidential campaign
On March 11, 2007, Thompson appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the possibility of a 2008 candidacy for president. At the end of March, Thompson asked to be released from his television contract, potentially in preparation for a presidential bid. Thompson formed a presidential exploratory committee regarding his possible 2008 campaign for president on June 1, 2007, but unlike most candidate exploratory groups, Thompson's organized as a 527 group.
Thompson continued to be mentioned as a potential candidate, but did not officially declare his candidacy. On June 12, Thompson told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that while he did not crave the presidency itself, he would like to do things that he could only do by holding that office. A The New York Times article cited Thompson's aides as saying on July 18 that he planned to enter the race just after Labor Day, followed by a national announcement tour.
On September 5, 2007, Thompson made his candidacy official, announcing on The Tonight Show that "I'm running for president of the United States" and running an ad during a Republican Presidential candidates' debate on Fox News. In both cases he pointed people to his campaign website to watch a 15-minute video detailing his platform. His campaign entrance was described as "lackluster" and "awkward" despite high expectations in anticipation of his joining the race. Fred Thompson was endorsed by the Virginia Society for Human Life and several other pro-life organizations.
On January 22, 2008, after attracting little support in the early primaries, Thompson confirmed he had withdrawn from the Presidential race. In a statement issued by his campaign, Thompson said:
Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people.
After the campaign
Thompson spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention on September 2 in Minnesota, where he described in graphic detail presumptive Republican nominee John McCain's torture at the hands of the North Vietnamese during his imprisonment, and gave an endorsement of McCain for president. Thompson also campaigned for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Thompson signed an agreement to be represented as an actor by the William Morris Agency. In 2009, he returned to acting with a guest appearance on the ABC television series Life on Mars, and as William Jennings Bryan in the TV movie Alleged, based on the Scopes Monkey Trial. Thompson portrayed Frank Michael Thomas in the CBS series The Good Wife; besides having a similar name, Thomas also shares Thompson's love for acting and the law. Thompson also had roles in Disney's Secretariat and the horror film Sinister. In 2014, he appeared in the film, Persecuted, focusing on religious freedom, government surveillance, and censorship.
On March 2, 2009, he took over on Westwood One's East Coast noon time slot, hosting the talk radio program The Fred Thompson Show, after Bill O'Reilly ended The Radio Factor. It was co-hosted for a time by his wife, Jeri. Thompson's final show for Westwood One was aired on January 21, 2011. Douglas Urbanski took Thompson's place in the Westwood One syndication lineup.
Thompson said that federalism was his "lodestar", which provides "a basis for a proper analysis of most issues: 'Is this something government should be doing? If so, at what level of government?'"
Thompson stated that "Roe v. Wade was bad law and bad medical science," and that judges should not be determining social policy. Thompson stated the government should not criminally prosecute women who undergo early term abortions.
Thompson did not support a federal ban on gay marriage, but would have supported a constitutional amendment to keep one state's recognition of such marriages from resulting in all states having to recognize them.
Thompson said citizens are entitled to keep and bear arms if they do not have criminal records, and the Gun Owners of America says that he voted pro-gun in 20 of 33 gun-related votes during his time in the Senate.
Thompson said that U.S. borders should be secured before considering comprehensive immigration reform, but he also supported a path to citizenship for illegal aliens saying, "You're going to have to, in some way, work out a deal where they can have some aspirations of citizenship, but not make it so easy that it's unfair to the people waiting in line and abiding by the law." Thompson supported the U.S. 2003 invasion of Iraq and was opposed to withdrawing troops, but believed that "mistakes have been made" since the invasion.
Marriages and children
In September 1959, at the age of 17, Thompson married Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey. Their son, Freddie Dalton "Tony" Thompson Jr., was born in April 1960. Son Daniel and daughter Elizabeth were born soon thereafter. While Thompson was attending law school, he and his wife both worked to pay for his education and support their three children.
The couple divorced in 1985. They have two surviving children, as well as five grandchildren. Thompson's daughter Elizabeth "Betsy" Thompson Panici died from a brain injury resulting from cardiac arrest after what was determined to be an accidental overdose of prescription drugs on January 30, 2002.
While single, Thompson had been romantically linked to country singer Lorrie Morgan, Republican fundraiser Georgette Mosbacher, future Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, and columnist Margaret Carlson.
In July 1996, Thompson began dating Jeri Kehn (born 1966) and the two married almost six years later on June 29, 2002. When Thompson was asked in a December 2007 Associated Press survey of the candidates to name his favorite possession, he replied, tongue-in-cheek, "trophy wife". The couple has two children, a daughter Hayden born in 2003 and a son Samuel born in 2006.
Thompson was raised in the Churches of Christ. According to Thompson, his values come from "sitting around the kitchen table" with his parents, and from the Church of Christ. While talking to reporters in South Carolina, Thompson said, "I attend church when I'm in Tennessee. I'm [living] in McLean right now. I don't attend regularly when I'm up there." On occasion, Thompson attended Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia. He did not speak much about his religion during his campaign, saying, "Me getting up and talking about what a wonderful person I am and that sort of thing, I'm not comfortable with that, and I don't think it does me any good."
Illness and death
Thompson was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a form of cancer, in 2004. In 2007, Thompson stated, "I have had no illness from it, or even any symptoms. My life expectancy should not be affected. I am in remission, and it is very treatable with drugs if treatment is needed in the future—and with no debilitating side effects." Reportedly indolent, Thompson's NHL was the lowest of three grades of NHL, and was the rare nodal marginal zone lymphoma. It accounts for only 1–3% of all cases.
On the morning of November 1, 2015, Thompson died at the age of 73 from a recurrence of lymphoma. His funeral was held on November 6, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee, with U.S. Senators John McCain and Lamar Alexander in attendance. He was interred at Mimosa Cemetery in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, that same day.
|1987||No Way Out||CIA Director Marshall|
|1988||Unholy Matrimony||Frank Sweeny||TV movie|
|1989||Fat Man and Little Boy||Major General Melrose Hayden Barry|
|1990||The Hunt for Red October||Rear Admiral Joshua Painter|
|Days of Thunder||Big John|
|Die Hard 2||Ed Trudeau|
|1991||Flight of the Intruder||JAGC Captain at Court-Martial||Uncredited|
|Class Action||Dr. Getchell|
|Necessary Roughness||Carver Purcell|
|Cape Fear||Tom Broadbent|
|Curly Sue||Bernie Oxbar|
|1992||Aces: Iron Eagle III||Stockman|
|Bed of Lies||Richard 'Racehorse' Haynes||TV movie|
|White Sands||Arms dealer||Uncredited|
|Stay the Night||Det. Malone||TV movie|
|Day-O||Frank DeGeorgio||TV movie|
|Keep the Change||Otis||TV movie|
|1993||Barbarians at the Gate||James D. Robinson III||TV movie|
|Born Yesterday||Sen. Hedges|
|In the Line of Fire||White House Chief of Staff Harry Sargent|
|1994||Baby's Day Out||FBI Agent Dale Grissom|
|2001||Rachel and Andrew Jackson: A Love Story||President Andrew Jackson||Voice, TV movie|
|2004||Evel Knievel||Jay Sarno||TV movie|
|2005||Racing Stripes||Sir Trenton||Voice|
|2005||Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World||Himself|
|2007||Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee||President Ulysses S. Grant||TV movie|
|2010||The Genesis Code||Judge Hardin|
|Secretariat||Arthur "Bull" Hancock|
|Alleged||William Jennings Bryan|
|2012||The Last Ride||O'Keefe|
|2014||Persecuted||Fr. Charles Luther|
|23 Blast||Coach Powers|
|2015||A Larger Life||Robert Parker|
|90 Minutes in Heaven||Jay B. Perkins|
|2016||God's Not Dead 2||Senior Pastor||Posthumous release|
|1988||Wiseguy||Knox Pooley||3 episodes|
|1989||China Beach||Lt. Col. Reinhardt||1 episode|
|Roseanne||Keith Faber||1 episode|
|Matlock||Gordon Lewis||2 episodes|
|1993||Matlock||Prosecutor McGonigal||1 episode|
|2000||Sex and the City||Politician on TV||1 episode|
|2002–2007||Law & Order||D.A. Arthur Branch||116 episodes|
|2003–2006||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||D.A. Arthur Branch||11 episodes|
|2005–2006||Law & Order: Trial by Jury||D.A. Arthur Branch||13 episodes|
|2005||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||D.A. Arthur Branch||1 episode|
|2006||Conviction||D.A. Arthur Branch||1 episode|
|2009||Life on Mars||NYPD Chief Harry Woolf||1 episode|
|2011–2012||The Good Wife||Frank Michael Thomas||2 episodes|
|2015||Allegiance||FBI Director||4 episodes|
- Thompson, Fred (2010). Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing Up and Second Chances. Crown Forum. ISBN 978-0-30-746028-8.
- "Fred Thompson, actor and presidential candidate, dies at age 73". Grasswire.com. November 1, 2015. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
- Humphrey, Tom (September 7, 2007). "Fred, Freddie — he's still F.D. Thompson: New details emerge on personal life of newly announced candidate". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved September 8, 2007.
- Mathews, Joe. “An in-law-made man”, Los Angeles Times (2007-09-06): "Thompson stopped using the name Freddie in his professional dealings and became Fred."
- American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Scholars & Fellows Archived December 26, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Thompson, Fred. "Modern Political Archives: Fred Thompson Papers, 1993–2002". University of Tennessee. Archived from the original on September 8, 2006. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- "U.S. Department of State". Retrieved December 25, 2018.
- Bragg, Rick (November 12, 1994). "Grits and Glitter Campaign Helps Actor Who Played a Senator Become One". The New York Times. pp. Sec. 1, p. 10. Archived from the original on December 16, 2012. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- Associated Press and Cameron, Carl. "Fred Thompson Quits 'Law & Order,' Moves Closer to 2008 White House Bid" Archived August 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Fox News (2007-05-31).
- Fred Dalton Thompson Biography (1942-) via filmreference.com.
- Reitwiesner, William Addams. "Ancestry of Fred Thompson". self-published, non-authoritative. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- TV or Oval Office? U of M Grad Thompson Faces Decision
- "Fred Thompson: A big and joyous life (Opinion) - CNN.com". CNN. November 6, 2015. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
- Lawrimore, Erin. "Biography/History" Archived October 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, University of Tennessee Special Collections Library (2005).
- "About Fred" Archived July 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, via imwithfred.com (Official Site). Retrieved (2007-07-13).
- Malcolm, Andrew (September 6, 2007). "Shocking truth about Fred Thompson revealed!". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 6, 2007.
- Fred Thompson Hometown Biography Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Lawrenceburg Tennessee
- Fred Thompson for President in 2008
- Vogel, Kenneth. "Rivals Take Aim At Thompson", CBS News (2007-06-12). Retrieved 2007-07-08.
- Cottle, Michelle (December 1, 1996). "Another Beltway Bubba?". Washington Monthly. Archived from the original on May 12, 2007. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- Dilanian, Ken. Past as lobbyist may play into future as candidate, USA Today (2007-06-06).
- "Thompson cooperated with White House during Watergate". Associated Press. March 8, 2007. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007.
- Lowy, Joan (July 7, 2007). "Fred Thompson Aided Nixon on Watergate". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- Cameron, Carl (March 8, 2007). "National TV Star, Former Republican Senator Fred Thompson Mulls '08 Presidential Bid". FoxNews. Archived from the original on June 18, 2007. Retrieved June 12, 2007.
- "The Curious History of 'What Did the President Know, and when Did He Know It?' | Brennan Center for Justice".
- Kranish, Michael (July 4, 2007). "Select Chronology for Donald G. Sanders". The Boston Globe.
- Thompson, Fred D. (1975). At That Point in Time: The Inside Story of the Senate Watergate Committee. New York: Quadrangle/New York Times. ISBN 0-8129-0536-9.
- "Thompson's Watergate Role Not as Advertised" by Peter Obervy. National Public Radio. Published November 5, 2007
- Kranish, Michael (July 4, 2007). "Not all would put a heroic sheen on Thompson's Watergate role". The Boston Globe. pp. Sec. 1, p. 10. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2007. and "Fred Thompson Aided Nixon on Watergate". Forbes. July 4, 2007. pp. Sec. 1, p. 10. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved July 8, 2007.
- Fred Rolater, Leonard Ray Blanton, Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
- "$38,000 in 1978 → 2016 | Inflation Calculator".
- Locker, Richard. "Thompson tells why lobbyist pay rose with GOP-led Senate", Commercial Appeal (1994-11-05).
- Leibold, Arthur. "Some Hope for the Future After a Failed National Policy for Thrifts" in Barth, James et al. The Savings and Loan Crisis: Lessons from a Regulatory Failure, pages 58–59 (2004). Leibold cites Strunk and Case, Where Regulation Went Wrong: A Look at the Causes Behind Savings and Loan Failures in the 1980s, pages 14–16 (1988).
- Vogel, Kenneth. "'Law & Order' And Lobbying", The Politico (2007-04-02).
- Becker, Jo (July 19, 2007). "Thompson lobbied for family planning". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 19, 2007.
- The records show he spent much of that time in telephone conferences with the president of the group. He also spoke to administration officials on its behalf three times for a total of about three hours, but when or with whom in the administration Thompson spoke is unclear. When the work became controversial in 2007 in light of Thompson's anti-abortion stance and 2008 presidential campaign, a Thompson spokesperson said, "The [lobbying] firm consulted with Fred Thompson. It is not unusual for a lawyer to give counsel at the request of colleagues, even when they personally disagree with the issue." See Jo Becker, Records Show Ex-Senator's Work for Family Planning Unit, The New York Times, (2007-07-19). Retrieved 2007-12-22.
- Birnbaum, Jeffrey. "Thompson Will Take On Outsider Role After Playing Access Man", The Washington Post, June 12, 2007
- David D. Kirkpatrick (July 2, 2007). "As Senator Rose, Lobbying Became Family Affair". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2007.
- Mullins, Brody. "Thompson PAC Benefits Son More Than Republicans," The Wall Street Journal (2007-04-21).
- Hayes, Stephen F. (April 23, 2007). "From the Courthouse to the White House". Weekly Standard. Retrieved May 2, 2007.
- Keel, Beverly. "On screen, Thompson projects power, wisdom" Archived July 20, 2012, at archive.today, The Tennessean (2007-05-08).
- "TNT won't pull reruns starring Thompson", Seattle Times (2007-09-01).
- "Harry Woolf (Character)". IMDb.
- Liz Shaw (August 29, 2009). "Brian Dennehy, Fred Thompson to star in film shooting at Crossroads Village". The Flint Journal.
- Powers, William. "The Politician's Pickup Lines", The Washington Post (1994-10-21). Some question exists about whether Thompson actually did the driving. According to Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly, "Thompson didn't even deign to drive the thing himself." Drum, Kevin. "Fred Thompson's Red Pick-up Truck", Washington Monthly (2007-05-07). Retrieved 2007-06-18. Media reports in May and June 2007 said that Thompson still has the truck, which is "parked behind Thompson's mother's home outside Nashville." Chipman, Kim. "Thompson's Backers Check His `Fire in the Belly' for 2008 Race", Bloomberg (2007-06-28). According to Newsweek, "The paint is peeling and its U.S. Senate license plates expired back in 2002." Bailey, Holly. "The Sign of the Red Truck" Archived May 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Newsweek (2007-05-28). Retrieved 2007-07-10.
- Traub, James. "Party Like It's 1994", New York Times Magazine (2006-03-12): "The Republicans shocked political professionals, including President Bill Clinton, by gaining 52 seats in the House, giving them a majority there for the first time in 40 years. (They picked up eight seats in the Senate to wrest control there, as well.)"
- Heilemann, John. "The Shadow Candidates". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
- "United States of America Presidential Elections of 1996, Electoral College Vote by States", Psephos, Adam Carr's Election Archive.
-  Archived July 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- Fund, John (March 17, 2007). "Lights, Camera ... Candidacy?". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 8, 2007.
- Thompson, Fred. "Additional Views of Chairman Fred Thompson, Investigation of Illegal or Improper Activities in Connection With 1996 Federal Election Campaigns, Final Report of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, Senate Report 105-167 – 105th Congress 2d Session" (1998-03-10).
- Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, History of Committee Chairmen Archived July 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved (2007-07-13).
- Sen. Thompson's Official Senate Web Site (via Archive.org).
- Neal, Terry M. (August 18, 1999). "McCain Re-Emerges; Receives Thompson Endorsement". The Washington Post.
- "Bush: 'The days of speculation are over'", USA Today (2000-07-22).
- Zuckerbrod, Nancy."Thompson eyed for vice presidential role" Archived October 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, via oakridger.com 2000-07-03. Retrieved 2007-07-10.
- Halperin, Mark (May 24, 2007). "A New Role for Fred Thompson". Time. Archived from the original on May 26, 2007.
- "How conservative is Fred Thompson?", Washington Times Editorial (2007-06-23).
- Profile at Project Vote Smart Archived July 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine (including bio, positions, finances, interest group ratings, votes, and statements).
- Theobald, Bill."In D.C., tenacious Thompson defied prediction: Reliable conservative had fierce independent streak", The Tennessean (2007-07-08).
- Thompson, Fred. "Federalism 'n' Me". Archived January 8, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. American Enterprise Institute (2007-04-23). Retrieved 2007-05-13.
- ""Thompson and the 'Laziness' Issue" Archived September 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine" Newsweek (2007-09-29)
- "G.O.P. Hopeful Took Own Path in the Senate" The New York Times (2007-09-29)
- "Metro: In Brief". The Washington Post. November 26, 2002. p. B3; "Fred Thompson takes on federal council role". The Knoxville News-Sentinel. December 1, 2002. p. H3.
- "Interview with Mike Boos of Citizens United". CNN. March 1, 2003.
- Goldsmith, Brian. "Beware The 'Convention Candidates'", CBS News (2007-04-20).
- Thompson, Fred. "The Pitch", via YouTube. Retrieved (2007-07-13).
- Lee, Christopher (September 9, 2005). "Hill Veterans Light the Way for Nominee". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 19, 2007.
- International Security Advisory Board, Former Members, State Department web site.
- International Security Advisory Board, State Department web site.
- Shane, Scott (February 9, 2007). "Media Censors for the Jury Let a Style Item Get Through". The New York Times.
- Bohn, Kevin (February 9, 2007). "Libby trial provides a rare look inside the grand jury". CNN.
- Loller, Travis. "Looking at Thompson's Lobbying Past", ABC News (2007-06-25).
- Copeland, Libby and Montgomery, David. "Scooter Libby's Pals, Trusting In Providence", The Washington Post (2007-07-03).
- George W. Bush, "Statement by the President", The White House, July 2, 2007, accessed 2 July 2007.
- "Political Leaders Express Outrage, Support for 'Scooter' Libby's Commuted Sentence". Fox News. July 3, 2007. Archived from the original on July 5, 2007. Retrieved July 5, 2007.
- Miller, Korin. Names and Faces, The Washington Post (2006-02-25).
- The Fred Thompson Report, ABC Radio Networks.
- "Fred Thompson 2007". Townhall.com. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
- "Fred Thompson 2008". Townhall.com. Archived from the original on June 11, 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2010.
- "Fred Thompson to Speak in Richmond". WHSV TV. June 1, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
- Horrigan, Marie (July 31, 2007). "Fred Thompson's Long 'Exploration' Raises Money—and Confusion". Congressional Quarterly. Archived from the original on August 14, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-08.
- "Thompson Tells Leno He Would Like to Be President". Fox News. June 7, 2007. Archived from the original on July 11, 2007. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
- Nagourney, Adam. "Candidates Shift as G.O.P. Field Alters", NY Times (2007-07-19).
- Steve McGookin (September 5, 2007). "Thompson Finally Steps Onstage". Forbes. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Brief excerpts from the Tonight Show appearance are available from NBC Archived September 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. The full Tonight Show transcript is  Archived September 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Bill Schneider (October 16, 2007). "Poll: As Thompson's star fades, Clinton's on the rise". CNN. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
- Jill Zuckman (October 10, 2007). "Thompson debuts as GOP candidates clash". Chicago Tribune.
- Robert D. Novak (May 7, 2007). "Let down by Fred Thompson". Washington Post. Retrieved October 17, 2007.
- Nation's Oldest Right to Life Organization Supporting Thompson Standard News Wire.com, 20 December. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
- Fred Thompson Receives the Endorsement of Virginia Society for Human Life Presidency Project UCSB.EDU, 20 December 2007. Retrieved: 9 September 2013.
- "November 30, 2007 – Presidential Preferences". American Research Group. November 30, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
- "Daily Presidential Tracking Polling History". Rasmussen Reports. December 2, 2007. Archived from the original on December 1, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
- "CNN Political Ticker: Thompson drops out of GOP Presidential Race". CNN. January 22, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2008.
- Fred Thompson to appear in Richmond on behalf of National Popular Vote initiative
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (March 26, 2008). "Fred Thompson Seeks Make-Believe Roles". The New York Times.
- Bond, Paul (March 7, 2014). "Fred Thompson Religious Thriller 'Persecuted' Gets Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
- Nordyke, Kimberly (December 23, 2008). "Fred Thompson lands daily radio show". Reuters.
- "Westwood says goodbye to talker Fred Thompson, welcomes Doug Urbanski". Radio-Info.com. January 4, 2011. Archived from the original on January 9, 2011.
- "AAG Announces Fred Thompson as Reverse Mortgage Spokesman". reversemortgagedaily.com. May 24, 2010.
- American Advisors Group (June 10, 2010). "American Advisors Group Announces Senator Fred Thompson as National Reverse Mortgage Spokesperson". prnewswire.com.
- Thompson, Fred D., Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing up and Second Chances, Crown Forum, 2010. ISBN 9780307460288 Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- US Congress "THOMPSON, Fred Dalton, (1942 - 2015)", Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress, 1774- present. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
- "Transcript: Former Sen. Fred Thompson on 'FOX News Sunday'". Fox News. March 11, 2007. Archived from the original on May 29, 2007. Retrieved June 17, 2007.
- "Exclusive! Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson on Possible White House Bid" Archived July 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Fox News Interview (2007-06-05).
- Bailey, Holly. "Away From the Cameras Archived June 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine," Newsweek (2007-06-25).
- "Thompson: Roe bad law and bad medicine". CNN. August 17, 2007. Archived from the original on August 20, 2007. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
"Nix That". The Corner. August 17, 2007. Archived from the original on September 14, 2007. Retrieved August 20, 2007.
- Thompson, Fred. "Armed with the Truth", ABC Radio, May 10, 2007. Accessed May 13, 2007.
- Craig Fields. "Presidential Candidates And The Second Amendment". Gun Owners of America. Archived from the original on June 13, 2007. Retrieved January 15, 2008.
- Thompson, Fred. "Prepared Remarks for Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner", ABC Radio, May 4, 2007. Accessed May 13, 2007.
- YouTube. youtube.com.
- "U.S. Senate: Roll Call Vote". senate.gov. January 27, 2015.
- "Thompson: U.S. must rebuild military". August 21, 2007. Retrieved July 2, 2007.[dead link]
- "Former Sen. Fred Thompson on 'FOX News Sunday'". Fox News. March 11, 2007. Archived from the original on May 29, 2007. Retrieved July 2, 2007.
- Sean Hannity interview of Fred Thompson Archived July 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Fox News, June 6, 2007. Accessed June 9, 2007.
- Thompson, Fred. "Plutonic Warming" Archived September 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, AEI, March 22, 2007. Accessed May 13, 2007.
- Mathews, Joe (September 6, 2007). "Thompson wed his ambition". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 8, 2007. Retrieved September 7, 2007.: "In the summer of 1959 ... Lindsey told Thompson she was pregnant. He responded, friends say, by asking her to marry him ... Freddie and Sarah exchanged vows in a Methodist church during the second week of his senior year. Seven months later, in April 1960, 17-year-old Thompson had a son."
- "Fred Thompson chronology". The Tennessean. May 6, 2007.
- Kirkpatrick, David (July 2, 2007). "As Senator Rose, Lobbying Became Family Affair". The New York Times.
- Tapper, Jake."Thompson's Daughter's Death Informs Right-to-Die Stance", ABC News (2007-10-22).
- Baxter, Sarah."Old Girlfriends Cast Their Vote for Thompson", Times Online (2007-06-24).
- Grove, Lloyd (July 2, 2002). "Reliable Sources". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
- Marc Santora (December 15, 2007). "A Little Thompson Humor". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
- Brody, David (April 24, 2007). "Fred Thompson's Secret Weapon". CBNnews. Archived from the original on November 17, 2007. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
- Michelle Cottle (October 22, 2007). "Jeri Rigged". The New Republic. Retrieved November 21, 2007.
- Mackenzie Carpenter (August 12, 2007). "Married to ambition: Not your father's potential first spouse". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 26, 2007.
- "Profile: Fred Thompson". BBC News. September 3, 2007.
- "Future president? Fred Thompson's church roots draw interest". The Christian Chronicle. April 1, 2007. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
- Kim Chipman, "Thompson Says He's No Churchgoer, Won't Tout Religion on Stump", Bloomberg (2007-09-11).
- Brian Kaylor. "Reports Conflict About Fred Thompson's Church Membership, Attendance". Archived from the original on April 13, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
- "Former Senator Fred Thompson in Remission for Lymphoma". Fox News. April 11, 2007. Archived from the original on April 15, 2007. Retrieved April 11, 2007.
- Bloom, Mark (2007-04-11). "Fred Thompson, GOP Potential Candidate, Had Rare NHL". MedPage Today.
- "Fred Thompson, with larger-than-life persona, dies at 73". Tennessean.com. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- "Fred Thompson remembered as a natural actor, politician". USA Today.com. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
- "Fred Thompson: A Big and Joyous Life". CNN.com. November 6, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015.
- The Official Flickr Page for Fred Thompson (official photo site)
- Documentaries, topic pages and databases
- Fred Thompson at Curlie
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Financial information (presidential campaign) at the Federal Election Commission
- Center for Responsive Politics (aka OpenSecrets.org) campaign contributions
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Archive of United States Senator Fred Dalton Thompson Congressional Website (From Internet Archive retrieved on 3 January 2007)
- Complete text and audio and video of Fred Thompson's GOP Presidential Candidacy Announcement AmericanRhetoric.com
- Complete text and audio and video of Fred Thompson's 2008 Republican National Convention Speech AmericanRhetoric.com
- Fred Dalton Thompson at IMDb
- "Fred Thompson". Find a Grave. Retrieved June 24, 2021.
- Fred D. Thompson Papers, University of Tennessee Knoxville Libraries
- News media