John Aylward, ‘West Wing’ and ‘ER’ actor, died aged 75

John Aylward, a character actor who appeared on shows including The West Wing and ER, died Monday night at his Seattle home. He was 75.

Aylward’s wife, Mary Fields, confirmed the actor’s death in a statement to his longtime agent, Mitchell K. Stubbs, Deadline reported.

“I was shocked. He was a wonderful actor and a phenomenal person,” Stubbs told the publication of the tragic news. “He was a dream client, a friend and a dream person.”

The exact cause of death was unclear; However, Aylward’s family reported that his health had deteriorated.

Born in Seattle on November 7, 1946, the playwright has had an eventful career spanning four decades and spanning dozens of roles on the small screen. Aylward is perhaps best known for interviewing the no-nonsense chief of staff, Dr. To play Donald Anspaugh on the hit NBC medical series ER. The actor’s role became less prominent after Anspaugh retired from his fictional role in Season 4, but he continued to appear sporadically as the character throughout the show’s 15th and final season.

Aylward also had a recurring role on the final season of NBC’s The West Wing as former DNC chairman Barry Goodwin, who served as advisor and transition manager for Matt Santos’ presidential campaign.

Aylward (center, with Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford) emerges "The western wing" Consequence "The wedding," which aired on December 11, 2005.
Aylward (center, with Allison Janney and Bradley Whitford) appears in The West Wing’s episode “The Wedding,” which aired December 11, 2005.
NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The actor has also appeared in a number of other hit television series including 3rd Rock From the Sun, Ally McBeal, The X-Files and Mad Men”, with more recent roles in “Shameless” and “Yellowstone”. In his last TV appearance, Aylward starred in the offbeat US crime drama Briarpatch, which aired in 2020.

In addition to his prolific small screen career, the Pacific Northwest native has also had several film appearances including The Way Back, The Crazies, “A million ways to die in the West,“Water for Elephants” and “Gangster Squad”.

Aylward’s friends and former colleagues were devastated by the actor’s loss.

“Very sad news indeed,” ER co-star Noah Wyle commented in an Instagram post announcing his death. “John was a great actor, a gentleman and a wonderful friend. He will be missed.”

Aylward’s talent agency MKS also mourned the actor’s death on Twitter and wrote: “Received a devastating phone call from Mary Fields, wife of John Aylward. This kind man and wonderful actor has left us. Very grateful to have known and worked with you, sir. REST IN PEACE.” John Aylward, ‘West Wing’ and ‘ER’ actor, died aged 75

Dais Johnston

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