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Desperate Housewives' Kathryn Joosten Dies at 72, Following Battle With Cancer

by Michael Slezak

Get More: News

Emmy winner Kathryn Joosten, whose emotional death scene as Karen McCluskey gave Desperate Housewives‘ recent series finale its biggest emotional punch, died on Friday of lung cancer in Westlake Village, CA. She was 72.

Joosten won her Emmys in 2005 and 2008 in the Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for her portrayal of Wisteria Lane’s crankiest (but still loveable) resident.

RELATED | Desperate Housewives Series Finale Recap: A Trial, Then Tribulations

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.

Joosten, who didn’t begin her acting career until she was 42, famously told interviewers through the years that Housewives‘ creator Marc Cherry had promised never to kill off Mrs. McCluskey, seeing how many of her prior characters hadn’t survived to their shows’ series finales.

According to her rep, Joosten was surrounded by family at the time of her death.

UPDATE: As news spread of Joosten’s passing, castmates recent and from the past, as well as peers, shared condolences via Twitter. Among them:

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Afer io saw that she had passed on Saturday, I went back and rewatched the last episode of Desperate Housewives. It undid me when I first saw it and it undid me again on Saturday. Watching Karen McClusky in her final days took me back to watching my mom in her final days.

I so respected Katheryn Joosten for her determination to erase the stigma that goes with lung cancer and to edcuate the public on the fact that it is the #1 cancer killer for women and that you don't have to smoke to get it. She was a great friend to the lung cancer community and she will be missed.


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