Very sad news to report tonight, as news spread across the entertainment world. Kathryn Joosten who played Mrs. McCluskey on Desperate Housewives died today in Los Angeles at age 72 after her long battle with lung cancer surrounded by her family at the time of her death. Joosten “was surrounded by love and humor ’til the end,” her family said in a statement. “We are laughing through our tears.”
Joosten won two Emmy awards in 2005 and 2008 for her portrayal of Karen McCluskey. Desperate Housewives ended its eight-year run last month with a series finale in which Joosten’s character passed away. Karen’s battle with cancer was a storyline in the show.
Prior to her Housewives success, Joosten was best known for playing Mrs. Landingham, secretary to Martin Sheen’s President Bartlet, on The West Wing. She also had roles on such shows as Scrubs, My Name Is Earl, Joan of Arcadia, and Dharma & Greg.
Recently, soap fans saw Kathryn in a special guest appearance for the The Bold and the Beautiful’s 6,000th episode as Stephanie (Susan Flannery) formed a support group to help her deal with her cancer diagnosis. Stephanie had real-life cancer survivors in her home to hear their stories. Joosten played herself. Kathryn also appeared on General Hospital during her career.
Desperate Housewives executive producer Marc Cherry released a statement today about the death of Kathryn Joosten, “The character of Mrs. McCluskey was created for a single episode. We then cast Kathryn Joosten and she infused the part with so much feisty wit and curmudgeonly bravado, we knew we had to move her onto Wisteria Lane for the run of the series. I will forever miss her, as a co-worker and as a friend.”
On-Air On-Soaps sends our thoughts and prayers to Joosten’s family and friends.