E! News has confirmed that Joosten passed away Saturday morning after a long bout from lung cancer. A rep for the actress told the site:
“Kathryn passed away this morning after a valiant fight against her cancer…Her family was with her. Funeral arrangements are pending. This is a terrible loss, and she fought as hard as she could.”
You may have not known her name until recently, but Kathryn Joosten has been making us smile and laugh for years, and actually has an amazing, inspiring story.
Joosten spent the first half of her life working as a psychiatric nurse. When she divorced her alcoholic husband at the age of 42, she started acting in community theater.
At the age of 53, Joosten decided to move to Florida to pursue a career in acting. While some younger actors may move in with friends or older relatives, she moved in with her son for the next three years, taking jobs as a street performer in Disney Theme Parks and working her way up, garnering an agent along the way. At 56, she made the move that terrifies most twentysomethings and headed to Los Angeles. The move was worth it, however, and Joosten ended up landing a number of guest roles on shows including “Dharma and Greg,” “My Name is Earl,” and “Ally McBeal”.
Soon, Joosten landed the role that many will remember her for: President Josiah Bartlet’s personal secretary, Mrs. Landingham on “The West Wing”. And back in 2005, she scored the final role of her life: nosey neighbor Karen McCluskey on “Desperate Housewives”. It was also the role that won her two Emmys in 2005 and 2008.
Kathryn Joosten was 72 years old when she died. And yet, she had the heart and soul to chase her dreams up until those last days. Besides entertaining us every week on two of the better shows of the past decade, we should all look at her as inspiration on how to live our lives: no matter what you may have against you, if you want it… go for it…