‘Desperate Housewives’ Joosten loses battle to lung cancer at 72

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‘Desperate Housewives’ Joosten loses battle to lung cancer at 72


LOS ANGELES - Kathryn Joosten, a character actress best known as the crotchety but loveable Karen McCluskey on “Desperate Housewives’’ and the president’s secretary on “The West Wing,’’ has died. She was 72.

Joosten, who had battled lung cancer for 11 years, passed away on Saturday at her home in Los Angeles, her publicist Nadine Jolson said.

Joosten “was surrounded by love and humor ‘til the end,’’ her family said in a statement. “We are laughing through our tears.’’

Joosten won two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Mrs. McCluskey, who kept a close eye on her Wisteria Lane neighbors on “Desperate Housewives.’’ The hit show ended its eight-year 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.

Joosten’s “Desperate Housewives’’ co-stars took to Twitter to express their condolences. “Rest in peace, she was an amazing woman and a wonderful actress,’’ Felicity Huffman wrote.

Joosten was a psychiatric nurse and single mother in suburban Chicago when she began her acting career at 42. She wrote on her Web site that she pursued her childhood dream of acting after getting involved with her hometown theater in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Over the years, she found steady work appearing in such popular shows as “Dharma & Greg,’’ “Ally McBeal’’ and “Scrubs.’’

“Some people in Hollywood think of me as a model for dramatic midlife transitions: suburban housewife to Emmy-winning actress,’’ she wrote on her Web site.

“But I never plotted a master plan for following my dreams.’’

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