It’s great that some older actors can still get parts. But invariably it’s in a role in which they’re dying or about to. It happened twice to Kathryn Joosten in prominent series, “The West Wing” and “Desperate Housewives.”
And Saturday, it happened to her as well: She died of cancer at age 72.
She came to be known as Mrs. Landingham, the irrepressible secretary of President Bartlet on “The West Wing.” In the role, she doesn’t take his foolishness and knows a thing or two about what goes on in the Oval Office. When the character died suddenly, it was one of the most memorable episodes of the distinguished series.
It was her ticket, too, to anywhere else she wanted to play. She stood out in her role as Karen McKlusky on “Desperate Housewives” by not being a model, and not by overdoing her snoopy neighbor act. She faded in and out as the series went on. But when it came time to wrap up the series last month, her story – battling cancer, about to die in hospice – was the linchpin of the event.