Politics In Action: The West Wing Cast

Friday, September 30 by Karen Lac

The talents of the "The West Wing" cast was a major reason why the television show, named after the White House's West Wing, had a successful seven-year run adn became an instant classic. From 1999 to 2006, audiences sat riveted while the struggles, successes and personal dramas of the fictional democratic administration of President Josiah Bartlet played out on the screen. Here are some of the most memorable "The West Wing" cast members: 

Martin Sheen

The most important cast member of the show was, of course, the man who portrayed President Josiah Bartlet: Martin Sheen. Sheen is a master of portraying men facing immense pressure and indecision. Just take a look at "Apocalypse Now." Through the years, Sheen realistically portrayed a president that had to face scandal, fight terrorism and battle political opponents at home. Sheen won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for his fine acting. 

Allison Janney

Allison Janney played tough and steady C.J. Cregg, press secretary and later chief of staff for President Bartlet. After almost two decades in smaller acting roles, Janney got her big break and became a household name with "The West Wing." Janney's character faced death threats, had to deal with the death of a lover and lived with the regret of having a one-night stand with the man who would later become Vice President John Hoynes. Janney won a total of four Emmy Awards and four SAG Awards for her role on the show. 

Stockard Channing

A listing of the best "The West Wing" cast members would not be complete without the First Lady. Best known for playin high school teenager Betty Rizzo in the 1980s musical "Grease," Channing played First Lady Abigail Bartlet. She perfectly portrayed a woman who loved her husband but struggled with the fame and pressure that being president caused their family. She won an Emmy Award for her acting in 2002.

Rob Lowe

The former Brat Pack star and teen heartthrob played deputy communications director, who later became White House Chief of Staff, Sam Seaborn. Lowe won two SAG Awards for his role but left "The West Wing" in 2003 when he didn't get a raise and felt that he wasn't getting enough respect. 

Dule Hill

African-American actor Dule Hill had the smaller role of personal aide Charlie Young. The character had an interracial relationship with President Bartlet's daughter and was the intended target of an assassination attempt by white supremacists. Hill deftly portrayed a young man trying to cope with the responsibilities of his job and having to overcome racism.  

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