Jessica Walter, Star of ‘Arrested Development’ and ‘Archer,’ Has Died at 80
Award-winning actress Jessica Walter died March 25 at home in New York City at age 80.
The star, whose most notable roles over the past decade have been as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development and the voice of Archer’s mother Malory on Archer, had a movie, theater, and TV career that spanned more than 60 years.
Her awards include an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Special Program for Amy Prentiss NBC Sunday Mystery Movie, which became a series on NBC (it was an Ironside spinoff), and three Emmy nominations each for Trapper John M.D., Streets of San Francisco, and Arrested Development.
The actress’ memorable breakout role was as an obsessed fan in the classic 1971 Clint Eastwood movie Play Misty For Me. Other movies include The Flamingo Kid.
In the FXX animated sitcom Archer, she was far more than a (sharp-tongued) mother: Walter played the former Chief Executive Officer of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS), where the main characters worked, and she ruled commandingly, with withering remarks and a drink in her hand.
In her role as Lucille Bluth in Netflix’s Arrested Development — which also earned her two SAG nominations — Walter played another icy matriarch, only one who was trying hard to keep her grasp on a privileged life slipping out of her grasp (which she did mostly through sarcasm and denial).
One of the first of her co-stars to post a tribute on social media was Tony Hale, who played Lucille’s neurotic son Buster Buth, who had a veryclose relationship with his mother.
She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched. Rest In Peace Mama Bluth. pic.twitter.com/wJeOeJleR3
— Tony Hale (@MrTonyHale) March 25, 2021
Other notable TV shows in which Walter appeared included 90201 and Retired at 35, which ran for two seasons on TV Land (2011 – 2o12) and also starred the late George Segal. She appeared with Segal as well on the latter’s hit show, Just Shoot Me.
The list of shows she guest starred on includes Good Girls, Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, At Home With Amy Sedaris and many, many more.
In a statement published by multiple outlets, the actress’s daughter Brooke Bowman, who is the SVP Drama Programming at Fox Entertainment, said: “It is with heavy heart that I can confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica. A working actor for over six decades, her greatest pleasure was bringing joy to others through her story telling 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.”