Claim to Fame
The West Wing, Desperate Housewives
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Kathryn Joosten (born December 20, 1939) is an American television actress best known for her recurring role in the The West Wing as Delores Landingham and for her regular role as Karen McCluskey in Desperate Housewives. Joosten did not begin to hone her craft until the 1980s, after taking classes in Chicago, Illinois. She started acting at age 42, which is unusual for most actors. Prior to her career as an actress, she worked as a psychiatric nurse.
It was not until the mid-1990s that Joosten made the move to Hollywood, where she took guest roles in television series such as Roseanne, Home Improvement, Picket Fences, Murphy Brown, ER, Seinfeld, Frasier, Just Shoot Me!, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dharma & Greg, Las Vegas and The Drew Carey Show. In the 1997 episode of Frasier, `Roz`s Turn`, Joosten appeared as Vera, the mother and personal secretary of Frasier`s connvining agent, Bebe Glazer, played by Harriet Sansom Harris. The pair would later be reunited to play opposite neighbor`s in the first season of Desperate Housewives.
In 1999, Joosten took the role for which she is best-known, as Delores Landingham, secretary to President of the United States Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) on The West Wing. Joosten played the role for two seasons, until her character`s death in a car crash in 2001. She would return to the show twice more in flashback episodes.
Joosten`s role on The West Wing gave her an entrance into more significant guest roles on significant television series. Since 2001, she has appeared on TV in such shows as Scrubs (appearing in "My Old Lady", which won a Humanitas Prize as well as reappearing in two later episodes), My Name Is Earl, Spin City, The X-Files, Judging Amy, Monk, Charmed, Will & Grace, Malcolm in the Middle, Grey`s Anatomy, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Reba, So Little Time, Gilmore Girls, The Closer and a recurring role one of the less intimidating incarnations of God seen by the title character (played by Amber Tamblyn) on the now cancelled TV series Joan of Arcadia.
Recently, Joosten appeared in the film Wedding Crashers, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. Joosten also has a recurring role on Desperate Housewives as Karen McCluskey. For this role, Joosten won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2005 and 2008, and appeared as a presenter at the 2005 and 2008 Emmy Awards telecasts. She also received Screen Actors Guild Award nominations with the rest of the cast for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series from 2006-2008. She was promoted to a member of the regular cast in season 6. She then played Aunt Jackie in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel in 2009.
In addition, Joosten has appeared in numerous television commercials such as those for V8 and Fiber One. In 2007, in an appearance on The View, she revealed that she was a lung cancer survivor, after many years of smoking (which she subsequently quit), and gave some tricks for trying to beat the habit of smoking. Ironically, her guest role on My Name Is Earl revoled largely around her character attempting to quit smoking.
In 2001, she quit her 45 year smoking habit when she was diagnosed with lung cancer. In September 2009, Joosten was diagnosed with lung cancer again. The producers are currently trying to fit her filming schedule around her treatment.
Joosten and Lily Tomlin were in talks to star in Desperate Housewives spin-off. The spin-off was given a preliminary green light to proceed. It has not been made clear how Joosten`s illness will affect the spin-off.
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Westlake Village, California, USA
Kathryn Joosten (December 20, 1939 – June 2, 2012) was an American television actress. Her best known roles include Dolores Landingham on NBC's The West Wing from 1999 to 2002 and Karen McCluskey on ABC's Desperate Housewives from 2005 to 2012, for which she won two Primetime Emmy Awards in 2005 and 2008.
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