John Aylward, a character actor who appeared on shows including “The West Wing” and “ER,” died Monday evening at his home in Seattle. He was 75 years old.
As Deadline reports, Aylward’s wife, Mary Fields, married her longtime agent, Michelle K. confirmed the actor’s death in a statement to Stubbs.
“I was stunned. He was an amazing actor and a phenomenal human being,” Stubbs told the sad news outlet. “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 was deteriorating.
Born in Seattle on November 7, 1946, the playwright boasts an illustrious career spanning four decades and has included dozens of roles on the small screen. Aylward is perhaps best known for playing the no-nonsense Chief of Staff Dr. Donald Anspuff in the NBC medical drama “ER”. The actor’s role became less prominent after Unspawn stepped down from his fictional gig in Season 4, but he continued to make sporadic appearances as a character through the show’s 15th and final season.
Aylward also had a recurring role on the previous season of NBC’s “The West Wing” as former DNC president Barry Goodwin, who served as advisor and transition leader for Matt Santos’ presidential campaign.
The actor also appeared in other hit TV series including “Three Rocks from the Sun,” “Allie McBeal,” “The X-Files” and “Mad.” Maine,” “Shameless” and “Yellowstone.” In his end credits TV performance, Aylward starred in the offbeat USA crime drama “Bryerpatch,” which aired in 2020.
Alongside her illustrious small screen career, the Pacific Northwest native went on to star in a number of films including “The Way Back,” “The Crazy.” “A Million Ways to Die in the West”,“Water for the Elephants” and “Gangster Squad.”
Aylward’s friends and former colleagues were devastated by the actor’s loss.
“Very sad news indeed,” commented “ER” co-star Noah Wyle in an Instagram post announcing his passing. “John was a wonderful actor, a gentleman and a wonderful friend. He will be missed.”
Aylward’s talent agency MKS Wrote on Twitter also condoling the death of the actor: “Received a devastating call from Mary Fields, wife of John Aylward. This kind man and wonderful actor has left us. So grateful to know and work with you, sir. Tearing.”