Saturday, December 17, 2005

December 17, 2005

A lot of actors have little tolerance or respect for extras. It's been said that the cast and crew of "Gilmore Girls" refer to their extras as cockroaches
(more than any other show, "Gilmore Girls" is the one background actors refuse to do. In fact, when I went in to register with my calling service, the recruiter specifically mentioned it as a show some of us might not want to do).

Then there are shows where the actors are friendly toward us. Of all the shows I've done, there have been few shows where the principles have been more cordial than on "The West Wing." I've done the show several times, and on two occasions, actor John Spencer has chatted with me like you would a genuine, honest-to-goodness coworker. The last time, he sat down and talked to me. A very friendly, down-to-earth man, he spoke about his career and what it was like working on RAVENOUS (and his difficulty in working with producer Laura Ziskin), and laughed when I told him of the fun my buddies and I had with the line "He was LICKING me!!" they played in all the trailers and TV spots.

I was saddened to learn today of Spencer's death at fifty-eight. He seemed in good health the last time I worked with him, and told me he still didn't know if his character (running for Vice President alongside Jimmy Smits) would win the election or not. I have only met or talked to a couple of celebrities who have died, and John Spencer I saw so recently that I thought it worth mentioning, especially because he was friendly to me. He was a good actor and a decent man.

I hope, when I am rich and powerful, with impunity ordering the deaths of scores of better men than myself, that someone will remember me as such.

Rish Outfield

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