BRIAN PERRY/Snowden recalls Thompson

Mississippi House Speaker Pro Tempore Greg Snowden (R-Meridian) worked for Thompson in 1977 as a law clerk. “I was there when his acting career began,” Snowden said.

Thompson represented Marie Ragghianti who had served as Chairman of the Tennessee Parole Board. But the man who appointed her, Democrat Governor Ray Blanton, had been taking bribes for pardons and paroles and when she found out, she opposed Blanton and voted against his wishes. The governor’s machine began investigating her and trumping up charges. Ragghianti went to Thompson for help. They won their cases in what became a public scandal for Blanton. When Peter Mass – writer of Serpico – wrote Ragghianti’s story, Hollywood came calling about turning it into a movie. Thompson, representing his client, worked with producers to get the story straight and agreed to be an extra in the movie. Sissy Spacek was cast as the lead in “Marie, a True Story” but after some struggles to cast the character of Fred Thompson, they turned to the person Fred Thompson. The movie premiered in 1985.

According to Snowden, and other published reports of those who knew him, Thompson essentially continued to play himself in every subsequent role.

“Fred was always kind and steady,” said Snowden, “The guy you saw on screen was very much the man he was. In politics and in movies, what you see is what you got with Fred.”

Madison County Journal
11/4/15