Leo McGarry-RIP

This is one of the biggest loses this country has suffered since Reagan died. He was the best Chief of Staff this country has ever had and would have made a great Vice President. He was a war hero, then one of the most sucessful lawyers in LA and got one of greatest Presidents’ elected. He has done more for this country than most people will ever know and I will miss seeing him 24 weeks a year. I hope he will live on forever in reruns and on DVD.

Some of my favorite scenes:

This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.

A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on

Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.’


“You got a best friend? Is he smarter than you? Would you trust him with your life? That’s your Chief of Staff.”


“This is the time of Jed Bartlet, old friend. You’re gonna open your mouth and lift houses off the ground. Whole houses, clear off the ground.”

Whole houses, clear off the ground.


I like the little things. The way a glass feels in your hand, a good glass – thick, with a heavy base. I love the sound an ice cube makes when you drop it from just the right height. Too high, and it will chip when you drop it. Chip the ice and it will melt too fast in the Scotch.

I’m an alcoholic. I don’t have one drink. I don’t understand people who have one drink. I don’t understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don’t understand people who say they’ve had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently.

That’s because you think it has something to do with smart and stupid. Do you have any idea how many alcoholics are in Mensa? You think it’s a lack of willpower? That’s like thinking somebody with anorexia nervosa has an overdeveloped sense of vanity. My father was an alcoholic. His father was an alcoholic.


“If you ever told me to get aggressive about anything, I’d say I serve at the pleasure of
the President. But we’ll never know, sir, because I don’t think you’re ever gonna
say it.”
“I have said it, and nothing’s every happened!”
"You want to see me orchestrate this right now? You want to see me mobilize these people? These people who would walk into fire if you told them to. These people who showed up to lead. These people who showed up to fight. That guy gets death threats because he’s black and he dates your daughter. He was warned: “Do not show up to this place. You’re life will be in danger.” He said, “To hell with that, I’m going anyway.” You said, “No.” Prudent, or not prudent, this 21 year old for 600 dollars a
week says, “I’m going where I want to because a man stands up.” "

Dear John Spencer,
Thank you for Leo.
He was the great boss we all wished we had.
He was the loyal friend we all wished we had.
He was the principled, courageous, compassionate political leader we all wished we had.
What a great gift to us.

Actual obit:
LOS ANGELES - John Spencer, who played a dedicated politico on “The West Wing” who survived a serious illness to run for vice president, died of a heart attack Friday, his publicist said. Spencer, 58, died at a Los Angeles hospital, said publicist Ron Hofmann. He would have been 59 next week.

Spencer played Leo McGarry, the chief of staff to President Jeb Bartlet ( Martin Sheen) through the first few seasons of the NBC series. In a sad parallel to life, his character suffered a heart attack that forced him to give up his White House job.

The character recovered and was picked as a running mate for Democratic presidential contender Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits; the campaign has been a central theme this season for the drama.

Spencer, who also starred on “L.A. Law” as attorney Tommy Mullaney, received an Emmy Award for his performance on “The West Wing” in 2002 and was nominated four other times for the drama.

The actor mirrored his character in several ways: both were recovering alcoholics and both, Spencer once said, were driven.

“Like Leo, I’ve always been a workaholic, too,” he told The Associated Press in a 2000 interview. “Through good times and bad, acting has been my escape, my joy, my nourishment. The drug for me, even better than alcohol, was acting.”

Spencer grew up in Paterson, N.J., the son of blue-collar parents. With his enrollment at the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan, he was sharing classes with the likes of Liza Minnelli and budding violinist Pinchas Zukerman.

As a teenager, Spencer landed a recurring role on “The Patty Duke Show” as the boyfriend of English twin Cathy. Stage and film work followed. Then his big break: playing Harrison Ford’s detective sidekick in the 1990 courtroom thriller “Presumed Innocent.” That role led to his hiring for the final four years of “L.A. Law.”

Saw that he’d passed when I got online Saturday morning. Very sad. He was my favorite character on that show.

I was wondering where they’d go from here, if they’d write him passing into the script or just keep him out of the story line for the remaining episodes to be taped. I figure this is the last season so they have some flexibility.

Very sad.