Getting to Know Fred Thompson

NAME: Fred Dalton Thompson

AGE, BIRTH DATE, LOCATION: 65; August 19, 1942; Sheffield, Ala.

EXPERIENCE: Actor, 1987-2007; Tennessee Senator, 1994-2003; attorney, Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn, 1991-94; Tennessee Appellate Court Nominating Commission, 1985-87; special counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, 1982; special counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 1980-81; special counsel to Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, 1980; attorney in private practice, 1975-94; minority counsel to the Senate Watergate committee, 1973-74; Assistant U.S. attorney, 1969-72; lawyer, private practice, 1967-69.

EDUCATION: B.S., Memphis State University, 1964; JD, Vanderbilt University, 1967.

FAMILY: Divorced and remarried; five children, one deceased.

QUOTE: "Republicans have to realize that not only do we have to do things differently and better as a country, we need to do things differently and better as a party." — August 2007, interview, The Associated Press.

A few things you might not know about Fred Thompson:

INTERESTING NOTE: Thompson had just turned 17 in 1959 when he married his pregnant girlfriend, Sarah Lindsey, and lived in public housing for a year. His wife later taught school and he worked at a bicycle plant, a post office and a motel, among other jobs, to pay his way through Memphis State University and Vanderbilt University law school. They divorced in 1985.

A SMALL DETAIL: President Nixon was upset with Tennessee Sen. Howard Baker's selection of Thompson as Republican counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee, complaining that Democrats on the committee would take the 30-year-old Thompson "in like Flynn." Baker, however, assured Nixon that Thompson was "mean" enough to stand up to the Democrats.

THOMPSON'S CHALLENGE: His late entry into the 2008 presidential race leaves him far behind his Republican rivals in fundraising, endorsements and organization.

CAREER NOTE: Thompson initially supported former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander for president in 2000, switching his allegiance to Arizona Sen. John McCain after Alexander dropped out and becoming McCain's national co-chair. All three — Thompson, Alexander and McCain — were on George W. Bush's list of potential running mates.

PERSONAL: After being divorced for nearly two decades, Thompson remarried in 2002 and started a second family. Daughter Hayden was born in 2003 and son Samuel in 2006. He has three children — one deceased — from his first marriage, and seven grandchildren.

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