December 23, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

Allison Janey remembers John Spencer

DEC. 20, 1946-DEC. 16, 2005

I was introduced to John seven years ago on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank at the read-through for the pilot episode of The West Wing. It was a little daunting because he was one of those seasoned actors with a long background in New York theater. But we became good friends, and acting opposite him became one of my greatest pleasures. Our relationship as C.J. and Leo was so complicated, but in real life it was easy. We’d always travel together from L.A. when our show headed to film in Washington, D.C. We both had a fear of flying, and John was my airplane buddy. He’d hold my hand during the flight and because of that I just knew everything was going to be okay. John was a gentleman. An old-school gentleman. (Spencer died of a heart attack in Los Angeles.)

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