'Desperate Housewives' Star Kathryn Joosten Dead At 72

Emmy-winning actress, also known for 'West Wing,' died of lung cancer Friday.

Kathryn Joosten, star of hit shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "The West Wing," died Friday at age 72.

The Emmy-winning actress lost her decade-long battle with lung cancer, and a rep told TMZ she was surrounded by family when she passed. She was originally diagnosed with the disease in 2001 and it returned in 2009.

"Kathryn passed away this morning after a valiant fight against her cancer," her rep, told E! News. "Her family was with her. Funeral arrangements are pending. This is a terrible loss, and she fought as hard as she could."

Most recently she was known for playing Wisteria Lane's very own Karen McCluskey on the hit ABC prime-time dramedy "Desperate Housewives." Her role on the show earned her two Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series Emmys, in 2005 and 2008. She was nominated again in 2010. By her third nomination, she had been promoted to a series regular despite the Guest Actress nod from the Emmys. Her character died in the final season of the show, which ended last month.

Before hanging with the glamorous ladies on "Housewives," she starred on the political drama "The West Wing" as President Bartlet's (Martin Sheen) secretary Dolores Landingham. She was on the show for three seasons, from 1999 to 2002.

Her other credits include "Dharma & Greg," "Becker," Roseanne," "NYPD Blue" and "Family Matters." Her rise to fame came late in life. The Florida native decided to pursue an acting career at age 42 in the 1980s after taking classes in Chicago, where she was a psychiatric nurse at the Michael Reese Hospital. She learned her craft at Chicago's famed Steppenwolf Theatre and also did theater in the Windy City for some time.

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