04/21/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

The "ER" Cast Reflects On 15 Years

This oral history includes many performers who became closely identified with "ER," but starts with Mr. Wells, the show's driving force from its outset.

In the Beginning

JOHN WELLS George [Clooney] was the first to be cast. I knew him from seeing him around the lot. Les [Moonves, now the CBS chief executive, then the head of Warner Brothers studio] had made a cast contingent deal for a crime show with George, but George showed up in my office and said he'd heard about our show, and he liked the part better than the legal show. He had a scene memorized, and he did it, and it was terrific. I said we'd love to have him. But George had to convince Les because the other was a lead role and this was a supporting role. George just told him: I want to do this one. Then as now George was very aggressive and very smart about managing his career.