Veteran actor John Aylward, best known for his roles in the popular American TV shows ER and The West Wing, has died at the age of 75.

The Seattle-born star has also been a familiar face in a number of other hit American series during his career, including 3rd Rock From The Sun, Ally McBeal, The X-Files, Nip Tuck and Law & Order.

Aylward graduated from Washington University’s School of Drama in 1970.

He began as a theatrical actor, founding Seattle’s Empty Space Theater in 1973, and for 15 years has always been Seattle’s repertory theater.

After he started working in television with small roles, in the 90s his appearance increased and he got a re-role in Northern Exposure.

Aylward was filmed in 1996 in an ambulance film in 1996, during his third season, after co-producer Carol Flint saw his performance on stage in Los Angeles.

He played Dr. Donald Anspau, a leading board member of the Central Hospital, as well as Chief of Staff and Surgeon for most of the show.

He has appeared in more than 70 episodes of the series, most recently appearing in 2008 in his 15th and final season.

During the filming of the ambulance, Aylward also played a prominent role in the seventh and final season of The West Wing.

He played Democratic National Committee Chairman Barry Goodwin, who advised the election campaign for President-elect Matt Santos (Jimmy Smith), and eventually helped move between the Josiah Bartlett administrations (Martin Sheen) and the Santos administration.

Among other well-known appearances on television – the lead role in the short science fiction show “Others”, as well as frequent roles in the American series Briarpatch.

Although best known for his roles on television, Aylward also had supporting roles in a number of films, including “Ninja Turtles III”, “Armageddon” and “Down with Love”.

Aylward, who died in his native Seattle of natural causes, is survived by his wife Mary Fields.

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