“Arrested Development” Star Jessica Walter Passes Away at 80
Arrested Development star Jessica Walter has passed away.
According to Deadline, the actress died in her sleep at her home in New York on Wednesday, March 24. She was 80 years old. A cause of death was not revealed.
“It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica,” her daughter Brooke Bowman, SVP of Drama Programming at Fox Entertainment, said in a statement to E! News. “A working actor for over six decades, her greatest pleasure was bringing joy to others through her storytelling both on screen and off. While her legacy will live on through her body of work, she will also be remembered by many for her wit, class and overall joie de vivre.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Walter was born in Brooklyn in 1941 and raised in Astoria, Queens. She attended New York’s High School of Performing Arts and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre and landed her first acting job when she was 17.
Walter started her career on the stage and starred in several Broadway productions, including Advise and Consent, Rumors, A Severed Head, Nightlife and Photo Finish. She won a Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Newcomer for the latter. She also worked at New York’s Playwright’s Horizons and the Los Angeles Theater Center.
Later on, Walter appeared in a number of films. For instance, she earned her first Golden Globe nomination for her role in the 1966 movie Grand Prix and secured a second nod for her performance in the 1971 picture Play Misty for Me. She also acted in The Group, Slums of Beverly Hills, Lilith, The Flamingo Kid and more.
In addition to starring in several movies, Walter appeared on many TV shows. She won an Emmy for her portrayal of the title character in Amy Prentiss and earned nominations for her roles in Trapper John, M.D. and The Streets of San Francisco. She also received a nod for her performance in Arrested Development, in which she played Lucille Bluth, and recently played Malory Archer in Archer. According to the Television Academy, Walter also guest-starred in more than 60 episodic television roles.
After news of her passing broke, several of her former co-stars took to social media to pay tribute. “She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched,” Tony Hale tweeted. “Rest In Peace Mama Bluth.”
Added Henry Winkler, “OH NO …We worked together for years on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT..It was an honor to watch her comedy explode from the very first row.”
In addition, David Cross called Walter a “brilliant actress” an “amazing talent,” noting “Lucille Bluth is one of TV’s greatest characters.”
Walter reflected on her career during a 2019 interview with The Wall Street Journal. “If you get rejected, you’ve just got to plow ahead,” she said at the time. “What keeps me going is that I still love it. I still have a passion for acting.”