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Mrs. Landingham

If any of you were fans of The West Wing or Desperate Housewives (or pretty much any other show in the last couple of decades) then you were familiar with Kathy Joosten who passed away last weekend.Kathy was one of the founding members of a theatre company I joined shortly after moving to Los Angeles and I encountered her at my very first company audition*.

She was running the audition – meaning she was in charge of the waiting area, taking resumes and ushering people into the actual audition room.  She took my resume and looked me and it over and said:

 “Well, you’re fresh off the boat aren’t you?  This is a nice New York resume but you’re in LA now.  You need to move these credits around, drop that credit and you need a different picture.”

That may not be an exact quote because in my head all I was thinking was “Oh My God Mrs Landingham is talking to me!!!!!!!”

And it was like having Mrs. Landingham talk to you.  Same voice, same demeanor – a little gruff, vaguely annoyed maybe? But there was a bit of a warm sparkle in her eye and what she was saying was totally kind and very thoughtful (and right!).

And that’s how she was – she could be sweet or fairly cantankerous – she certainly didn’t suffer fools (or those she thought were fools) gladly but she respected hard work and was quite generous in a quiet sort of way.  For instance – we weren’t close friends or anything – just acquaintances – but she was one of the very first people to give me a shot and have me work on some furniture for her when I started this Cheltenham Road venture.

And I wanted to share something a fellow company member posted on Facebook about her that I thought was both true and pretty inspirational.

And I think that sums it up beautifully. Remember her example if you’re feeling too old for something, or stuck in your life  – she scaled a huge and very difficult mountain and she did it with talent and hard work.  You can too.


*For those of you who have joined this blog more recently, I moonlight as an actor sometimes doing small roles on TV and larger roles on stage.

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

4 responses »

  1. I adored her. So sad when we lose one of the good ones.

  2. What a beautiful tribute, David. She is smiling down on you and wishing you well on your next audition! You were lucky to have such an inspirational role model in your life! And YOU are living what your fellow company member posted about her. Age is only a number unless you let it get in your way!

  3. I’m glad to hear that you are still an actor sometimes. It is a delight to read your blog and the piece about Mrs. Landingham was very encouraging to me.

  4. Becki Foster

    I always enjoyed her on TV! Your article about her is an inspiration to all of us! I’m sure she is smiling down on you with that twinkle in her eye.


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