Vale: Kathryn Joosten

By David Knox on June 3, 2012 / Filed Under News, Top Stories 14

Character actress Kathryn Joosten, best known as the irascible neighbour “Karen McCluskey” on Desperate Housewives, has died, aged 72.

Joosten passed away following a battle with lung cancer with her family at her side at home northwest of Los Angeles. She had battled the disease since being diagnosed in 2001 and again in 2009.

Her death follows the final season of Desperate Housewives ending in the US just three weeks ago, in which her character also battled lung cancer.

As an advocate for lung-cancer awareness and research, she had agreed to a storyline that mirrored her off-screen life.

“This will allow the public to much more comfortably talk about lung cancer,” she told the New York Post in February.

The most challenging aspect of story arc was “working with the producers to make sure the material was true and accurate. They have been wonderful about that.

She had previously called herself a “two-time lung cancer survivor” having been diagnosed in 2001 and again in 2009.

“So far, I am a cancer survivor, but cancer will be with me for the rest of my life, be it as a nodule, tumor or cell someplace, or in my fears and anxieties,” she wrote. “Therefore I’ve decided that I am ‘living with cancer.'”

In addition to her memorable role on Desperate Housewives she played the president’s secretary ‘Mrs. Landingham’ in The West Wing.

The character actress also appeared in dozens of other shows including Family Matters, Dharma & Greg, Ally McBeal, Scrubs, My Name Is Earl, Joan of Arcadia and about 20 films, including Wedding Crashers, Hostage and Bedtime Stories.

She went on to win an Emmy in 2005 and another in 2008, both for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for Desperate Housewives.

On Joosten’s passing Felicity Huffman wrote on her Twitter account: “She was an amazing woman and a wonderful actress.”

Marcia Cross ‏tweeted, “Thank you Kathryn. For your courage, your humor, your fight and your talent. We were so lucky to have you. xo xo xo”

Source: LA Times, Reuters

14 Comments »

  1. Sharpy June 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm -

    It was sad enough when Mrs Landingham died the first time. :(

  2. kaz June 4, 2012 at 3:08 pm -

    Great actress, funny lady, she will be missed.

  3. jezza June 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm -

    She was fantastic on West Wing, RIP Mrs Landingham.
    Shes one of a few celebrities that seem like normal people off screen. . .

  4. Craig June 3, 2012 at 9:55 pm -

    She was also on Gilmore Girls several times.

    Sad to see Kathryn go, RIP

  5. deedeedragons June 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm -

    So glad she got to finish her run on DH. RIP.

  6. MrsStepford June 3, 2012 at 6:44 pm -

    This is sad. I was watching DH last week, when Kathyrn’s character Karen was trying to get Bree to euthanasie her. Very funny – but I did notice that she didn’t look very well. What a wonderful career.

  7. kitkat June 3, 2012 at 6:42 pm -

    “She was a real dame, old friend, a real broad.”
    Watched Two Cathedrals in honour of her. Mum just asked recently whether she was sick due to the Desperate Housewives storyline. Going to be very bittersweet watching the rest of the season.

  8. davis June 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm -

    Farewell Mrs Landingham.
    youtube.com/watch?v=FScv89J6rro

  9. Jake June 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm -

    She was was an amazing actress who made me laugh week after week on Desperate Housewives….may she rest in peace…

  10. Benji77 June 3, 2012 at 4:57 pm -

    This is sad news – wasn’t there talk at one stage of Mrs McCluskey getting a spin off form Housewives with her sister (Lily Tomlin)???

    That would have been an awesome show.

  11. toriwannabe June 3, 2012 at 3:50 pm -

    With my own mother being diagnosed with lung cancer, this is doubly sad news. You hope when you are a ‘survivor’ that it means forever, but sadly for many, it doesn’t.

  12. Lyn June 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm -

    RIP Kathryn.
    I loved her as “Mrs Landingham” in “The West Wing”.
    Prayers & Condolences to all. :(

  13. Beckala June 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm -

    Loved her in the first season of Scrubs – she played a terminally ill patient that JD was taking care of – tear jerker!!

  14. Ruddeger June 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm -

    Farewell Mrs Landingham
    Amazing to see how many shows she popped up in.She was funny as Donnie’s mum in My Name Is Earl.

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