Actor John Aylward is best known for his recurrent performances on the NBC dramas “ER” and “The West Wing.” The actor has now passed away in Seattle of natural causes, according to his agent Mitchell K. Stubbs. He was 75 years old.

Aylward, who was born and reared in Seattle, earned a bachelor’s degree in drama from the University of Washington in 1970. He began his career as a theatre actor in Seattle’s Empty Space Theatre, which he founded in 1973. For 15 years, he was a regular at Seattle Repertory Theatre.

Aylward kicked off his career with small roles in television films such as “The Secret Life of John Chapman,” “Stamp of a Killer,” “Third Degree Burn,” “Child in the Night,” and “With a Vengeance.” Aylward then began working more frequently on television in the 1990s. He got recurrent role on “Northern Exposure.” “Grace Under Fire,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” “Family Law,” “Ally McBeal,” “Dharma & Greg,” “The X-Files,” “Everwood,” “Nip Tuck,” “Law & Order,” “Boston Legal,” “Alias,” “Mad Men,” “Fringe,” “Shameless,” and “Yellowstone.”

After seeing him play in “Psychopathia Sexualis” at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, co-producer Carol Flynt cast him in “ER” during its third season in 1996. For much of the show’s run, Aylward played Dr. Donald Anspaugh, a prominent board member of the central hospital and the chief of staff and chief of surgery. Over the course of the show’s run, Aylward featured in over 70 episodes, with his final appearance in 2008, during the show’s 15th and final season.


Aylward is primarily known for his television performances, but he has appeared in films such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III,” “Armageddon,” “Down With Love,” “Water for Elephants,” “The Nowhere Inn,” and “The Way Back.” In the 2007 video game “Half-Life 2: Episode Two,” he voiced Dr. Arne Magnusson. Aylward is survived by his wife Mary Fields. We send are deepest condolences to his loved ones. RIP.

Gunjan Nath

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