Emmy Award-winner Kathryn Joosten died of lung cancer Saturday. She was 72. The actress, best known for her role on Desperate Housewives as plucky neighbor Karen McCluskey and as The West Wing’s secretary Mrs. Landingham, was surrounded by family and friends in Westlake Village, Calif., at the time of her death. However, it was her role on CBS’s “The Bold and the Beautiful” that struck her fans the most. In great storytelling by my friend Bradley P. Bell, who helms the three-time Award-winning drama, Joosten was able to portray herself in a series of cameo appearances offering support to Nick Marone, played by the dynamic and handsome Jack Wagner, who was battling an addiction to smoking cigars, and had just been diagnosed with a spot on his lung.
“Kathryn passed away this morning after a valiant fight against her cancer,” Nadine Jolson, Joosten’s rep, confirmed to Highlight Hollywood magazine. “Her family was with her. Funeral arrangements are pending. This is a terrible loss, and she fought as hard as she could.”
Joosten told Highlight Hollywood at the she appeared on “B&B,” “I am very grateful to Brad (Bell) for doing such realistic stories about cancer survivors.” Indeed Brad has done that, and has garnered three Emmy Awards as the Best Drama Series in 2009, 2010 and 2011, for his brilliant and incredible stories surrounding not only Nick’s possible cancer diagnosis but Stephanie’s diagnoses of cancer of the brain and the lungs. Stephanie is played by multi-Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe winner Susan Flannery, who adored working with Joosten.
And when Highlight Hollywood spoke with “B&B” show runner Bradley Bell from his home in Bel Air on Saturday, he spoke very highly of Ms Joosten. “We are sad to learn of Kathryn’s passing. She was a tremendous actress and a brave warrior for lung cancer awareness. She was an integral part of our lung cancer story arc and we feel fortunate for the time we spent with her,” Bradley Bell Executive Producer and Head Writer, The Bold and the Beautiful.
Joosten was a real-life former smoker, who survived a bout with lung cancer in 2001, and had a another cancerous growth successfully removed from her lung in 2009 as she prepared for her fifth season of Housewives.
“She’ll be back to her feisty old self, chasing her old man down the street any day now,” her rep told PEOPLE at the time. Joosten was also a vocal advocate for lung cancer awareness and research. Telling Highlight Hollywood when she appeared on “B&B,” “I most certainly hope that Brad continues doing these storylines. Soaps can really help bring awareness to issues such as this, that other shows are incapable of doing. Brad should be commended,” Joosten concluded at the time. And he certainly shall be by Highlight Hollywood. The Holmby Hills based show runner is definitely one of my favorite people on the planet, and he surely continues to bring awareness to lung and other forms of cancer, as well as homelessness and recently received accolades for bringing awareness to youth, who become adults and are thrown out of the U.S. and California’s Foster Care system.
Kicking off her career as an actor at the age of 42, she was first a psychiatric nurse. Scoring small roles on Dharma and Greg, My Name is Earl, Ally McBeal, it was her comedic contributions to Wisteria Lane that her earned the Outstanding Guest Actress Emmy in 2005 and 2008. Housewives ended its run on ABC last month – Joosten’s character passed away in the series finale.
Her costar Felicity Huffman Tweeted Saturday, “All my prayers and love to Katherine (sic) Joosten’s family. Rest in peace, she was an amazing woman and a wonderful actress.”
She is survived by her two sons, Jonathan (and his wife Jeremy and their son Jon Henry) and Timothy (and his wife Karissa and their son Evan James), who released this statement: “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. Thanks to everyone for their love and support. We are laughing through our tears. We love you, Kathy, thanks for everything.”
Photographs are Courtesy: Jon McKee Photography for Bell Phillip TV Productions
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