Eli Attie

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Eli Attie
Born 1968 (age 46–47)
Nationality United States
Ethnicity Jewish
Education B.A. Harvard College
Occupation Screenwriter
Political speechwriter
Known for Speech writer for Al Gore
Screenwriter for The West Wing and House
Parent(s) Dotty Attie
David Attie

Eli Attie is a writer, producer, and former political operative. He served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton, and then as Vice President Al Gore's chief White House and campaign speechwriter through Gore's concession of the 2000 presidential election, which Attie and Gore wrote together.[1][2] Attie was a longtime writer on both the NBC-TV series The West Wing and the Fox-TV series House.

Early life and education[edit]

Of Jewish descent,[3][4] Attie grew up in New York City. His mother is artist Dotty Attie[5][6] and his father was photographer David Attie.[7] He is a graduate of Hunter College High School[citation needed] and Harvard College where he concentrated in Social Studies and was an editor for The Harvard Crimson.[8] In 1989, he graduated and joined the New York City Urban Fellows Program where he worked as an assistant to Ed Koch’s policy advisor and then as a speechwriter for David Dinkins.[8] He then moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked for Dick Gephardt, Bill Clinton, and fellow Harvard graduate Al Gore.[8] He helped to write Gore's United States presidential election, 2000 concession speech.[8]


After working in the real White House, Attie became a writer on the NBC-TV series The West Wing for most of its run, and served as a producer and supervising producer in the show's later seasons.[9] A number of that show's story lines came from Attie's own experiences in politics. In addition, according to David Remnick's biography of Barack Obama, "The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama," and other news sources, Attie used then-State Senator Obama as a model for the character of Matt Santos, a presidential candidate played by actor Jimmy Smits in the final two seasons of The West Wing.[10][11] Together with John Wells, Attie was nominated for Writers Guild and Humanitas awards for the episode "Election Day: Part 2," in which Santos wins the presidency.

Attie was a writer and co-executive producer on House for the last five of its eight seasons, and was nominated for a Humanitas award for the series finale, "Everybody Dies," which he co-wrote with series creator David Shore. Attie's screenplay "Smile Relax Attack" was included on the Black List, an industry list of executives' favorite still-unproduced scripts.[12]

Attie has worked as a rock critic for The Washington Post, Slate, and other publications. Attie won ASCAP's Deems-Taylor award for pop music writing.[13] He wrote a chapter in Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah, a collection of essays about the Torah written by 54 leading Jewish writers, artists, photographers, and screenwriters with each author commenting on a different section (the Torah is divided into 54 portions, one to be read each Shabbat).[4][14]


Attie is a seven-time Emmy nominee and a three-time WGA award nominee; he shared an Emmy Award for "The West Wing Documentary Special."[15] In 2008, he was awarded the Cinema Sepharad Award at Sephardic Jewish Film Festival.[3]


  1. ^ Smith, Roger (20 November 2002). "Al Gore Has Stopped The Sighs". Jewish World Review. 
  2. ^ "Reading Aloud Podcast". 5 December 2014. 
  3. ^ a b The Jewish Journal: "Sephardic film fest opens with gala at Paramount; Young Iranian Jews gather to watch election returns" By Danielle Berrin November 13, 2008 | Attie humbly accepted, saying he was "nowhere near deserving" because he did not create the shows he works for and his involvement in the Sephardic community has been "sporadic." But, he said, "no matter how far you drift, your family and identity never seem to be that far behind you."
  4. ^ a b Unscrolled: 54 Writers and Artists Wrestle with the Torah edited by Roger Bennett Workman Publishing |"It’s a reinterpretation, a reimagining, a creative celebration: 54 leading Jewish writers, artists, photographers, and screenwriters, plus actors, an architect, a musician, and more grapple with the first five books of the Bible, giving new meaning to the 54 Torah portions"
  5. ^ Interview Magazine: "Ranger Games: Dotty x Eli Attie" By Eli Attie and Alexandria Symonds retrieved December 9, 2014
  6. ^ Jewish Women's Archive: "Art in the United States" by Gannit Ankori and Ziva Amishai-Maisels retrieved December 9, 2014
  7. ^ Vulture: "On His 90th Birthday, Unseen Photos of Truman Capote in Brooklyn" By Christopher Bonanos September 30, 2014
  8. ^ a b c d The Harvard Crimson: "The 'West' and the Brightest - These Harvard graduates learned triumph and defeat in national politics. Then they went to Hollywood to write what they knew" By Jessica E. Gould October 17, 2003
  9. ^ "Eli Attie on the Internet Movie Database". 
  10. ^ Smith, Ben (5 April 2010). "Imagining Obama On 'The West Wing'". Politico. 
  11. ^ Stelter, Brian (29 October 2008). "Following The Script: Obama, McCain and 'The West Wing'". New York Times. 
  12. ^ "The Black List: Full Roster". Deadline. 
  13. ^ "36th Annual ASCAP Deems Taylor Award Winners Announced". ASCAP. 
  14. ^ Ottawa Jewish Bulletin: "Book Review: Ambitious collection of Torah commentaries nets mixed results" By Nicola Hamer February 14, 2014
  15. ^ "Eli Attie on the Internet Movie Database.".