West Wing actor dies

John Spencer, who played Leo McGarry on the NBC drama The West Wing, died Friday in a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a heart attack, Associated Press reports. He was a week shy of his 59th birthday.

Spencer won an Emmy for his portrayal of Leo McGarry, the White House Chief of Staff under President Jeb Bartlet (Martin Sheen) on the long-running drama The West Wing. In a bitter irony, the character of McGarry suffered a heart attack in the 2004 season, which caused him to leave his White House post. In the current season, Democratic hopeful Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) picked McGarry to be his vice presidential running mate.

Spencer was born John Speshock on December 20, 1946, in the industrial city of Paterson, New Jersey, to working-class parents. As a child he attended the prestigious Professional Children's High School in New York City, where he fostered his love of acting. After landing a teenage role in The Patty Duke Show, he went on to perform in theater, winning an Obie Award in 1981 for the play Still Life. Later he moved into films such as the Harrison Ford thriller Presumed Innocent and the Sean Connery action flick The Rock. He was a series regular on L.A. Law, playing the role of hard-bitten New York attorney Tommy Mullaney.

Both Spencer and his West Wing character McGarry were recovering alcoholics. In a 2000 interview, Spencer drew parallels to his character, saying, "Like Leo, I've always been a workaholic, too."

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Spencer and Leo will be dearly missed. My prayers are with you.....
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that's really sad. he seemed like a cool guy and great actor.
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one of the greatest actors there were.. rip john
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What a loss for all of us. I always felt Leo's connection with Josh included me, too. My thoughts are with his family and friends. He will be missed.
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God Bless you and your family.
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Everyone dies eventually more sarcastic people could say that life is a terminal disease, with 100% death rate... =)

Spencer was a good actor, saw him in The Rock, and been watching West Wing for ages. The question is how the show will handle his death? I doubt that they have already filmed the next episodes already, meaning the series will get a "heart attack" seriously distrupting the flow of the story. This is now a make or break moment for the show, many of those who used to watch WW will tune in again for few episodes. They have been given a chance to revive WW or to kill it for good.

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John was an excellent actor, and will be truly missed by many. I never watched LA Law, but I did like his work in Presumed Innocent, and when I saw The Rock, I remembered instantly and knew I would be pleased. I did not come to West Wing at the beginning, but in season two, after hearing that he and other wonderful actors were doing quality work. He is irreplacable, and I think it is a good thing for West Wing that it was already ending.
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Thank you John Spencer. You will live forever in our hearts.
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A great sadness, a classic American actor, best wishes to his family and all who will miss him as we all do.
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I was so very sad to see that John spencer had passed away. He will be missed by the fans who knew him simply as "Leo". My prayers are with his family, friends, and co-stars during this hard time. Rest In Peace Mr. Spencer, you will be missed.
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I'm very sorry to hear this, my condolences to his family and castmates. A great loss...
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I am truly sad that John Spencer has died. Although I have never met him, I know he was a wonderful person. There is nothing that could describe my sorrow better than this WW quote:"The streets of heaven are crouded with angels tonight; They are our brothers, sisters,teachers, firemen". Rest in Peace John Spencer. Navik on živi ki zgine pošteno.
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John was a consummate actor,a standout in an excellent cast on the West Wing.He never overacted,was always Right There.I also loved his work on LA Law.He will be missed.
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As a actor John Spencer could bring laughter or tears,how sad we should be not to know the man.
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rip
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One of the best actors on TV or Film John will be sadly missed
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Only the good die young
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John Spencer had a history on NBC. He appeared in a very early episode of Law & Order. His West Wing character was intelligent and empathetic; I remember in the episode Noel he was the one who reached out to Josh (who had PTSD from being shot) because he knew what it was like to need help.
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I enjoyed thoroughly watching Mr Spencer in The West Wing and many movies.

He will be missed beyond words not only by myself but all his fans.

My condolences go to the cast of West Wing and most of all to his family.

I have not seen an actor of his ability and probably never will again. He brought life not only to his characters but to many others.

You will be missed.

May God carry you to a place that you deserve and may God protect those left behind in this sad time.
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A great actor who was the glue that kept the West Wing together. It will be hard to watch that show knowing that Mr. Spencer won't be returning. My heart goes out to the family. RIP
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A great actor who had developed a great character on the West Wing. He was the glue that kept that show together. My heart goes out to his family. R.I.P.
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A great actor who had developed a great character on the West Wing. He was the glue that kept that show together. My heart goes out to his family. R.I.P.
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A great actor who had developed a great character on the West Wing. He was the glue that kept that show together. My heart goes out to his family. R.I.P.
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Thank you, Mr. Spencer.

R.I.P.
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Every day counts. John made the best of his days here.
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R.I.P John, your work speaks for it's self, will be missed by many.
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RIP
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It's sad that someone so young as John Spencer was, dies from something like this. I liked John Spencer as an actor, and I loved Leo McGarry as a character. He will be sorely missed, and extremely hard to replace on the show. I doubt that the Santos/McGarry campaign can win the election after writing McGarry out of the show.
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A very Sad loss indeed. He was one of my favorite actors in my favorite show. I wonder what will happen with the show now that he's gone, although his role was kinda downgraded in recent seasons.
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I'm not old enough for L.A. Law, but my first appreciation of John Spencer was from his work in The Rock. He was one of the reasons I watched The West Wing. John Spencer will truly be missed.
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Rest In Peace. A great loss to all of us, lovers of good television. My condolences to his family and friends.
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I was simply devastated to hear of John's passing. He was simply a wonderful actor.

Heaven is too crowded with angels tonight!

R.I.P. John, you will be sorely missed!
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Una perdida muy grande. Vivamos recordandolo como un actor que supo encarnar grandes personajes.
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He will be missed. :(
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Definitely one of the best actors of our time left us yesterday. RIP John, you'll be missed!
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The death of John Spencer saddends me deeply. I was looking forward to VP McGarry arranging a bigger and better "big block of cheese day".

Thank you for gracing our screens with your talents, John, you will be sorely missed.
RIP
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Thank you, Mr. Spenser, for your excellent contribution to West Wing. You made the show worth watching. As old wine, you brought class to the show. I can't imagine how they will go on without you. You will be missed.
My thoughts to your family and fellow actors on this sad day. Rest assure that your life has brought joy to many. That is an accomplishment to be proud of.
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I can't belive what I'm reading. John was such a talented and passionate individual, and his work will live forever on screen. You'll be remembered, John, always!!

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I don't think the West Wing could have been such a succes without the warmth and humanity that John Spencer brought to the show. He was such an important part in making the show feel real, and the connection between him and Martin Sheen felt so amazingly real.
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This has been a bad bad month for me I have lost three of my favorite entertainers all of them to heart attacks but this one hits home the most. I much like many others invited John Spencer into my home every week since West Wing Started It will be hard to watch now with him gone I wanted to see Leo as VP very very badly.
It is so sad when the world is robbed of a great actor. Aside from Leo on West Wing my favorite role of his was in the rock I thought he performed beautifully.

Thank you John Spencer for the countless hours of entertainment you gave me and many others may you rest in Peace.
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Shocking, very shocking. He was a great actor and he will be missed.
He played he's role on the west wing good and it's just sad that it happened.

R.I.P. John
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So appaulingly sad, and ironic. I only really knew Leo, so my first thought was how sad we won't see him a vice-president, but obviously my thoughts are with all his family and friends.
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John Spencer was a great man who like his character on the West Wing battled Alcohol and won. Watching the West Wing will never be the same, here's to you John
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Rest in peace. John Spencer was a great actor, and sadly he died too young. He will be missed.
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Simply terrible. John Spencer was the reason I tuned into "The West Wing" to begin with--he was the boss we all wish we had, the Chief of Staff we would wish for the country. As an actor, Spencer never came remotely close to receiving the accolates that were his due; he belongs with M. Emmett Walsh and Gene Hackman and their ilk, in that any time he appeared, we always knew there would be at least one good thing that would justify watching. His work in "Presumed Innocent," "Sea of Love," and "The Rock" flew under the radar: it seemed to come so easy to him, who could really focus on how good he was? It was nice to see him get his due, finally, as Leo McGarrey. A great actor, a tremendous talent. Raise a glass, people, even if it's only club soda. Make mine a scotch. RIP.
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Sad news to hear that such a wonderful and classy actor has passed away so soon. My thoughts go out to his family and friends.
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What a great actor. RIP
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*cries* How will the show even go on without him? I'm gunna miss him! Hope his family knows how much we loved him!!!
~Christen~
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This is a sad day indeed.
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He was an amazing and incredibly gifted actor. He will truly be missed not only by his family and friends but also by the millions of fans he has all around the world.

We'll miss you very much John! Rest in Peace.
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