"I think 'The West Wing' was a perfect storm of good things in every possible way. No other political show had ever been successful. We were coming off a run of peace and prosperity, relatively, and it certainly was a prosperous time because of Bill Gates and the whole techno boom. There was a time of… fantasy. Also, the scandals of the Clinton administration kind of brought our feelings about that administration to a low point. Then we came along. We were really the Clinton administration, only in Camelot."
About This Interview
In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, actor Richard Schiff talks about his early interest in television and how he learned from watching classic shows like The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy. He describes his time at City College in New York and his fascination with directing, chronicles his transition to acting, and recalls his early television roles. He speaks of his roles in Steven Spielberg's "The Lost World," as well as in Picket Fences, LA Law and NYPD Blue. He discusses acting in the short-lived series Relativity and how he came to be cast in The West Wing. Schiff then details his experience on The West Wing as "Toby Ziegler", including working with the large ensemble cast, creator Aaron Sorkin, and director Thomas Schlamme. He outlines the cultural impact of the show and speaks of the evolution of his character throughout the run of the program. He talks about how the television industry has changed since The West Wing, how he deals with auditions, and what he hopes his legacy will be. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview on June 3, 2010.