Longtime character actor and Seattle, Washington, native John Aylward attended the Professional Actor's Training Program at the University of Washington and, having graduated from the school in 1970, founded the Empty Space Theatre, in his hometown, in 1973. He made his onscreen debut in the 1976 made-for-TV movie "The Secret Life of John Chapman" but didn't earn his breakthrough role until 1996, when he began playing hospital administrator Dr. Anspaugh on the long-running medical drama "ER". Aylward held the role for the next 12 years, until the show's cancellation in 2008, and it remains one of his most recognizable performances. This led Aylward to more mainstream roles and in 1998 he was cast in Michael Bay's blockbuster thriller "Armageddon", which then led to a more starring role on the series "The Others" two years later. He spent much of the early 2000s making rounds as a guest character actor on television series such as "Family Law", "The Practice", and "Nip/Tuck", while still performing on "ER". His successful run of prolific television appearances continued in the mid-2000s, as he earned a supporting role on the critically acclaimed series "The West Wing", playing DNC chairman Barry Goodwin. After his run on "ER" ended in 2008, Aylward began the 2010s with a supporting role in the horror film "The Crazies" and followed that performance up with a guest spot on the instant-classic series "Mad Men".