Scoop: Sen. Fred Thompson, had TV and film roles, dead at 73

Former Sen. Fred Thompson, a folksy former Republican U.S. senator from Tennessee who appeared in feature films and television including a role on "Law & Order," died Sunday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Fred Thompson, a folksy former Republican U.S. senator from Tennessee who appeared in feature films and television including a role on “Law & Order,” died Sunday, his family said.

He was 73.

Thompson, at 6-foot-6 with a booming voice, 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 launched his Senate campaign.

The family statement said Thompson died Sunday in Nashville following a recurrence of lymphoma. It added he was surrounded by his family.

“It is with a heavy heart and a deep sense of grief that we share the passing of our brother, father and grandfather who died peacefully in Nashville,” the statement added. “Fred was the same man on the floor of the Senate, the movie studio, or the town square of … his home.”

Thompson, a lawyer, alternated between politics and acting much of his adult life. Once regarded as a rising star in the Senate, he retired from that seat when his term expired in January 2003, saying he didn’t have the drive for another term.

“I simply do not have the heart for another six-year term,” Thompson said in a written statement at the time.

However, he returned to politics in 2007 by announcing that he would seek the Republican presidential nomination. Dogged by accusations he was not a hard worker, he dropped out in January 2008 after faring poorly in the early caucuses and primaries.

More movies flop

Sandra Bullock’s political satire “Our Brand Is Crisis” and Bradley Cooper’s chef drama “Burnt” added to a pileup of flops at the box office, where new wide releases have gone a startling 0-for-9 in the last two weeks.

After five movies failed to draw moviegoers last week, Hollywood whiffed again over the Halloween weekend as four new movies went largely ignored in favor of trick-or-treating. The “60 Minutes II” scandal drama “Truth,” with Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford, expanding nationwide, and the horror comedy “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” added to a plague of empty theaters.

Happy birthday

Actor-singer Kendall Schmidt (“Big Time Rush”) is 25. … Guitarist Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie is 40. … Actress Meta Golding (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) is 44. … Actor David Schwimmer is 49.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.

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