Saturday, December 17, 2005

John Spencer AKA Leo McGarry has Died

American actor John Spencer aka Leo McGarry from The West Wing and Tommy Mullaney from LA Law has died from a heart attack at the age of 58.

I know many Lib Dems are fans of the West Wing, indeed some of my local party discussed the latest series (only number 6 here in the UK) after our AGM. However, John was also a fan of the Liberal Democrats in fact a signed message of support hangs in Scottish party headquarters.

However, with season 7 of the West Wing still in production it means there will have to be a sudden plot line change for the remainder of the season, especially as Leo's character is fairly central to this year's run.

Sadly his death is a case of life inmitating art at the end of the second episode of season 6 Birnam Wood John's charater Leo has a heart attack in the grounds of Camp David. Unlike Leo who recovered to take part in the campaign of Jed Bartlett's successor John has not been so lucky.

Alison Janney who currently plays Chief of Staff, and former Press Secreatry, C. J. Cregg said:

"John was a consummate professional actor and everyone adored him. We will miss him deeply."

Bradley Whitford who played Deputy Chief of Staff and now Santos/McGarry Campaign manager Josh Lyman said:

"I can't believe that he is gone; We have all lost a dear, dear brother."

The shows creator Aaron Sorkin and oringinal executive producer Tommy Schlamme paid tribute as well by saying:

"We're shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden death of our friend and colleague.

"John was an uncommonly good man, an exceptional role model and a brilliant actor. We feel privileged to have known him and worked with him. He'll be missed and remembered every day by his many, many friends."

This is my favourite Leo McGarry quote which sums up the charater of the man, there is a crisis going down but he has spotted that the New York times has messed up in its crossword has not spelt Ghadaffi's name wrong to fit the grid nor given it enough letters for the clue.

Leo McGarry: [on the phone with the New York Times from the Chief of Staff's Office next door to the Oval Office] 17 across. Yes, 17 across is wrong. ...You're spelling his name wrong. ...What's my name? My name doesn't matter. I am just an ordinary citizen who relies on the Times crossword for stimulation. And I'm telling you that I met the man twice. And I recommended a pre-emptive missle strike against his air force, so I think I know how...

C.J. Cregg: Leo!

Leo: They hang up on me every time!

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