Kathryn Joosten of 'Desperate Housewives' dies at 72
Actress Kathryn Joosten, best known as the cranky neighbor on "Desperate Housewives," died Saturday of lung cancer at her Westlake Village home, her daughter-in-law, Jeremy Joosten, told The Times. She was 72.
Joosten won two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Mrs. McCluskey, the cranky but lovable senior who kept a close eye on her Wisteria Lane neighbors on "Desperate Housewives." The hit show ended its run on ABC last month with a series finale in which Joosten's character passed away. Her character's battle with cancer was a story line in the show.
She also appeared on NBC's "The West Wing" as Mrs. Landingham, the president's trusted secretary. Over the years, she had roles in a number of other popular shows, including a recurring one on "Dharma & Greg" and guest spots on shows including "Ally McBeal" and "Scrubs."
Last year, she also appeared in a production of Tracy Letts' "Superior Donuts" at the Geffen Playhouse.
"I am a two-time lung cancer survivor," Joosten wrote in a first-person story about the disease for The Times in 2011. "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.' "
Active in animal rights causes, she appeared with other celebrities at a 2008 news conference in Los Angeles to ask the city to abandon a project for a $40-million elephant enclosure at the Los Angeles Zoo.
Joosten is survived by her brother, Henry Jay Rausch; two sons, Jonathan and Timothy; and two grandsons. The family said in a statement that it would hold a private service at her home and there would be a memorial service soon.
-- From Times staff and the Associated Press
Photo: Lily Tomlin, left, and Kathryn Joosten on "Desperate Housewives" in 2009. Credit: Ron Tom / ABC