Spencer, best known these days as Leo McGarry on NBC's The West Wing, says he was preparing for 1990's Presumed Innocent with Ford when his co-star suggested they share a bottle and get to know their characters a little better. Spencer, a recovering alcoholic, politely declined, saying he couldn't drink tequila. Then Ford invited him to join him for a few beers. When Spencer told him that he also couldn't drink beer, Ford finally seemed to get the hint.
"But we found ways of bonding and we worked at that relationship and it caught," Spencer tells TV Guide Online. "He's still someone I consider a great friend."
How great a friend? Well, Spencer eventually learned that Ford had quietly used his clout to convince Presumed Innocent director Alan Pakula to recut some of the scenes to favor the up-and-coming actor. "That, to me, was a lesson in graciousness and gratitude, and kind of directed the way I would like to deal with people professionally," says Spencer. "I was surprised by it and blown away. He did it and, indeed, the picture started a great career for me." ? Jeanne Wolf