25. Kathryn Joosten - Mrs. Landingham
The first major West Wing character to die on screen, Mrs. Landingham was always a breath of
fresh air in her role as President Bartlet’s Personal Secretary. Equipped with
a jar of cookies and a biting level of sass, she pulled no punches in verbally
sparring with those well above her in terms of authority.
A purely creative decision by Sorkin’s admission, Mrs, Landingham’s death added further weight to a season climax dominated by the drama of the President’s multiple sclerosis admissions. Her funeral served as a hugely emotional moment and she was fondly remembered throughout the rest of the series
Like the character, actress Kathryn Joosten is sadly no longer with us. Having only begun acting in her 50s, she passed away from lung cancer aged 72 in 2012, following an 11-year battle with the disease. The role of Mrs. Landingham was perhaps her most notable, though she subsequently won two Emmys for her recurring guest appearances in Desperate Housewives and was deemed memorable enough after making two appearances during the first season of Scrubs to be brought back as one of the many faces in J.D’s fantasised final walk through the hospital corridors.