Fred Thompson grew up in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Fred Thompson received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and political science from Memphis State University in 1964 and his law degree from Vanderbilt University in 1967, working his way through school. Two years after law school, Fred Thompson was named an Assistant United States Attorney and at the age of 30 was appointed Minority Counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, where he served in 1973 and 1974. In 1977 Fred Thompson took on the case of a Tennessee Parole Board chairman fired under suspicious circumstances. Thompson's work helped to expose a cash-for-clemency scheme that ultimately toppled the governor. The scandal became the subject of a best-selling book and later a film, Marie, in which Thompson portrayed himself. He went on to appear in 18 motion pictures, including In the Line of Fire, Die Hard II and The Hunt for Red October. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, Fred Thompson maintained law offices in Nashville and Washington and served as Special Counsel to both the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
In his first campaign for public office, Fred Thompson was elected by the people of Tennessee in 1994 to the remaining two years of an unexpired Senate term. When he was returned for a full term in 1996, he received more votes than any previous candidate for any office in Tennessee history. Fred Thompson won two elections in two years by more than twenty points each. Senator Thompson retired from the Senate in 2002, having served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, and a member of the Senate committee on Finance.
In his time in the Senate, Thompson focused on issues such as reducing taxes, curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and eliminating government waste, fraud and abuse. Since his retirement from the Senate, Thompson has returned to acting and plays Arthur Branch on the NBC series "Law and Order." In addition, Fred Thompson was named by President Bush as an informal advisor to Supreme Court Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, moving his nomination through the Senate. Fred Thompson is a monthly contributor to Townhall Magazine.
Fred Thompson is married. He has four children and five grandchildren.