John Spencer, Emmy Award-Winning ‘West Wing’ Actor, Dies

Dec 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Emmy Award-winning actor John Spencer of NBC’s “The West Wing” died from a heart attack in Los Angeles Friday morning. He was 58.

Mr. Spencer won an Emmy Award in 2002 for his role as Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the presidential drama “West Wing” but was also known to TV audiences for his work on the 1980’s legal drama “L.A. Law” and the short-lived family series “Trinity.”

A prolific actor, Mr. Spencer appeared in numerous feature films, including “The Negotiator,” “Cop Land,” “The Rock,” “Forget Paris,” “Green Card,” “Sea of Love” and “Presumed Innocent.” His first role on television was as Patty Duke’s teenage boyfriend on the 1960s classic “The Patty Duke Show.” A New Jersey native, Mr. Spencer was also a stage actor, winning an Obie Award in 1981 for his role as a Vietnam vet in the play “Still Life.”

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend John Spencer,” NBC and Warner Bros. Television, which produces “West Wing,” said in a statement. “John was a remarkable man with enormous talent and beloved by everyone who had the privilege of working with him on ‘The West Wing.’ Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this most difficult time.”

“John was a wonderful actor, a pleasure to work with and a true gentleman, but most importantly, a generous and gracious friend,” said “West Wing” executive producer John Wells in a statement.

“We feel privileged to have known him and worked with him,” executive producers Tommy Schlamme and Aaron Sorkin said in a statement. “He’ll be missed and remembered every day by his many, many friends.”