Kathryn Joosten

Born: 20 December 1939 (80 years old)
Gender: Female



Add to Actor Favourites


Kathryn Joosten (20 December, 1939 – 2 June, 2012) was an American actress best known for her television roles as Delores Landingham, secretary to President of the United States, on The West Wing (1999-2002); and as nosey neighbour Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives, from 2004-2012.

Joosten did not begin to hone her craft until middle age in the 1980s, after taking acting classes in Chicago, Illinois. She started acting at age 44.

It was not until the mid-1990s that Joosten made the move to Hollywood, where she took guest roles in television series such as 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 conniving agent, Bebe Glazer, played by Harriet Sansom Harris. The pair would later be reunited to play opposite neighbours in the first season of Desperate Housewives.

In 1999, Joosten took the role 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 a later episode), 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, So Little Time, Gilmore Girls, The Closer and a recurring role as one of the less intimidating incarnations of God seen by the title character (played by Amber Tamblyn) on Joan of Arcadia.

In 2005, Joosten appeared in the film Wedding Crashers, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.

Joosten also has appeared in numerous episodes of Desperate Housewives as Karen McCluskey, Lynette Scavo's (Felicity Huffman) bickering neighbour.

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 2006 and 2007 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations with the rest of the cast for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.

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.

In September 2009, Joosten was diagnosed with lung cancer for a second time. She subsequently underwent surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy, and was officially declared cancer-free in January 2010.

Joosten died of lung cancer on the morning of 2 June, 2012. She was 72.

Television Roles



Cafeteria Lady

Sister Alice

Mrs. Goldsmith

Genevive Holt


Woman at Reception

Karen McCluskey

Karen McCluskey

Karen McCluskey

Karen McCluskey

Karen McCluskey

Karen McCluskey

Karen McCluskey

Karen McCluskey

Elderly Woman


Mrs. Hammerhill


Mazie Fortner

Mrs. Drake

Maisie Joyce

Thelma McCreedy

Funeral Guest

Old Lady God

Old Lady God

Judge Drabowsky

Mrs. Pierce




Nurse Stempel

Neysa Gordon

Donny's Mom

Donny's Mom

Mrs. Prows



Miss O'Meara

Mrs. Nielsen


Mrs. Tanner

Mrs. Tanner

Mrs. Tanner

Warden Betsy

Sister Agnes


Nurse Townsend




Gloria Williams

Ward Nurse


Dolores Landingham

Dolores Landingham

Dolores Landingham

Dolores Landingham

Agent Edie Boal


Claire Atkinson


New on TV today: Sunday 12 July

Ivor en die Verskilmakers starts on VIA and Two and a Half Men returns to eExtra.

Council of Dads (Season 1)

So what happens when a family man fights a grave illness, faces death, and is worried about how his wife and five kids are gonna carry on without him? He has a ...

New on TV today: Saturday 11 July

Somizi & Mohale: The Union comes to Wethu, the final season of Supernatural starts on M-Net City and Khabodacious returns to SABC2.

2020 SAMAs: Music Video and Record of the Year nominees

The SAMA public voting categories have been announced and the choice of Best Video cannot be taken lightly.

The Bold and the Beautiful on Eva Teasers - August 2020

Is there hope to find out who is threatening Hope?

Wild Skin Teasers - August 2020

Camila prevents a shooting. Also, a hit-man is hired.

Rebel in Love Teasers - August 2020

Finale alert! Agustin and Gracia go from being in cahoots to warnings being given.

New on TV today: Friday 10 July

Join 1Magic for Dinner at Somizi's or Nat Geo to uncover Lost Treasures of the Maya.

Rhythm Cityzens take on Scandal! on Family Feud South Africa

They're wrapped between Steve Harvey this Sunday, 12 July. See who's competing.

Catch-up with Iron Rose star Aracely Arámbula

From Season 1 to Season 2. Telemundo's Iron Rose gives us her take on Altagracia's inner world across seasons.


More activity at TVSA Central




You browser doesn't have Flash, Silverlight, Gears, BrowserPlus or HTML5 support.