Video: Was Thompson the debate’s star?

updated 10/11/2007 2:59:45 PM ET 2007-10-11T18:59:45

Fred Thompson has had a varied career as lawyer, politician and lobbyist, but it's his acting that has proven to be most lucrative.

The former Tennessee senator who became a regular on NBC's "Law & Order" playing a no-nonsense district attorney has made millions from television and movie roles.

A personal financial disclosure report that Thompson, a Republican presidential candidate, filed with the Federal Election Commission this week shows that he earned at least $2.5 million and as much as $16 million in residual payments and performance contracts between January 2006 and last month.

Presidential candidates must file the reports with the FEC and the Office of Government Ethics. Other candidates have submitted their reports, but Thompson only officially entered the race last month. The reports are not precise, requiring filers to reveal their assets and income in broad dollar ranges.

Thompson's report lists assets between $2.5 million and $8.5 million, including a Washington condominium and an investment account.

Besides the acting income, Thompson also reported working for London-based Equitas Inc., a firm set up by Lloyd's of London to help reinsure claims on certain policies written by Lloyd's up through 1992.

According to lobbying reports filed with the U.S. Senate, Equitas paid Thompson $180,000 in 2006 to lobby Congress on asbestos-related legislation. He also lobbied on the firm's behalf in 2004 and 2005.

He also was paid more than $100,000 for a speech to a conservative think thank in London.

Thompson is most commonly known to television viewers as "Law & Order's" crusty New York district attorney Arthur Branch, but some of his roles have actually put him in the White House.

He portrayed President Grant in the recently aired HBO film "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee," and played a fictional president in the movie "Last Best chance," and a White House chief of staff in "In the Line of Fire."

Among all presidential candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is the wealthiest, reporting assets of between $190 million and $250 million.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani reported earlier this year that he made $11 million in speeches in 2006. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards reported that he and his wife held $29.5 million in assets.

Bill and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton this year liquidated a blind trust they held that was worth $5 million-$25 million.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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