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Mrs. Landingham Dies – Cancer takes Kathryn Joosten at 72

June 3, 2012

“You Feckless Thug”

Bartlet: You’re a son of a bitch, you know that? She bought her first new car and you hit her with a drunk driver. What, was that supposed to be funny? “You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God,” says Graham Greene. I don’t know whose ass he was kissin’ there, ’cause I think you’re just vindictive. What was Josh Lyman, a warning shot? That was my son. What did I ever do to yours but praise his glory and praise his name? There’s a tropical storm that’s gaining speed and power. They say we haven’t had a storm this bad since you took out that Tender ship of mine in the North Atlantic last year. Sixty-eight crew. You know what a Tender ship? Fixes the other ships. It doesn’t even carry guns, it just goes around, fixes the other ships and delivers the mail. That’s all it can do.

Bartlet: Yes, I lied. It was a sin. I’ve committed many sins. Have I dispelased you, you feckless thug? 3.8 million new jobs, that wasn’t good? Bailed out Mexico, increased foreign trade, thirty million new acres of land for conservation, put Mendoza on the bench, we’re not fighting a war, I’ve raised three children… that’s not enough to buy me out of the dog house?

Translation of what Bartlet said in Latin: Am I really to believe that these are the acts of a loving God? A just God? A wise God? To hell with your punishments. I was your servant here on Earth. And I spread your word and I did your work. To hell with your punishments. To hell with you.

This Saturday we lost one of Televisions greats, Kathryn Joosten. Outside of her recent run on Desperate Housewives she is known probably best as Mrs Landingham, President Bartlett’s secretary on The West Wing.

Mrs. Landingham was the conscience of the President – she kept him honest – was one of the few that could yell back at Jeb Bartlett. It takes an actor of a certain talent to deliver the lines that Aaron Sorkin gives his actors, but Mrs. Joosten always excelled.

Albeit never a movie star – at least at the level of Martin Sheen – she owned the screen during her far too short run on The West Wing. Killed off in the last episode of season 2, her characters death was used as a major turning point in the plot – called President Bartlett to question his faith and gave him the fortitude to move on for a second term.

Here’s a few scenes from the episode that ended her run on the West Wing.

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