Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives Star, Dies at 72

Actress Kathryn Joosten attends "1 Voice" An Evening of Monologues, Music and Memories at NEO Ensemble Theatre on October 5, 2010 in Hollywood, California.  David Livingston/Getty Images

Kathryn Joosten passed away on Friday. She was 72.

According to TMZ, the actress died after a long battle with lung cancer. Joosten's rep said she was surrounded by family at the time of her death.

Joosten may be best known for playing Karen McKluskey on Desperate Housewives. The role won her an Emmy award in 2005 and 2008 for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. Joosten is also known for her role as Dolores Landingham in the first two seasons of The West Wing.

The actress was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001, and in September 2009 the cancer returned. She was named the National Spokesperson for the Lung Cancer Profiles campaign on behalf of Pfizer. 

Joosten spoke out about her battle with lung cancer — and misconceptions about the disease — to Entertainment Tonight in 2009, "I want them to know that the public has to stop treating it as though it were some invisible stepchild that can be ignored," she said. "You've got to start stepping forward. Smoking is going down, down, down. You don't see people smoking in public places anymore, hardly at all. Lung cancer is going up, up, up and we're not paying any attention."

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