As my colleague Mandi Bierly wrote in her recap of Sunday’s series finale of ABC’s long-running soap Desperate Housewives, Kathryn Joosten’s Mrs. McCluskey “was the real heart” of the episode.
Besides possibly nabbing herself a fourth Emmy nomination (and a third win) for playing the cantankerous Wisteria Lane neighbor for eight seasons, the big question for Joosten is: Where does she go from here? EW recently sat down with the 72-year-old actress to discuss how her ending came together on Desperate Housewives; why she’ll likely never work with West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin again; her own fight with lung cancer; what’s next for her; and much more.
Right from the outset of the meeting, Joosten reminds us that Desperate creator Marc Cherry said he’d never kill her off the show when she first accepted the role. “He promised that right from the beginning,” Joosten says. “I just had come off The West Wing, where I got killed off. Then I got a soap opera where I got hung, you know? And then I was the first death for Zach [Braff] on Scrubs. I was his first death. So I had three deaths in a row. So when I got to Desperate Housewives, I said jokingly to Marc, ‘You can’t kill me off!’ Marc made the mistake of saying he wouldn’t kill me off. But then I made him repeat it again in public! I kept pushing on it, because it was like, What are they going to do with me? So it became, then he was committed. What are they going to do with me?”