Tag Archives: Fred Thompson

Cooper balks at naming courthouse for Thompson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – All but one of Tennessee’s congressional delegation members want the new federal courthouse in Nashville to be named after the late actor-politician Fred Thompson, but the lone holdout says there’s no need to rush.

Rep. Jim Cooper, a Nashville Democrat who lost to Thompson in the 1994 Senate race, is the only one of the 11 delegation members not to sign on to legislation to dedicate the building to the Lawrenceburg native who died last year at age 73.

“I am not against Fred Thompson,” Cooper said in an email. “He beat me fair and square decades ago. I am not against it being named for a Republican.

“But is rushing through a bill at the last minute in Congress, without any public input or discussion, the best we can do?”

Cooper said it should be up people in Middle Tennessee to decide the name of the courthouse that’s being built after years of delays. And if they end up choosing Thompson, Cooper said he’d have “no problem” with that.

Thompson was a Tennessee-trained lawyer, prosecutor, hard-driving Senate counsel during the Watergate hearings, movie and TV actor and even a fleeting presidential hopeful in 2008. He commanded audiences with a booming voice, folksy charisma and a 6-foot-6 frame.

Thompson starred the “Law & Order” TV series and appeared in at least 20 motion pictures including “In the Line of Fire,” ”The Hunt for Red October,” ”Die Hard II” and “Cape Fear,” while also fostering a lobbying career in Washington. Upon his return home in early 1990s to run for the Senate, Thompson leased what would become his signature red truck to drive around the state to cast himself as a man of the people.

Cooper at the time derided the truck as a cynical prop to deflect attention from Thompson’s inside-the-Beltway status, arguing that his Republican opponent was in fact a “Gucci-wearing, Lincoln-driving, Perrier-drinking, Grey Poupon-spreading millionaire Washington special-interest lobbyist.”

Thompson nevertheless ended up winning more than 60 percent of the vote.

Fred Thompson courthouse coming to Nashville?

Joint news release from Tennessee congressmen
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 22, 2016 – U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) along with U.S. Representatives Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) and Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) today introduced a bill to name the new Nashville federal courthouse in honor of former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson. 

Senator Alexander said: “Fred Thompson was one of Tennessee’s most celebrated public figures. After graduating from Vanderbilt University law school, he served in Nashville as Assistant United States Attorney. In 1973, Sen. Howard Baker named him minority counsel in the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings. In 1994, Tennesseans elected him United States Senator. He was an actor in more than 20 movies. It is appropriate to name the new federal courthouse in honor of Fred’s distinguished career as an attorney, Senate investigator, and United States Senator.”

Senator Corker said: “Fred Thompson served the people of Tennessee and our country with great distinction. Through his many different roles in public life, Fred never forgot where he came from, and our state and country miss his common sense approach to public service. I was proud to call him a friend and am pleased to join my colleagues to honor his life in this way.” Continue reading

Fred Thompson’s widow disputes lawsuit claims

The adult sons of late U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson were not swindled out of anything by Thompson’s wife, Jeri Thompson, because no changes were made to the former lawmaker and television star’s estate plans that would affect, according to a new filing in a pending Thompson family lawsuit that’s the subject of a Tennessean report.

Instead, the only change made ensured that both of the couple’s young children were entitled to part of the estate, according to Jeri Thompson’s legal filing.

“Each of (Thompson’s sons’) alleged claims against (Jeri Thompson) in this matter is founded upon a single premise — that (Jeri Thompson) took something that belonged to (Thompson’s sons) either through her own actions or by influencing the actions of Senator Thompson. That premise is unsound, unsupported and contradicted by the undisputed facts of this case. No person made any changes to Senator Thompson’s estate plans in October 2015 that caused any change in (Thompson’s sons’) position,” the response states.

“Each of (Thompson’s sons’) alleged claims against (Jeri Thompson) in this matter is founded upon a single premise — that (Jeri Thompson) took something that belonged to (Thompson’s sons) either through her own actions or by influencing the actions of Senator Thompson. That premise is unsound, unsupported and contradicted by the undisputed facts of this case. No person made any changes to Senator Thompson’s estate plans in October 2015 that caused any change in (Thompson’s sons’) position,” the response states.

Regardless of changes, Jeri Thompson said her late husband’s estate plans never included major distributions to his two adult sons.

“(The adult sons) were not primary or contingent beneficiaries either before or after the change. Nor did the change have any effect on Senator Thompson’s estate or the funds distributed to Senator Thompson’s heirs,” her response states.

Copies of the will included in the court case say Jeri Thompson is the primary beneficiary and that she is supposed to give Tony and Dan Thompson $50,000 each.

Fred Thompson’s sons file lawsuit over estate

A lawsuit filed by former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson’s two adult sons raises new questions about the days leading up to his death, according to WTVF-TV.

The lawsuit questions changes made to their father’s estate that allegedly were made after he was no longer able to make decisions.

On one side: Jeri Thompson, the former senator’s younger second wife and mother of their two children.

On the other: two adult sons — Tony and Dan Thompson — from Thompson’s first marriage.

Their lawsuit claims the widow and her lawyers have refused to explain a flurry of changes to Thompson’s estate in the days leading up to this death. Continue reading

AP story on tributes at Fred Thompson’s funeral

By Travis Loller, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Former U.S. senator and actor Fred Thompson was remembered Friday for his booming voice, sense of humor and sincerity.

At a public memorial service in Nashville, U.S. Sen. John McCain recalled how Thompson’s funny, slightly subversive asides on the Senate floor made sometimes tedious proceedings more bearable. McCain said Thompson was a natural campaigner who didn’t run for office just to play a senator but believed he had a responsibility to solve America’s problems.

“He had such natural authority and charm and ease with people,” McCain said. “Americans knew he was the real deal.”

But Thompson sometimes found politics frustrating. Sen. Lamar Alexander recalled Thompson joking that he “missed the sincerity of Hollywood.”

Thompson, who died Sunday at age 73 in Nashville after a recurrence of lymphoma, appeared in feature films and television, including NBC drama “Law & Order.” Speaking of Thompson’s first acting role in the movie “Marie,” McCain said, “Fred is listed as playing himself. That’s who he always played, in movies and in public life.”
Continue reading

Fred Thompson’s funeral scheduled Friday in Nashville

A funeral service for the late Fred Thompson, open to the public, will be held Friday at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, according to an obituary for the former U.S. senator and actor distributed by the family today.

The ceremony will begin at 10 am. Afterwards, the family and friends will journey to Lawrenceburg, Thompson’s boyhood home, for a “hometown tribute,” followed by private burial in Lawrenceburg. The family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be sent to four charities listed below.

Gov. Bill Haslam has ordered all flags on state buildings to be flown at half-staff in Thompson’s honor until after the interment Friday.

Here is the obituary distributed today:
Fred Thompson, the former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, whose six-foot, six-inch frame and rumbling baritone became a distinctive calling card in the court room, politics, and entertainment, died Sunday, November 1, 2015 in Nashville, surrounded by his wife Jeri and family. He was 73.

The cause of death was complications from non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Thompson was diagnosed with the disease in 2004 and had been in remission before it returned last year.

Thompson’s charisma, honesty, and unique background set him apart in American politics and his reputation as a dogged, detail-oriented lawyer put him at the center of several important moments for the United States. These moments would open the door to opportunities in politics, media, and entertainment. His plain-spoken and common-sense conservatism, informed by a federalist philosophy, would vault him into the Senate and consideration for the presidency.

Fred Dalton Thompson was born on August 19, 1942, in Sheffield, Alabama, before his family moved to Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. At the age of 17, Thompson married Sarah Elizabeth Lindsey (the marriage ended in 1985) and the couple had three children, Tony, Daniel, and Elizabeth (Betsy). Thompson worked two jobs to help support the family while he attended college, graduating from Memphis State University and earning a law degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
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A roundup of tributes to the late Sen. Fred Thompson

Collected comments on the passing of former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson:

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
“Very few people can light up the room the way Fred Thompson did. He used his magic as a lawyer, actor, Watergate counsel, and United States senator to become one of our country’s most principled and effective public servants. He was my friend for nearly fifty years. I will miss him greatly. Honey and I and our entire family send our love and sympathy to Jeri and the Thompson family.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
“Fred Thompson served the people of Tennessee and America with great honor and distinction … From the courtroom to Capitol Hill to Hollywood, his larger than life personality was infectious and had a way of making all of those around him strive to be better. Through his many different roles in public life, Fred never forgot where he came from, and our state and country miss his common sense approach to public service. I greatly appreciated his friendship and am saddened to learn of his passing. Elizabeth and I extend our thoughts and prayers to his wife, Jeri, the Thompson family and all those who were impacted by Fred’s life.”

Former Vice President Al Gore Jr.
“At a moment of history’s choosing, Fred’s extraordinary integrity while working with Senator Howard Baker on the Watergate Committee helped our nation find its way. I was deeply inspired by his matter-of-fact, no-nonsense moral courage in that crucible.”

Ryan Haynes, Tennessee GOP chairman
“The news of Senator Thompson’s passing gives me a heavy heart. This is a sad moment for all of us as our state has lost a larger-than-life figure. His quick wit, his hospitality, and his conservative beliefs reflected the best attributes of Tennessee. Senator Thompson was a statesman in every sense of the word. He will be missed as much for his friendship as he will for his leadership.”

Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
“Working at his side in the Senate for eight years, Fred embodied what has always been the best of Tennessee politics — he listened carefully and was happy to work across the aisle for causes that he believed were right.”

Craig Fitzhugh, state House Democratic leader
“Pam & I were sad to learn about the passing of Senator Fred Thompson. From his time as a young attorney on the Watergate Committee to his years in the United States Senate, Fred Thompson leaves behind an honorable legacy of public service. Our thoughts and prayers are with his entire family, especially his son Tony, during this difficult time.”
Continue reading

Former Sen. Fred Thompson dies aged 73

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Bouncing from politics to the big screen and back, Fred Thompson played many roles well and those who knew him say the folksy former U.S. senator won’t soon be forgotten for his impact on American life and the arts. He died Sunday at age 73.

A Tennessee-trained lawyer, prosecutor, hard-driving Senate counsel at the Watergate hearings, movie and TV actor and even a fleeting presidential hopeful, Thompson commanded audiences with a booming voice, outsized charisma and a 6-foot-6 frame.

“Very few people can light up the room the way Fred Thompson did,” said U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. “He used his magic as a lawyer, actor, Watergate counsel, and United States senator to become one of our country’s most principled and effective public servants.”

Thompson, who appeared in feature films and television, including a role on the NBC drama series “Law & Order,” died in Nashville after a recurrence of lymphoma, his family said.

Thompson appeared in at least 20 motion pictures. His credits include “In the Line of Fire,” ”The Hunt for Red October,” ”Die Hard II” and “Cape Fear.” By the early 1990s, Thompson said he had become bored with his 10-year stint in Hollywood and wanted to go into public service. That’s when he headed back to Nashville and embarked on a successful run for the Senate.
Continue reading

Fred Thompson does a TV ad for Lamar (radio, too)

News release from Lamar Alexander campaign:
Lamar Alexander’s campaign today announced the launch of TV and radio ads featuring former presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Fred Thompson endorsing him for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

The ads, which begin airing Wednesday, feature Thompson saying, “Lamar Alexander is a conservative United States senator who has earned re-election. … Look at his record.” Thompson goes on to describe Alexander’s record as governor balancing the state’s budget and leaving it with zero road debt. Thompson also highlights Alexander’s strong record on gun rights as a senator and his endorsements from National Right to Life and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The Thompson ad follows the release of a TV ad about Alexander fighting against the Obama administration acting like a de facto national school board, a TV ad showing Alexander sparring with President Obama over Obamacare, an endorsement ad featuring former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and a series of radio ads featuring community leaders across Tennessee.

Fred Thompson, Phil Bredesen join to back ‘Yes on 2″ in an op-ed piece

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and former Republican U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson have done a joint op-ed piece supporting a state constitutional amendment on judicial selection, coordinated with the launching of a public relations campaign for passage called “Yes on 2.” Here’s an excerpt from the article, as it appeared in The Tennessean.

While we come from different professional backgrounds and have represented different political parties through the years, one thing that clearly unites us is our love for Tennessee.

That is why we have come together to join Gov. Haslam as the co-chairs of the new Vote YES on 2 campaign to pass the Judicial Selection Amendment to Tennessee’s Constitution this fall.

Passing Amendment #2 will not only bring clarity and certainty to the way Tennesseans choose our Supreme Court justices and other appellate judges, but it also will add new accountability and a stronger voice for Tennessee voters in the selection process.

…Passing Amendment #2 will put an end to the questions and will help ensure we get the most qualified, diverse, fair and impartial judges that Tennesseans want and deserve.

Amendment #2 preserves the best parts of the current system while making it even better by adding new checks and balances and strengthening the voice of Tennesseans in the process.

It continues to trust our governor to appoint the most qualified persons as appellate court judges, while giving our elected representatives in the legislature the right to confirm or reject the governor’s appointments.

Most important, Amendment #2 protects the right of Tennesseans to vote to reject or retain the judges at the end of their respective terms.

Amendment #2 gives Tennesseans three powerful votes in the selection of our appellate judges:

• By voting for the governor, who will make the appointments.

• By voting for our state senators and representatives, who will confirm or reject the appointments.

• By voting to keep or fire the judges at the end of their respective terms.

By passing Amendment #2, the voice of the people will clearly be heard.