Social Icons

Social Connect

June 02, 2012

Official Television Academy Statement: Kathryn Joosten (1939-2012)

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences released its official statement, acknowledging the passing of two-time Primetime Emmy® winner Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives, The West Wing), who served as Television Academy governor for many years. Read complete remarks here.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is deeply saddened to acknowledge the passing of Kathryn Joosten.

Joosten was 72 and succumbed to lung cancer. Joosten was a three-time Primetime Emmy® nominee and two-time Emmy Award winner for her work on the hit series “Desperate Housewives” (2008, 2005 – Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series), and appeared in countless television shows including “The West Wing,” “Dharma and Greg,” “My Name is Earl,” and “Ally McBeal.” (Pictured at right on the 63rd Primetime Emmys Red Carpet in 2011)

Additionally, Joosten was elected three times as a Governor for the Television Academy’s Performers Peer Group; completing two terms, and was in the midst of another term at the time of her passing.

Joosten was a wonderful example of what makes the television business so special. Working as a nurse in Chicago, Joosten made the gutsy decision, at the age of 42, to pursue her dreams and focused her efforts on becoming an actress.

Starting in Community Theatre in Chicago, she moved to Orlando and finally made her way to Los Angeles in 1995. Her drive and determination started to pay off with roles on “Murphy Brown” and “Family Matters,” before her breakthrough on “The West Wing” as Mrs. Landingham, the president secretary.”

Joosten was a strong advocate of lung cancer awareness and research; a disease she battled twice but was always outspoken on the dangers of smoking and the importance of educating others. Her advocacy was even paralleled into her role as Karen McClusky on “Desperate Housewives” after she convinced creator Marc Cherry that Karen suffer lung cancer to call attention to the disease.

Later, it was Marc Cherry who came to her and asked if he could reintroduce lung cancer; this time to be fatal, to her character for the final season and she stated, "Yes, but you have to get it right!"

She went on to say, "I have no fear of delving into this storyline. This is a terrific idea to get the word out there and bring lung cancer awareness into the spotlight."

Kathryn Joosten was an avid horsewoman and deeply loved her family, friends and fans. She is survived by her two sons, Jonathan and Timothy, their wives Jeremy and Karissa, and two grandchildren, Jon Henry and Evan.

Alan Perris, COO of the Television Academy stated, "We are saddened to hear the news about Kathy and extend our deepest condolences to her family. Her talents as an actress are well known, but I also had the pleasure of working with her for six years here at the Television Academy, and knew her to be an exceptional representative of the performers peer group and spirited contributor to our organization. She will be missed."

Earlier this year, Joosten did a lengthy interview with the Television Academy Foundation's Archive of American Television. That interview will be posted Monday, June 4th, at

The family will be holding a private service and a memorial service will be announced soon.

About the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, founded in 1946 at the birth of the medium, is a non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of telecommunication arts, sciences and creative leadership. Known for recognizing outstanding programming through its Primetime Emmy® Awards, the Television Academy also publishes emmy magazine. Its charitable Foundation operates the Archive of American Television, College Television Awards, acclaimed student internships and other educational outreach programs. For more information on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, its many industry-related programs and services, including year-round events, please visit

For the Joosten Family:

Nadine Jolson


For the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences:

Lewis Kay/Brian Rubin – PMK*BNC


Add Your Comment

Must See

Seth Meyers to Host 66th Primetime Emmy Awards

Don Mischer named as executive producer

Primetime Emmy Awards

Click here to submit your entry into the Primetime Emmy Awards.

35th College Television Awards

Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham (USA Network's Playing House) host the event.