Former US Senator, 2008 Presidential candidate and Law & Order star Fred Dalton Thompson has passed away after a recurrence of lymphoma. He was 73. “Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio or the town square of Lawrenceburg, his home,” his family said in a statement.
The Republican politician turned actor is of course best known for playing the right wing Manhattan District Attorney Arthur Branch on Law & Order from 2002 to 2007. His other notable television credits include a recurring role as Frank Michael Thomas on The Good Wife and a short guest-stint on NBC’s Allegiance as the FBI Director.
Thompson had something of a distinguished career spanning both politics and Hollywood. A well respected attorney, he served as Minority Counsel during the House of Representative’s Congressional investigation into Watergate and was involved in numerous political campaigns. He later ran and was elected as the junior Senator for Tennessee, serving from 1994 to 2003. His tenure in the senate also saw him serve (albeit briefly) as Chairman of the Committee on Governmental Affairs.
During his legal and political career, Thompson also took a stab at acting, starring as key government officials in numerous projects. It was in late 2002, as his term in the Senate was coming to an end, that Dick Wolf cast him as District Attorney Arthur Branch in Law & Order. Thompson played that role for five seasons (as well as in occasional episodes of spin-offs Special Victims Unit, Trial By Jury, Criminal Intent and Conviction), before exiting to mount an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the Presidency.