Jessica Walter, award-winning stage and screen star with six decades in show business, died in her sleep on Wednesday, March 24th in New York City. (Via Deadline.) In recent years, Walter has been best known for her Emmy nomination, roles as matriarch Lucille Bluth in « Arrested Development » and as spokeswoman for Malory Archer in FXX’s animated series « Archer ». She won an Emmy in 1975 for her lead in the police drama « Amy Prentiss ».
Walter was born and raised in Brooklyn. He attended New York High School of Performing Arts (now Laguardia) and studied acting at the famous Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater. She began her career on Broadway with productions such as « Advise and Consent », Neil Simon’s « Rumors », « A Severed Head », « Nightlife », « Tartuffe », « The Royal Family » and « Photo Finish ».
Her earliest prominent film role was « Play Misty for Me » in 1971, in which she received a Golden Globe nomination as a young woman with a borderline personality disorder. She also played numerous television roles, including an episode of « Columbo, » and Emmy-nominated filming of « Trapper John M.D. » and « Streets of San Francisco. »
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Walter continued to return to the stage during her productive film career. In 2002 she played in an Encores! Production of « A Connecticut Yankee ». She later played Evangeline Harcourt in the Tony-nominated revival of Cole Porter’s « Anything Goes » (2011) alongside Suto Foster’s Reno Sweeney and Joel Grey’s Moonface Martin.
She was with former Broadway stage manager Ross Bowman from 1966 to 1978 married. In 1983 she married actor Ron Leibman, a Tony winner who founded the role of Roy Cohn in Tony Kushner’s « Angels in America ». They remained married until his death in 2019.
Walter is survived by daughter Brooke Bowman, SVP drama programmer at Fox Entertainment, and grandson Micah Heymann.
Bowman said in a statement: « With a heavy heart I confirm the death of my beloved mother Jessica. As an actress who has worked for over six decades, her greatest pleasure has been bringing joy to others by telling stories both on and off screen. While her legacy will live on through her work, she will also be remembered by many for her wit, class, and general joie de vivre. “
I just heard the shitty news about Jessica Walter, an absolutely brilliant actress and amazing talent. I consider myself privileged and very happy to be able to work with her. Lucille Bluth is one of television’s greatest characters.
She was a force, and her talent and timing were second to none. Rest in peace Mama Bluth. pic.twitter.com/wJeOeJleR3
Jessica Walter was a queen in every way: friendly, noble, incredibly talented, generous with love in support of &. And so hilarious. She was the brilliant center of our @ archerfxx universe. Sweet flight to you, dear Jessica. You were so loved and we were lucky enough to know you. 💔 pic.twitter.com/0fsXh6CwbS
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