Emmy Award-winning actress Jessica Walter, who is remembered as Bluth matriarch Lucille on sitcom Arrested Development (amongst many other roles), died Wednesday in her sleep at her home in New York City.
“It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica,” her 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.”
More recently, Walter voiced the character of Mallory Archer on satirical animated spy-themed comedy Archer on FX.
“We are utterly heartbroken to learn of the passing of Jessica Walter,” said FX in a statement. “She was a comedic genius and a brilliant actor who personified wit, grace and elegance. Jessica’s ‘Malory Archer’” served as the bedrock character for the series and we were always honored to have her as member of our FX family. Words cannot describe the monumental loss we and the Archer producers and cast feel. We extend our love, appreciation and condolences to Jessica’s family.”
Born January 31, 1941 in Brooklyn, New York, Jessica Walter became a recognizable face on television with early guest appearances on series like Naked City, Route 66, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Ben Casey, and Flipper. Her first regularly scheduled television series role was opposite William Shatner in 1965 legal drama For the People.
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Walter’s earliest notable film role was in the 1971 movie Play Misty For Me opposite Clint Eastwood, which resulted in a Golden Globe Award nomination in the Best Motion Picture Actress – Drama category.
In 1974, Walter won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for Amy Prentiss, which aired as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie rotation. At the same time, she appeared periodically on medical drama Trapper John, M.D.
Walter also had regular roles on television in drama Bare Essence (1983), Three’s Company spin-off Three’s A Crowd (1984-85), family drama Aaron’s Way (1988), and sitcoms Dinosaurs (1991-94), Oh Baby (1998-2000), and Retired at 35 (2011-12). This year she did a guest appearance on ABC’s American Housewife.
Walter is survived by daughter Brooke Bowman, who is SVP Drama Programming at Fox Entertainment, and grandson Micah Heymann.