WASHINGTON, DC—Veteran character actor and Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson expressed worries to reporters Tuesday that a successful White House bid could spell "total career death."

"It would be nice to get away from the FBI agent and district attorney roles—that's why I eventually decided to try out for the Oval Office part—but would being forced to play presidents for the rest your life be that much better?" said Thompson, whose résumé includes Law & Order, Die Hard 2, U.S. senator from 1994 to 2003, and Baby's Day Out. "Sure, you don't want to turn down work, and  it'd be a solid four-to-eight-year gig, but after that I'd always be known as 'that politician guy.' Look what happened to Reagan—he never worked again."

Recent polls have placed Thompson among the GOP frontrunners, with many voters citing the value of his experience as U.S. president in the 2005 docudrama Last Best Chance.