Hollywood and the White House: Of Angels and Demons

Photo: Richard Schiff from his official website

HYDE PARK – On Monday, July 3, 2017 at 2:30 p.m., the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will present a discussion Hollywood and the White House: Of Angels and Demons in the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home.

The program will feature “The West Wing” actor Richard Schiff (White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler) and “House of Cards” actor Boris McGiver (The Washington Herald Editor-In-Chief Tom Hammerschmidt) in conversation with PBS host and journalist Alexander Heffner.

Registration is required for this free public program. Visit www.fdrlibrary.org to register.

Photo: Richard Schiff from his official website

The discussion will consider fictional roles and Washington D.C. portraits, the optimism and cynicism they inspire in American politics, and the future of the real-life presidency. In a rare meeting of the aspirations and ideals of “The West Wing” and its evil twin, the sinister Machiavellian “House of Cards,” Heffner will probe the actors for their insight into the fictional and real-life American political process.

Richard Schiff is an American actor. He is best known for playing Toby Ziegler on the NBC television drama “The West Wing,” a role for which he received an Emmy Award. Schiff made his directorial debut with “The West Wing,” directing an episode entitled “Talking Points.” Schiff directed several off-Broadway plays, including “Antigone” in 1983 with a just-graduated Angela Bassett. In the mid-1980s Schiff decided to try his hand at acting and landed several TV roles. He was seen by Steven Spielberg in an episode of the TV drama “High Incident” and was cast in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” (1997). His career began an upward climb that led to his co-starring role as White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler on Aaron Sorkin’s award winning television series “The West Wing.” Schiff became known for his introverted and intense approach to his craft as well as his low-key delivery style.

Boris McGiver. Photo: Wikipedia.org

Boris McGiver is a character actor who lent his imposing frame and working class visage to some of the most prestigious films and television series of the 21st century. Boris followed in the footsteps of his father, actor John McGiver. His first television appearance is about as hallowed as they come, playing Charles Marimow on the 2006 season of David Simon’s highly acclaimed crime drama “The Wire” (HBO, 2002-08) and later Robert Goddard in the Revolutionary-era drama “John Adams” (HBO, 2008). In 2012, McGiver was in yet another prestigious period piece, portraying Democratic Senator Alexander Hamilton Coffroth in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” (2012). McGiver went on to enjoy meaty roles in the likes of Beau Willimon’s political drama series “House of Cards” (Netflix, 2013-), and Terence Winter’s prohibition era gangster series, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO, 2010-14).

Alexander Heffner. Photo: Twitter

Alexander Heffner is the host of “The Open Mind” on PBS. He has covered American politics, civic life and Millennials since the 2008 presidential campaign. His work has been profiled in The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Christian Science MonitorLos Angeles Times, and on NBC News, MSNBC, C-SPAN, CNN, and BBC, among other media outlets. His essays, reviews and op-eds have appeared in TIME, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe and The Root, among other publications. He is a frequent lecturer and panel moderator at museums and institutions of learning. Heffner was the political director for WHRB 95.3 FM and host of “The Political Arena.” A native New Yorker, he is a graduate of Andover and Harvard.