Emmy-award winning actress Kathryn Joosten, who played Karen McCluskey on ABC's Desperate Housewives, died Saturday after a battle with lung cancer. She was 72.
According to her publicist, Joosten died at home in the Los Angeles area. She had been sick from lung cancer for several years.
Kathryn passed away this morning after a valiant fight against her cancer, her rep, Nadine Jolson, told E! News. Her family was with her. Funeral arrangements are pending. This is a terrible loss, and she fought as hard as she could.
Joosten was the recipient of two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as McCluskey on Desperate Housewives, which concluded last month after eight seasons on ABC. She is best known for playing Delores Landingham on The West Wing along with roles in Scrubs, Grey's Anatomy, Roseanne and Home Improvement, to name a few. Joosten said she got her start in acting when she was hired as a street performer at Disney World in Florida, according to the New York Times.
In 2011, Joosten wrote a first-hand story of her battle with lung cancer for the Los Angeles Times.
I am a two-time lung cancer survivor, Joosten wrote. My first was in 2001 and my second was in 2009, two completely different lung cancers, one on each side. I am the only 'celebrity' to be public about my lung cancer. 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. Therefore I've decided that I am 'living with cancer.'
Joosten is survived by her brother, Henry Jay Rausch, two sons and two grandsons. According to a statement from her family, to the L.A. Times, a private service will be held at her Westlake Village home, with an upcoming memorial service to be announced.
The family of Kathryn Joosten, two-time Emmy winner, long-time Governor of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, lung cancer advocate, and so much more, regrets to announce that Kathryn succumbed to her 11-year battle with lung cancer today, June 2, 2012, surrounded by love and humor til the end, the statement read. Thanks to everyone for their love and support. We are laughing through our tears. We love you, Kathy, thanks for everything.
Others, like co-star Felicity Huffman and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, tweeted their respects for Joosten, following the news of her death.
All my prayers and love to Katherine (sic) Joosten's family. Rest in peace, she was an amazing woman and a wonderful actress, Huffman wrote.
The character of Mrs. McCluskey was created for a single episode, Cherry wrote. 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.