Cancer Claims Lives of Two Popular TV Personalities

Cancer has claimed two TV personalities this weekend: Kathryn Jooston and Richard Dawson.

Kathyn Joosten

Joosten, best known for her roles as nosy neighbor Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives as well as presidential secretary Delores Landingham on The West Wing, died after an eleven year battle with lung cancer. She was 72.

Joosten, a former smoker, was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001. It was successfully treated but returned in 2009. She subsequently underwent surgery and four rounds of chemotherapy, and was officially declared cancer-free in January 2010.

She became a big advocate for Lung Cancer Awareness and smoking cessation programs. She encouraged the Desperate Housewives‘s creator Marc Cherry to give her character lung cancer in order to raise awareness.

Ironically, her death happened 20 days after the onscreen death (from the same disease) of Karen McCluskey on the final episode of Desperate Housewives.

You can read about various aspects of lung cancer in some of the stories we have done in the past.

Richard Dawson

Richard Dawson was a British actor who first became popular in 1965, when he played the Cockney prisoner-of-war Cpl. Peter Newkirk on Hogan’s Heroes, a role he played for the next six years.

In 1976, he became the first host of Family Feud for which he won a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Game Show Host. His signature trademarks of kissing all the female contestants earned him the nickname, the “Kissing Bandit.”

Dawson died from complications of esophageal cancer on June 2, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center at the age of 79.

You can read about esophageal cancer here.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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