A month and a half after her death, Kathryn Joosten this morning landed her first supporting actress nomination for her role on Desperate Housewives. The ABC dramedy, which was a major Emmy contender early in its run and won best comedy series award for Felicity Huffman in its first year, earned two Emmy nominations for its final season. Fittingly, they went to Joosten and Brenda Strong, whose characters’ deaths framed the series: Strong’s Mary Alice’s suicide in the pilot kicked off the show, while the death of Joosten’s Karen McKluskey was at the center of the series finale in May. Desperate Housewives narrator Strong is nominated in the voice-over category for a second consecutive year.
Character actress Kathryn Joosten, who played the snoop Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives and the president’s secretary on The West Wing, died today in Los Angeles after battling lung cancer for years. She was 72. She won two Emmys for the Desperate Housewives role. Her character also battled cancer and passed away in the series finale in May. In addition to her other major role as Mrs. Landingham on The West Wing, she had a recurring gig in Dharma & Greg and guest starred in Ally McBeal, Scrubs and My Name Is Earl. Joosten, who had a career as a psychiatric nurse before turning to acting, was also active in animal rights causes.
Additionally Joosten served as a Governor for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Performers Peer Group. She completed two terms and was in her third at the time of her death. In his condolences statement TV Academy COO Alan Perris said she was “an exceptional representative of the performers peer group and spirited contributor to our organization. She will be missed.” A lengthy interview Joosten did with TV Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television will be posted Monday, June 4th, at EmmyTVLegends.org.