What a joy she was on TV! I'm sure she must've been an amazing and strong woman. Not many people can accomplish such a steady and successful TV career after 50 with no Hollywood connections. But she was slowly adapting to this whole business thing and a few years later (after Murphy Brown, Frasier, ER, West Wing, Joan of Arcadia etc.) she landed the part of Karen McCluskey on this little ABC's iconic show 'Desperate Housewives' where her guest star role turned into a recurring and later a supporting regular role on the show. She totally owned that part (although many fans still think of her as Ms. Landingham from 'West Wing') and was nominated for 3 Emmys (won two of them). Desperate Housewives ended it's run on May 13, 2012 and Mrs. McCluskey dies of lung cancer in the last minutes of the series finale.
But sadly, life imitates art here and not in a good way. Kathy died barely three weeks after that on June 1, 2012 of lung cancer. She did so much to let the public know about this disease and the fight (even hers) against it. No, she didn't loose her battle. She fought up until the very last minute. I will always remember this classy lady who was never afraid to speak her mind and show us some real acting.