Sterling K. Brown To Play Leo On HBO Max’s ‘West Wing’ Reunion Special

Sterling K. Brown
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown is playing the role John Spencer made famous on The West Wing for the show’s election-themed reunion special that will air October 15 on HBO Max.

The West Wing
(L-R) Martin Sheen and John Spencer on Season 1 of “The West Wing” Everett

Spencer played Leo McGarry, the loyal and demon-battling Chief of Staff to Martin Sheen’s President Bartlett, on 155 episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s political drama, which was tied with Hill Street Blues for the most Emmys before Game of Thrones came along. Spencer died of a heart attack in 2005, in the middle of shooting the show’s seventh and final season.

Spencer won the supporting actor in a drama Emmy in 2002 among five nominations for playing McGarry. Brown has won a pair of Emmys, most recently as lead actor in  a drama in 2017 for playing Randall Pearson on This Is Us.

The Brown revelation came courtesy of People, which published first-look images from the production of the special that brings back West Wing regulars Sheen, Allison Janney, Rob Lowe, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill, Janel Moloney and Anna Deavere Smith to reprise their roles in “Hartsfield’s Landing,” an election-themed episode from Season 3.

A West Wing Special to Benefit When We All Vote also will include act breaks with guest appearances from Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Emmy-winning composer W.G. Snuffy Walden will perform The West Wing score on guitar, and folk rock band the Avett Brothers will close out the special.

When We All Vote is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization co-chaired by Obama.

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