Fred Dalton Thompson was an American politician, actor, attorney and lobbyist. He represented Tennessee as a Republican in the U.S. Senate from 1994 through 2002.
Thompson served as chairman of the International Security Advisory Board at the United States Department of State, was a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and was a Visiting Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute, specializing in national security and intelligence.
As an actor, Thompson had appeared in a large number of movies and television shows. He had frequently portrayed governmental figures. In the final months of his U.S. Senate term in 2002, Thompson joined the cast of the long-running NBC television series Law & Order, playing New York City District Attorney Arthur Branch, until the network granted his request to be released from his contract in May 2007.
He was a candidate for the 2008 Republican nomination for President of the United States until he exited the race after finishing third in South Carolina Primary on January 22. He resided in McLean, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.
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.