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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 12/16/2005 4:25:15 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/16/2005 5:00:58 PM EST by crazyhorse705]

John Spencer played VP candidate Leo McGarry on hit show

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- John Spencer, who played a dedicated politico on "The West Wing" who survived a serious illness to run for vice president, died of a heart attack Friday, his publicist said.

Spencer, 58, died at a Los Angeles hospital, said publicist Ron Hofmann. He would have been 59 next week.

Spencer played Leo McGarry, the chief of staff to President Jeb Bartlet (Martin Sheen) through the first few seasons of the NBC series. In a sad parallel to life, his character suffered a heart attack that forced him to give up his White House job.

The character recovered and was picked as a running mate for Democratic presidential contender Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits; the campaign has been a central theme this season for the drama.

Spencer, who also starred on "L.A. Law" as attorney Tommy Mullaney, received an Emmy Award for his performance on "The West Wing" in 2002 and was nominated four other times for the drama.

The actor mirrored his character in several ways: both were recovering alcoholics and both, Spencer once said, were driven.

"Like Leo, I've always been a workaholic, too," he told The Associated Press in a 2000 interview. "Through good times and bad, acting has been my escape, my joy, my nourishment. The drug for me, even better than alcohol, was acting."

Spencer grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of blue-collar parents. With his enrollment at the Professional Children's School in Manhattan, he was sharing classes with the likes of Liza Minnelli and budding violinist Pinchas Zukerman.

As a teenager, Spencer landed a recurring role on "The Patty Duke Show" as the boyfriend of English twin Cathy. Stage and film work followed. Then his big break: playing Harrison Ford's detective sidekick in the 1990 courtroom thriller "Presumed Innocent." That role led to his hiring for the final four years of "L.A. Law."

Service and funeral arrangements were pending, Hofmann said.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 4:33:32 PM EST
He was a good actor.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 4:39:04 PM EST
Wow. I always thought he did good work.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 4:41:14 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/17/2005 9:48:21 AM EST by crazyhorse705]
it was so sudden and so unexpected.i always thought he was a good actor.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 4:41:55 PM EST
Outstanding actor. He WAS Leo.

I'm a West Wing junkie. Being polically aware it's easy to avoid getting sucked into the propaganda (it's usually laughable to someone who knows the truth) and enjoy it for being a character driven drama.

Since I've been on the road I've not kept up with the new season (been watching the first 4 on DVD) but am aware of the story line. I can only imagine this is going to throw the production into utter chaos.

I had no idea he was only 58.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:01:22 PM EST
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:02:32 PM EST

Originally Posted By Airwolf:
I had no idea he was only 58.

The booze will do that to you, I'm afraid

God rest his soul
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:03:34 PM EST

he was funny as tommy on LA LAW
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:08:45 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/16/2005 5:10:05 PM EST by C-4]
He was awesome as Det. Lipranzer in this little gem:

Sad to see him go.
Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:11:28 PM EST
Sad to see him go, my prayers are with his family.

I loved him on West Wing, he was always the rock of stability. He cannot be replaced on that show.

Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:20:06 PM EST
Dunno who he is, as I've never watched a single episode of "The Left Wing"

Link Posted: 12/16/2005 5:22:09 PM EST
I always enjoyed his performances. He will be missed.
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 9:42:26 AM EST
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 9:46:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By crazyhorse705:
yeah when it broke i was in the kitchen doing dishes mom told me and i dropped a plate. it was so sudden and so unexpected.i always thought he was a good actor.

That's a little dramatic.
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 9:48:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/17/2005 9:49:16 AM EST by sharky30]
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 11:48:46 AM EST
He did good work. Too bad he's gone.
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