Fred Thompson was born August 19, 1942 in Sheffield, Alabama. He graduated from Lawrence County High School in Tennessee, and worked days at a post office and nights at a bicycle plant. He enrolled in the University of North Alabama, being the first person in his family to attend college. He later transferred to the University of Memphis, where he held a double-major in both philosophy and political science. On a scholarship offer, he went on to Vanderbilt law school and earned a Juris Doctor of law in 1967, being admitted to the State Bar of Tennessee in that same year.
He started his law career as a prosecuting U.S. Attorney, working criminal cases. During this time, he was the campaign manager for Senator Howard Baker's 1972 reelection campaign. He also served as the minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee. Continuing in the 1980's, he set up law offices in both Nashville and Washington, DC., and was appointed to Special Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Special Counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Member of the Appellate Court Nominating Commission for the State of Tennessee.
He served a pivotal role on the Watergate Committee, having been the author of the most famous question of the Watergate scandal, "What did the President know and when did he know it?", which he supplied to Senator Howard Baker, for whom he was acting as counsel. Senator Baker said of Thompson that he "had high regard for him as a lawyer and as a friend.".
Fred Thompson is also an actor, and, unusual for the course, he was a politician before he became an actor. He is a character actor who usually draws bit roles; being 6 feet 5 inches tall, and looking the part of authority, he is usually cast as an authority figure. Some of his major movie appearances include "In the Line of Fire", "Thunderheart", "Cape Fear", "Necessary Roughness", "Class Action", "Die Hard 2", and "The Hunt for Red October". He has also appeared in television programs including "Matlock", "Roseanne", "Wiseguy", and "Law & Order". Sometimes his appearance is limited to a few frames of uncredited footage, for instance when a plot calls for a politician to appear on TV, as was the case in an episode of HBO's "Sex and the City".
In 1994, he was elected to the United States Senate as the Senator from Tennessee. He was placed in this position to replace Al Gore, who had been elected Vice President. He served two terms in this seat until 2003. During his time in this office, he was a member of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, briefly served as a committee chairman, and also served on the Finance Committee, the Intelligence Committee, and the National Security Working Group. In the 2000 Presidential election, he was appointed as John McCain's national co-chairman.
Leaving the Senate in 2003, he entered a period of free-floating odd-jobs, taking a bit role in a movie there and doing a public service announcement spot here. He did the voice-over work for the 2004 Republican National Convention. He assisted the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts through the confirmation process of the United States Senate. And he was Chair of the International Security Advisory Board, assisting in matters pertaining to international policy and diplomacy.
As of March 2007, Fred Thompson has announced his candidacy to be President of the United States. Being a part-time actor, he has not been camera-shy, appearing on "Fox News Sunday", "The Tonight Show", amongst many appearances.
Fred Thompson is seen as a highly moderate Republican, in some cases leaning contrary to the party stance by being pro-choice and coming out in favor of allowing gay marriage. He will most likely appeal to the "armchair Republican", who toes most of the middle ground for general Conservative issues without alienating either side. To his credit is also the fact that, as an actor and media personality, he has charisma to spare.
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