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'West Wing' Star John Spencer Dies

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Dec 16, 2005 | 1:55pm EST

The West Wing actor John Spencer died of a heart attack Friday at a Los Angeles hospital, according to his publicist, Ron Hofmann. He was 58.

No other details were made immediately available.

Spencer spent much of his early career honing his craft in regional theater before achieving a breakthrough as a Vietnam veteran in Emily Mann's 1981 Off-Broadway success Still Life. But he became best known for his turn as maverick lawyer Tommy Mullaney on the long-running NBC legal drama L.A. Law, from 1990 until its 1994 curtain.

A New Jersey native,  Spencer made his film debut in 1983's WarGames and went on to star in the 1996 actioner The Rock, followed by roles in Cold Around the Heart (1997) and The Negotiator (1998).

Spencer’s returned to TV a year later as vice presidential candidate Leo McGarry on the long-running NBC presedential drama The West Wing. The role earned him an Emmy in 2002 for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, along with a Golden Globe nomination.

Service and funeral arrangements were pending, Hofmann said.

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