Kathyrn Joosten: An Inspiration For All

 

 

It takes rare courage to get in a car and come to California without any contacts, but Kathryn Joosten,  Emmy winning actress (twice) for Desperate Housewives and regular on many other programs as The West Wing, did just that. 

 

Emmy Award wining Kathyrn Joosten

Trained as a psychiatric nurse at Michael Reese Hospital, this Chicago native, after divorcing her psychiatrist husband, had to occupy the kids so she could work.  While putting them in community theatre groups, she found herself hanging out afterwards on the production and soon found herself helping in little ways.  When they needed an actress for the play Gypsy, Kathryn was asked to audition  and was bitten by the acting bug. 

She continued in community theatre for a while and then called by Shirley Hamilton, the biggest Chicago agent of the time.  Soon, she was playing major Chicago theatres, doing commercials and other acting roles.  It wasn't long before Disney Orlando called her in to do a character part at their Florida theme park.  With her children grown,  Kathryn decided that the time was now for her to shine. 

Kathryn Joosten and Terri Hatcher

While the gig in Florida only lasted a short time, Kathryn became more convinced that acting was her life. When it became obvious that there wasn't a lot of work in the sunshine state, she took the plunge and moved to Los Angeles.

"Innocently enough, I gave myself six months."  Well, within five months, she had her first role on Family Matters.  While Kathryn enjoys doing comedy and mostly is cast in that, she also enjoys drama.  Her role on the West Wing earned her numerous acknowledgements, including one by the Congress!  (His wife, having been a fan of Kathryn's character,Mrs. Landingham, was horrified when Kathryn was killed off and asked her husband to have a moment of silence for a great American.) 

Things always haven't been rosy for this feisty actress.  In 2009, she managed, after a round of chemo and surgery, to recover from a second bout of lung cancer.   It's the largest cancer group there is.  "I learned that oncologists see you as a cancer and not as a patient."  Since then, as a survivor, Kathryn spends much of her free time volunteering with lung cancer groups, talking with other survivors and patients, and assisting with the various charities.   "Cancer people are often ashamed of their disease and they want to hide away, but it's important to get your feelings out in the open."  In July, Kathryn will also be starting a local group at a hospital in Westlake.   Her courage is inspiring to all of us. 

Kathyrn Joosten at home

Currently, you can see her not only in Desperate Housewives as the nosey neighbor, but in the Tracy Letts' play, Superior Donuts at the Gelfen Playhouse (opening June 8th) where she plays a crazy bag lady.  Later in July, she will be filming the forthcoming movie, The Escort Service, written by Deborah Romare and Vincent Wyley.   In addition, to getting her new house in shape, Kathryn is working on her autobiography.  "Getting started in Hollywood is hard for anyone, but I think my book will help." 

Her fans can leave messages for her at www.KathrynJoosten.com.  Her agency is David Shapiro Associates and her manager is Gail Abbott.   She can also be reached through her PR, Nadine Jolson at Jolson Creative Image. 

 



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