Jessica Walter made so many people laugh thanks to her wonderfully comedic roles on shows like Arrested Development and the animated series Archer. Sadly, Deadline is reporting that the celebrated actress has passed away at the age of 80. She died in her sleep at her home in New York City at the age of 80.
Jessica Walter had an incredible career that lasted for five decades. She made an indelible impression in the 1971 thriller Play Misty for Me. That film also happened to be the directorial debut of Clint Eastwood. It’s a truly chilling film that helped put Walter on the map and she became one of the most dependable character actors of her generation.
Many fans knew her from her many appearances on television shows. Jessica Walter appeared in such notable series as Columbo, The F.B.I., Streets of San Francisco, and her Emmy-nominated role on Trapper John M.D.. But it was her role as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development that endeared her to a whole new generation of fans and admirers. Her sharp tongue and demeaning demeanor were some of the most celebrated and hilarious aspects of a very funny show. Jessica Walter would bring that same razor-sharp wit and delivery to her role as Malory Archer on the highly-acclaimed animated series Archer. Even in her golden years, she was entertaining folks and showcasing her incredible talent.
She was also a valued member of her acting craft. Jessica Walter served as 2nd National Vice President of the Screen Actors Guild as well as an elected member of the SAG Board of Directors for over a decade. She took acting very seriously even though she was widely known in her later years for her comedic personas. It is a testament to her resiliency and poise that she carried out these duties while also remaining incredibly busy at her age. She didn’t even limit her acting prowess to the silver screen. Jessica Walter also starred in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes, the classic 1934 musical with music and lyrics by none other than Cole Porter. It was such a celebrated revival that the show ended up with several Tony Awards that year.
With over 161 screen credits to her name, Jessica Walter leaves behind a legacy that few of us can ever dream of. there is so much of her work that many have yet to discover. If you have only ever known this wonderful actress from her comedic work as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development or as Malory Archer from Archer, we at Giant Freakin Robot urge you to take a look at her impressive resume of film and television roles. There is a plethora of excellence to be discovered there, and you may very well realize you were enjoying a Jessica Walter performance without even knowing it since she also was a talented voice actress. She even recently appeared as the almighty Granny Goodness in the most recent season of DC’s Harley Quinn series.
The world of acting is dimmer now that Jessica Walter has left it. Thankfully, she will live on forever in her many incredible performances.