Jessica Walter, Famed For 'Arrested Development,' 'Archer' Roles Dies
It's a sad day for Arrested Development fans everywhere – Jessica Walter, the beloved actress behind iconic roles including Lucille Bluth and Malory Archer on FXX's hit series, Archer passed away in her sleep on Wednesday in her New York City apartment, Deadline reported. She was 80 years old.
“It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica," Walter's daughter, Brooke Bowman said in a statement. “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.”
A revered actress with a long and diverse career, Walter began acting professionally in New York City, her hometown. Performing in several Broadway shows throughout the early 1960s, including Rumors and Advise and Consent, the actress scored the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her breakout roles as Clarice and Ada Cooney in Photo Finish.
Although Walter continued acting on stage throughout her career, most recently in a 2016 production of Steel Magnolias at Pennsylvania's Bucks County Playhouse, the actress also took the big screen and small screen by storm, starring in 1966's Grand Prix, Clint Eastwood's directorial debut, Play Misty for Me, and playing the titular character in NBC's police drama, Amy Prentiss, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 1975. In her later years, Walter captivated audiences everywhere, flexing her comedy chops as two hilarious, albeit very withholding moms in the modern classics Arrested Development and Archer.
Following news of Walter's passing, several co-stars and celebrities shared touching tributes to the regarded actress.
"This is so incredibly sad. I loved Jessica so much," Arrested Development director Paul Feig wrote on Twitter. “She was so funny and marched to the tune of her own drummer. A true original whom I had the honor of working with several times. So much love to you, Jessica. Rest In Peace.”
"I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with and know Jessica," Archer star Amber Nash wrote on Instagram. “She was the best of us. She would wait for a moment and then blow us all out of the water with the funniest thing you've ever heard. I learned so much from Jessica. A classy gal indeed.”
“Oh man!! I loved you Jessica Walter,” award-winning actress, Viola Davis wrote alongside a snap of the late star. “I grew up watching you AND admiring you. Always consistently excellent. Rest well."
Instead of flowers, Walter's family asks that any donations be sent to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, a charity that helps connect the visually impaired with guide dogs.
May her memory be a blessing.