Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kathryn Joosten

I haven't seen an official obituary yet, but I learned via Twitter that Kathryn Joosten died. I got ridiculously choked up about it, given that I only know her as Mrs. Landingham from the West Wing.

Then I read her bio and was more impressed than ever.

She started out as a psychiatric nurse (probably came in handy), married a psychiatrist, had a couple of kids, lived in Lake Forest, Illinois...then the marriage fell apart because her husband was an alcoholic. She's a single mom, she's doing community theater in Illinois, and she decides at the age of 42 she wants to act professionally. How gutsy is that!

She supports herself by hanging wallpaper and painting houses while acting semi-professionally. She gets a gig at DisneyWorld and moves to Orlando where she's able to keep acting--while also bartending and catering. In 1995 (by which time she's 55), she moves to Hollywood, knocks on doors like crazy and starts getting small parts. And this is the woman who became Jed Bartlett's Miss Moneypenny on The West Wing.

I don't know about you, but I find this story impressive as hell. That, and what she's able to do here without seeming to do much at all.

Update: Here's the scene I really wanted to post yesterday. Thanks to the person who pulled it up for YouTube.

1 comment:

Millie said...

OH NO Mrs. Landingham! hklsdhglka this sucks. I love the West Wing and that sweet secretary. I bet the actress was a wonderful woman, too. This is making me very sad.