Every time a celebrity dies of cancer, the spotlight is immediately switched to the particular health disorder. Kathryn Joosten brought in focus lung cancer after the 72-year-old actress died last Saturday at her home in Los Angeles.
For the fans of “Desperate Housewives”, Kathryn Joosten is known as the loud Mrs. McCluskey. The character Kathryn Joosten played in the TV series died of lung cancer less than a month ago. She got two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Mrs. McCluskey, but nothing saved her in real life from the lung cancer.
Kathryn Joosten’s publicist, Nadine Jolson, said that the actress died over the weekend in her home in Los Angeles after a fight with lung cancer that lasted 11 years. According to the actress’ family, she “was surrounded by love and humor ‘til the end”. The statement also reads: “We are laughing through our tears”.
Joosten had to fight cancer two times throughout her life. She said in an interview: “My first was in 2001 and my second was in 2009, two completely different lung cancers, one on each side”. Kathryn Joosten agreed to play Mrs. McCluskey in “Desperate Housewives” mainly because she could raise awareness for lung cancer. For a long time she was the only celebrity that was open about her suffering from lung cancer.
Back in February, the actress was telling The New York Post: “This will allow the public to much more comfortably talk about lung cancer”. She worked hard to make sure the plot was accurate and depicted the real life of a lung cancer patient. As she confessed, playing Mrs. McCluskey had also “a cathartic aspect to it” and referred to the character’s death as a practice session.
On Twitter, the news about Kathryn Joosten’s death got emotional reactions. Felicity Huffman wrote: “Rest in peace, she was an amazing woman and a wonderful actress”. Brenda Strong tweeted: “Wisteria Lane won’t be the same without you”.
Unlike many actors and actresses today, Kathryn Joosten started her acting career quite late. She was 42 and had been working as a psychiatric nurse when she first started acting. Over the years, Joosten played in 20 movies and appeared in several TV series.