Kathryn Joosten is currently starring as Mrs. McClusky on the popular, award winning series Desperate Housewives. In 2005 and 2008, Kathryn won an Emmy for her portrayal of the crotchety, gossipy neighbor on the hit ABC comedy. Kathryn was also nominated for a SAG Award for Desperate Housewives in 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2005 Kathryn won a Camie Award (Character and Morality in Entertainment Awards) for her work in the Lifetime Movie, Secret Santa. Kathryn also won a Theatre Los Angeles Ovation Award for her work in the play, “Ladies of the Corridor” in 2000. Kathryn recently became a two-time survivor of Lung Cancer, with the successful completion of treatment in late 2009.
Prior to joining the Desperate Housewives cast, she was best known as Mrs. Landingham, secretary to the President of the United States, (Martin Sheen), on the critically acclaimed and Emmy award winning NBC drama, The West Wing. She has also recurred on "Dharma and Greg", and guest-starred on many hit television series such as My Name Is Earl, Becker, Arli$$, Ally McBeal, Providence, Scrubs, and over twenty other prime time shows. Her credits are impressive for any actor, let alone as part of a career that only began at age 42.
Her first career was as a psychiatric nurse in a medium security unit of Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Through that job she met and married a psychiatrist, gave birth to two boys and settled down as a suburban housewife in Lake Forest, Illinois, a well-to-do suburb of Chicago. In 1980, her husband's alcoholism led Kathryn to a divorce and a difficult situation -- a single mother with two young sons. Kathryn rediscovered her childhood dream of acting after becoming involved with the community Theater in her hometown of Lake Forest, Ill. Kathryn never forgot the anger and bitterness her mother expressed on her death bed for having put aside dreams and plans for the future that would never be. After a few successes at Community Theater, Kathryn decided to see if she could follow her dream.
During Kathryn's initial days as an actor, she supported her family by hanging wallpaper and painting the mansions of her neighbors in Lake Forest, working as a sales person for a Welcome Wagon company, and using her contacts to book film and print locations in the houses she was painting. These all gave Kathryn the chance to improve her skills and move from Community Theater to semi-professional theater in Chicago.
Kathryn's first break was in 1992, thanks to Disney World. She attended cattle call for street performers for Disney/MGM in Orlando. After standing in line for five hours, Kathryn got the part and moved shop to Orlando, Florida. Though she was living behind an adult arcade in the “tourist unfriendly” part of Orlando, Kathryn was finally earning her living through performance and loving it. The part only lasted for a year and once again Kathryn was forced to supplement her acting income with other work -- bartending and catering during the day, theater at night. Though the acting gig was over, the move to Florida proved one thing to Kathryn...she had the talent to make it as an actor. She did it once and she could do it again. Unfortunately, it took her two and half years to realize it wouldn't happen in central Florida.
In December 1995, Kathryn again packed a truck and drove to Hollywood. Although she didn't have an agent and nor did she have connections, that did not stop Kathryn. In only five months she landed her first part...two lines in "Family Matters". In the years since then, she has appeared in over a dozen plays, movies, national television commercials, pilots, drama series and sitcoms. As she was climbing the Hollywood ladder, her many roles included one of Murphy Brown's many secretaries, Frazier's agent's mother and the bingo buddy to Drew Carey's girlfriend. But it was the death of her character on West Wing, Mrs. Landingham that has propelled her into the spotlight. The Speaker for the Assembly of the State of California offered a moment of silent in the State House of California for the great American, Dolores Landingham.
When she is not working, Kathryn supports a variety of charities, including National Lung Cancer Partnership, Lungevity, Lung Cancer Alliance, Pets are Wonderful Support/Los Angeles, and the San Antonio AIDS Foundation. Kathryn knows she is lucky not only to have succeeded as an actor – because she is also two-time survivor of Lung Cancer. Kathryn recently was diagnosed with a new lung cancer – and she successfully underwent surgery and treatments and has also conquered that mountain. She credits her amazing doctor and her SAG health insurance for making that a reality. Kathryn is also a former Governor for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and currently sits on their Executive Committee.
The rest, as they say, is Hollywood history.
For more information on Kathy Joosten, please contact Thomas DeLorenzo at 323.656.1068 or ThomasDeLorenzo@mac.com.