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Alan Alda joins 'West Wing' cast

Aug. 23, 2004 at 12:15 PM

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- Alan Alda will join the cast of "The West Wing" this season, The Hollywood Reporter said Monday.

The five-time, Emmy-winning actor-writer-director will play a Republican U.S. senator from California who plans to run for president.

The cast will also feature Marley Shelton as a former newspaper feature writer who joins the White House staff as assistant press secretary. The Reporter said Jimmy Smits -- formerly of "NYPD Blue" and "L.A. Law" -- was in talks to join the "West Wing" cast this season as well.

Alda -- who won Emmys for acting, writing and directing on "M*A*S*H" -- was nominated for an Emmy in 2000 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, for his performance as Dr. Gabriel Lawrence on "ER."

"The West Wing," which has won four Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series, is returning for a sixth season on NBC this fall.

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