path: Home / Characters Josh Lyman
Position: Deputy White House Chief of Staff and later Campaign Manager for Matt Santos's run for the Presidency (April Whiteside reminded us to include this info)
Brad Whitford as Josh Lyman © NBC
- Age: (?late 30s?)
- Played By: Bradley Whitford - Won an Emmy for the role
- Josh Lyman and Doonesbury
- Spouse: None but "many have tried" [#21]
- Father: Was a well-known lawyer in Connecticut now deceased. According to Inside the Bartlet White House, his name was "Noah Lyman" and he "was a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton" [#18]. And as the webmaster of "The West Wing Episode Guide" reminded us: "Jeff Breckenridge who had worked at the firm and knew Josh's father called him 'a wonderful man'." [#18]
- Siblings: Older sister, Joanie, died when he was very young
- Other: Had a grandfather who was in Birkenau concentration camp during the Holocaust. [#18] He keeps a picture on the wall of his office of himself with his grandfather. [#18]
- Graduate of Harvard & Yale (?Harvard undergraduate and Yale Law school?)
- Fulbright scholar. Mentioned in [#101] & [#6]
- Religion: Jewish
- Background & Personal Information:
- Work History: Floor Manager for House Minority Whip, Chief of Staff for Congressman Earl Brennan [#18], Staffer on the presidential campaign of Senator John Hoynes (who became Vice President in the Bartlet Administration) [#23] and Senior Political director for the Bartlet campaign. Then after the election he took the job of White House deputy chief of staff which he still holds.
- Where From: Connecticut
- Birthday: Sometime in late October (in "Constituency of One" and "Disaster Relief" when his birthday falls, "biakbiak" on Television Without Pity's West Wing forum points out that "Congress is in session and has been for at least a few weeks" so "I would say that it is probably at least late September" and in the same forum on the same topic, "Deborah" says, "we know it's not yet November, because Toby made a remark about something lasting through to November just before Angela Blake came in."). Then in the same forum "MingoMoll" reminded us that Ryan mentioned having "tickets to an NBA game. Season openers are usually the weekend of Halloween, so that would place the events around the end of October, assuming it wasn't a pre-season game.
- Personality Traits: Can't hold his liquor. ("You have a very sensitive system." Donna to Josh on his drinking.)
- "I can drink with the best of them."
"You can't drink with any of them." --- Donna
- Romantic Interests: In the third season he became involved with Amy Gardner. Previously there had been a possibility with Joey Lucas and also something occasionally seemed to be forming with his assistant, Donna Moss [#36], though so far neither of these relationships have gone far.
- Plays: Basketball and golf "Real golfers don't use carts" [#11] but he doesn't want to do much outdoors: "You never climbed a tree in your life." & "Since when are you outdoorsy?" [#108] Also when the President tells him "You would enjoy nature." Josh says "I've tried nature." [#108]
- Watches: Baseball - the New York Mets (pointed out by Yonah Sudwerts who refers to Josh telling Amy in "We Killed Yamamoto" that among the things that were going to make the night great was "a nationally televised Mets game" and "in 'The Stackhouse Filibuster', he planned on going to the Mets Fantasy camp").
- Unusual Aspects:
- He has a fan club and there is a website devoted to him:
- "Hey," says C.J. "your little fan club was out in full force tonight."
"Yeah, they like me in my tux."
As they exit a building after a Presidential speech, girls yell out, "We love you, Josh."
"Thanks," Josh calls back.
"It helps not to know him," C.J. tells them. [#104]
- Food Likes:
- "Josh likes his hamburgers beyond well done, he likes it burnt. . . ." --- Donna
". . .I like it so if you dropped it on the floor, it would break." [#13]
- Medical Facts::
- Was shot [#22]. Afterwards:
- Blood Pressure: 130/87 [#37]
- "...a little stiffness" in the right leg and arm.[#37]
- "...the guys at G.W. did a fantastic job. It's a beautiful scar," the Surgeon General tells him. [#37]
- "There's some pain" in his back
- Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). [#32]
- "Just because the white supremacists didn't kill you doesn't mean that crap you eat isn't going to," the Surgeon General tells Josh.
"I eat fine."
"You eat like you're still in college."
"I was in great shape in college."
"You were 19 in college. You could eat Tupperware and your system would deal with it."
- What He Says About Himself:
- "I'm a team player. I think my record's pretty clear on that." [#102]
- "While I'm not one to be selfish about credit. I think it is important to note that it is done and I did it." [#9]
- "It bugs me when the President listens to anyone who isn't me." [#7]
- "They're going to try to bait you. . .They're going to try to make you say something arrogant."
"I don't need baiting for that." [#101]
- "Who among us hasn't known forbidden love." [#102]
- "I'm not good at waiting." [#36]
- "I've got 2 years as Legislative Director in the House, 2 years as Floor Director in the Senate and 30 months as Deputy Chief of Staff." [#46]
- "I studied a lot in school. I studied hard in high school and at Harvard and in law school. My IQ doesn't break the bank and I wanted to do this so I studied all the time. And I missed something. . . I never learned what you do after you think you like somebody; what you do next." [#54]
- "I'm not an elitist."
"You are an elitist."
"I am an elitist." [#54]
- "There comes a day in every man's life --- and it's a hard day but there comes a day --- when he realizes he's never going to play professional baseball." [#404]
- "I'm a fan. I'm a sports fan. I'm a music fan. And I'm a Star Trek fan. All of them. But here's what I don't do. . . . Let's list our ten favorite episodes.Let's list our least favorite episodes. Let's list our favorite galaxies. Let's make a chart to see how often our favorite galaxies appear in our favorite episodes. What Romulan would you most like to see coupled with a Cardassian and why? Let's spend a weekend talking about Romulans falling in love with Cardassians and then let's do it again. --- That's not being a fan. That's having a fetish. --- And I don't have a problem with that except that you can't bring your hobbies into work, okay. . . . Except on Star Trek holidays." [#410]
- "Three years I've worked in the Senate. . . ." [#412]
- "My job is to execute the plays Leo calls." [#412]
- "I don't know anything about geology." [#418]
- "I'm everywhere." [#418]
- "I'm at my most effective for this country when lawmakers are under the impression that I have influence with the President." [#418]
- "I know everything." [#418]
- "Josh is a lawyer," Joe says to Donna when she gets Joe to say that lawyers are called 'shysters'.
"Well, yeah. I mean he went to law school but---" Josh looks at her, offended. "You don't practice law is all I was saying."
"I don't practice law? I help write the laws. I write the laws. I make the laws. I am the law." [#421]
- What Others Say About Him:
- "Elitist, Harvard, fascist, missed-the-Dean's-list-two-semesters-in-a-row, Yankee jackass." ---C.J. (provoked) [#103]
- "You're very sweet sometimes; you really are, Josh." --- C.J. [#105]
- "Since when are you outdoorsy." --- Sam [#108]
- "When you're competitive. When you're combative. You juice up the President and you know it." --- Mandy to Josh [#108]
- "What does Josh say?" --- Pres asks Leo on the drug problem.
"Get through it."
"Josh is a smart guy."
"No, sir. Josh is a young guy."
"We used to be too." [#109]
- "You get hostile." [#115]
- ""You're very sweet sometimes, you really are." --- C.J.
- "You know why I'm doing this?" --- Josh
"Because you carry around so much guilt from everyone you love dying that you're a compulsive fixer?" --- Leo [#53]
- "I love Josh like a brother and he's a world-class political mind, but until today I didn't know he was smarter than I was." [#401-402]
- "I think you of all people shouldn't fly things." --- Stackhouse [#404]
- "You want to know the difference between you and me? I want to be the guy. You want to be the guy, the guy counts on." --- President Bartlet [#412]
- "Josh doesn't leave people.... You have to get Josh. His sister died in a fire while she was baby-sitting him. She tried to put it out, he ran outside. He went off campaigning, his father died. He wakes up in the hospital and discovers the President's been shot. He goes through every day worry that somebody he likes is going to die and its going to be his fault. What do you think makes him walk so fast?" --- Donna to Amy [#422]
- "There's a future for you in motivational speaking." --- Amy to Josh (dripping sarcasm) [#503]
- Additional information:
- "I put on talent shows....when I was a kid."[#102]
- Claims to have spent half the nights of his life in hotel rooms. [#16]
- About eight months into the first Bartlet Administration, Josh has a Washington psychologist who he doesn't see much since the election.
- Had a sister, Joanie who was killed while she was babysitting him and the house caught on fire. When Josh is asked why he wasn't killed, he says:
"I ran out of the house."
"You were just a little boy, Josh. That's what you were supposed to do." But Josh makes it clear he still feels guilty.
- "You've always been industrious." -- Leo
- Conversations with him:
- "If they discover you've been there I'm going to shove a motherboard so far up your ass...."
"Technically I out rank you," Josh tries to claim.
"So far up you ass!" C.J. insists forcefully, backing Josh up against a door frame.
"Okay," Josh says, surrendering.
- "Victory is mine! Victory is mine. Great day in the morning, People, Victory is mine.... I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land."
"It's going to be an unbearable day." --- Donna.
Later Josh tells his other colleagues, "Someone give me a river to forge, a serpent to slay." [#102]
- What He Says About the Work and His Co-Workers:
- "LBJ would never have taken this kind of crap from Democrats in Congress. He'd have said you're voting my way in exchange for which it is possible that I might remember your name. We need to win. And I mean win. And we need to take a curtain call and a victory lap. And that's how we get momentum. We get it by being tough. And we give away nothing." [#104]
- "I want to be a comfort to my friends in tragedy. And I want to be able to celebrate with them in triumph. And for all the times in between, I just want to be able to look them in the eye." [#105]
See First Season Cliffhanger Information: Who's Shot and Who's Not.
Don't miss Neal Rechtman's election thriller The 28th Amendment in which an actor
who portrays a fictional US President on television gets drawn into real-world politics
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(note: above email address doesn't reach anyone connected to the show itself).
An introduction to the BBC's "Blake's 7" (from Fantasy Empire), and
A guide to the 70's series "Kung Fu" are also available.