‘West Wing’ alumni gather at Harvard to relive their White House years

For seven seasons, 1999-2006, NBC’s political drama “The West Wing” earned huge ratings — and 26 Emmys — for its bracing portrayal of life in the White House. Friday at the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at Harvard’s Institute of Politics, four of the show’s Emmy winners relived some of their most memorable “West Wing” moments before a packed audience. The panelists: Bradley Whitford (right), currently appearing in ABC’s “Trophy Wife,” who played White House deputy chief of staff John Lyman; Janel Moloney (on screen at top, via Skype), who played Donna Moss, Lyman’s assistant; Richard Schiff (by speakerphone), a.k.a. communications chief Toby Ziegler; and former executive producer Lawrence O’Donnell (left), now an MSNBC host, who served as moderator. Moloney recalled what a joy it was to work on the “West Wing” set from first day to last, while Schiff said that at its best the series probed “whether our better sides can win over our demons.” Character development and the show’s influence on real-life politics were also discussed.

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