Monday, December 19, 2005

Leo has left the building

I know it's been a few days, but I still want to acknowledge with sadness the passing of John Spencer, who played White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on The West Wing. A consummate actor who added thoughtful gravitas to a show that sometimes becomes a skosh overfond of its own wit, Spencer will be greatly missed.

The irony in Spencer's character's survival of a massive heart attack on the show is not lost on me. On occasion, life not only imitates art, but exceeds it.

I first remember Spencer as the rough-edged, morally flexible attorney Tommy Mullaney in the waning seasons of L.A. Law. The series had outlived its usefulness by the time Spencer arrived, but his grounded portrayal of a realistically grungy tough guy amid the parade of slick Hollywood lightweights almost made L.A. Law's last years worth watching. Almost.

It remains to be seen how The West Wing, in whose current season Democratic insider McGarry was running for the vice presidency, will negotiate around Spencer's death. Hopefully, the writers and producers will treat the matter with dignity.

The man who lent so much of that quality to the show deserves that.

2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

Also weird and eerie is that the paper listed his bday today. I guess the issue went to print before they could take it out...

6:20 PM  
Anonymous Donna offered these pearls of wisdom...

In this case, NBC's network executives & the show's screenwriters don't have the final word. Only God up above has the final call on the outcome of a season finale. I'll miss "Leo"; he's been one of my favorite characters on the show. He'll be appearing nightly in heaven from now on.

4:10 PM  

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