A man falls down a hole and can't get out.-- Leo McGarry (John Spencer) to Josh Lyman (Brad Whitford), The West Wing, "Noel" 20 Dec 2000
A doctor walks by and the man shouts, "Hey! I'm stuck down here. Can you help me?" The doctor writes out a prescription, tosses it down and walks away.
A little later a priest walks by. The man shouts up again, "Help! I'm down here and can't get out." The priest says a prayer and walks off.
Later still a friend walks by. The man shouts, "Hey, Joe! I'm down in this hole and can't get out." The friend jumps down into the hole.
The man says, "Why did you do a stupid thing like that? Now we are both stuck down here." The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been here before and I know the way out."
*sigh* John Spencer died yesterday of a heart attack, in Los Angeles. He would have been 59 next week. You'll recognize John as the police chief over Sam Jackson in The Negotiator, as the FBI director Sean Connery dangles off a balcony by a clothesline in The Rock, and as the Air Force missile silo operator who wouldn't turn his key in the opening of War Games. He is certainly best known as Leo McGarry.
It's been written that Aaron Sorkin some of John's own background into Leo's character. Both are recovering alcoholics of Irish descent. Though Aaron has said he wrote Leo to be the man John wished he could be. A great character needs a good writer to lay the foundation, but the character gains depth and substance from the quality of the performance. John was part of a cast that has inspired as well as entertained many, many people, myself included. We are reminded that the people we elect, and the staffs they hire, are usually human, even when we violently disagree with them. We're reminded how hard the politics of compromise are. And when real life does not measure up to the television fantasy, we are reminded of what it can be, if only we have the will to do our part to make it happen.
And of course, we're reminded of the breadth and depth of friendship.
Apparently, West Wing hasn't wrapped for the year. A vice presidential candidate with a heart condition had been a campaign issue. It's going to be interesting, now that they're forced to address that. I only hope that they will handle it with as much magnificence as Mrs. Landingham...
Finally, what son of Chicago would I be if I didn't recall one last tidbit about Leo...
"You're scared of Babish."-- Leo McGarry (John Spencer), Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), The West Wing "Bad Moon Rising" 2001
"Oh, like you're not."
"No, because we are both men of Chicago."
"What is it with people from Chicago, they're so happy to have been born there? I meet so many people who can't wait to tell me they're from Chicago, and when I meet them they're living anywhere but Chicago."
"You wouldn't understand."
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