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General information  

  • Real name : John Speshock
  • Place of birth : Paterson
  • Date of birth : 20/12/1946
  • Date of death : 16/12/2005

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  • Spencer John

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John Spencer (1946)

John Speshock

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  Summary  

John Spencer (December 20, 1946 – December 16, 2005) was an American film and television actor. He was most widely known for playing White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the NBC political drama series The West Wing, which earned him an Emmy Award in 2002.

  Biography  

 early life
Spencer was born as John Speshock, Jr. in New York City, and raised in Totowa, New Jersey. He was the son of blue-collar parents Mildred (née Bincarowski), a waitress, and John Speshock, Sr., a truck driver. Spencer was of Irish and Rusyn / Ukrainian descent. With his enrollment at the Professional Children's School in Manhattan in 1963, Spencer found himself sharing classes with such fellow students as Liza Minnelli and violinist Pinchas Zukerman. He attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, but did not complete a degree. Spencer often referred to himself as a "dyed-in-the-wool liberal" and described Franklin Delano Roosevelt as one of his heroes.

 career
Spencer began his television career on The Patty Duke Show, and eventually began appearing in supporting roles in feature films commencing with 1983's WarGames. He won an Obie Award for the 1981 off Broadway production of Still Life, about a Vietnam War veteran, and received a Drama Desk nomination for "The Day Room." He became a full-fledged supporting actor with the 1990 courtroom thriller Presumed Innocent, starring opposite Harrison Ford. The same year, Spencer joined the cast of the television series L.A. Law, playing rumpled, pugnacious associate attorney Tommy Mullaney. Spencer's work also extended to video games, portraying the role of Captain Hugh Paulsen in the 1995 video game Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom.

From 1999 until his death in 2005, Spencer was cast in the role of White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the NBC political drama series The West Wing. Both Spencer and his character were recovering alcoholics. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2002, after being judged on the show's third season episodes "Bartlet for America" and "We Killed Yamamoto".

 death
Spencer died of a heart attack in a Los Angeles hospital on December 16, 2005, four days before his 59th birthday. At Spencer's private funeral, his West Wing co-star Kristin Chenoweth sang the musical number "For Good" from the hit Broadway musical Wicked. Spencer's remains were interred at Laurel Grove Memorial Park in his hometown of Totowa, New Jersey. In a strange twist of fate, his West Wing character Leo McGarry had already suffered a life-threatening heart attack in the show's sixth season episode "The Birnam Wood". At the time of his death, Spencer had filmed two of the five West Wing episodes that were in post-production: "Running Mates" and "The Cold". Spencer's death was subsequently written into the final season of the show, when McGarry died of a heart attack on election night. Spencer's name remained in the opening credits of the final season of the show.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "John Spencer (actor)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.