ER and West Wing actor John Aylward dies aged 75

John Aylward has died at the age of 75, the ER and West Wing actor’s wife has confirmed. 

The actor died overnight Monday at his home in Seattle, his wife Mary Fields confirmed to Deadline.

Fields had revealed Aylward had been in declining health ahead of his death. 

Long-time aged Mitchell K. Stubbs told the publication: ‘I was shocked. He was a wonderful actor and a phenomenal human being.

‘He was a dream client, a friend and a dream person.’

Aylward was best known for playing surgeon Dr. Donald Anspaugh on ER from 1996 to 2008, as well as his role as DNC chair Barry Goodwin on The West Wing from 2005 to 2006.

He had been an actor since the 1970s and had joined ER in its third season and appeared in more than 70 episodes over 12 years.

An audition for the role had first been offered to him by ER’s co-producer Carol Flynt, after she saw him in a 1996 production of Psychopathia Sexualis in Los Angeles, for which he won the Drama Logue Award for outstanding performance the same year.

Aylward was also a series regular on the short-lived 2000 NBC drama The Others as well as appearing in recurring or guest roles on several other series. 

His credits include Ally McBeal, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The X-Files, Northern Exposure, Boston Legal and Without A Trace among others.

More recently, he had starred in Shameless and Yellowstone, with his final TV role being in Briarpatch in 2020. 

He’d also starred in several films including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, Water for Elephants, Armageddon and more.

MKS talent agency also shared their sorrow at the news of Aylward’s death, writing on Twitter: ‘Received a devastating call from Mary Fields, John Aylward’s wife.

‘This kind man and wonderful actor has left us. Very grateful to have known and worked with you, sir. RIP.’

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