Died ... Kathryn Joosten.

Died ... Kathryn Joosten. Photo: AP

Kathryn Joosten, a veteran character actress who played the crotchety, nosy Karen McCluskey on Desperate Housewives, has died. She was 72.

Publicist Nadine Jolson said Joosten, who had battled lung cancer for years, died on Saturday in Los Angeles.

A veteran Emmy-winning character actor, Joosten was lauded for her portrayal of Mrs McCluskey, who kept a close eye on her Wisteria Lane neighbours. The hit show ended its run in the US last month with a series finale in which Joosten's character passed away.

Joosten also appeared on The West Wing as Mrs Landingham, the president's secretary.

AP