Kathryn Joosten


My A to Z blogging theme is studying people who found success later in life.  K is for actress Kathryn Joosten.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.24.34 PM Interesting Facts:

–  She was a psychiatric nurse in Chicago and her ex-husband was a psychiatrist.  If that doesn’t give you fodder for acting material, I don’t know what does. After all, acting is about studying what makes your character tick.

–  She was a former smoker.  She battled lung cancer in 2001 and it returned in 2009.  Joosten was named the national spokesperson for the Lung Cancer Profiles campaign on behalf of Pfizer.  The cancer returned again and claimed her life in 2012.

Routes to Success:

–  In 1980, Joosten’s marriage broke up and she desired a change.  She took classes from Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and landed bit parts in community productions.

– She moved to Los Angeles in 1995.  Joosten scored small roles on shows like Family Matters, Roseanne and NYPD Blue.

–  Then she landed the role of Mrs. Landingham on The West Wing.  I loved her in this role.  I sobbed like a baby when her on-screen character was killed off.

–  Her next role was Mrs. McCluskey on Desperate Housewives.  She earned the Outstanding Guest Actress Emmy in 2005 and 2008 for the role.

2008 Creative Arts Awards - Press Room

Kathryn Joosten (Frederick M Brown/Getty Images)

My Take Away:

Was she a big movie star?  Was she a household name?  Perhaps not but at age 42 she walked into the historic Steppenwolf Theatre ready to learn!  That takes guts!  I would be happy as a clam if I could have her success.  I’m 42 and I’m a trained actress with a BFA in theatre performance AND I don’t think I would have the guts to walk into Steppenwolf tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “Kathryn Joosten”

  1. I cried like a baby, too, when they killed her character off on The West Wing.

    I’m also smiling, because she was part of my L for A to Z today. Nice post.

    I loved her body of work.

    Good luck with A to Z.
    Elen @ Elen G recently posted..L is for… ?My Profile

    1. A fellow actress, I might have known! And yes, given the opportunity I’m sure you would have gone into that theatre and done the same. Thanks so much for supporting this old woman, 80 next year, on her final career journey, begun when she was 73 :0)
      Carole Anne Carr recently posted..M is for MatildaMy Profile

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