John Aylward, known for his roles in ‘ER’ and ‘West Wing’, dies at 75


He was 75 years old.

Aylward died Monday of natural causes, Stubbs told CNN.

“He was a wonderful actor and a phenomenal human being,” Stubbs said.

Alyward, a Seattle native, was best known for playing the stern but fair Dr. Donald Anspaugh on NBC’s “ER” and Barry Goodwin on “The West Wing.”

Aylward graduated from the University of Washington School of Drama in 1971, according to the school’s website. He worked mainly in theater for 15 years before moving to the small and big screen, the site also indicates.

Among his early credits is a recurring role on “Northern Exposure.” Other work included roles on shows like “Family Law,” “The Practice,” and “Mad Men.”

Aylward appeared in more than 70 episodes of “ER” over the show’s 15 seasons. Thanks to this, especially at the height of the show’s popularity, when it regularly drew around 30 million viewers a week, Aylward became a highly recognizable face.

In an interview with The Seattle Times at the end of the show, Aylward described the investment fans had in the show.

“When I was doing ‘Death of a Salesman’ at ACT (in 1998), I was still frequently appearing on ‘ER,’ and that was right after the season in which Anspaugh’s son died. That was on a Monday (a non-day for theater actors), and I was in the checkout line at the grocery store, and this woman came running up to me and said, ‘Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you, I’ve been out of the country.. …what happened to your son? And I said, ‘Oh, he’s dead,'” Aylward told the newspaper. “The lady says ‘Oh, no!’ and I said, “Yeah, we buried his ass last week!” and the girl checking groceries turned as white as a sheet, so I had to stop and say, “We’re talking about ‘a TV show!’ I could tell she was thinking, ‘Who is this obnoxious man talking about the death of his child like that.'”

Roles in the TV shows “Briarpatch” and “Yellowstone” were among Alyward’s final credits.


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