Jessica Walter's Life in Photos
The Emmy Award-winning actor died Wednesday, March 24, at age 80.
On Wednesday, March 24, actor Jessica Walter, best known for her roles as Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development and Malory Archer on animated series Archer, died in her sleep at age 80. Her daughter, Brooke Bowman, confirmed Walter's death.
In a statement (via Deadline), Bowman wrote, "It is with a heavy heart that I 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 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."
Walter had 24 movie credits to her name, a television career that spanned more than five decades, and had been a fixture in Broadway and off-Broadway plays and musicals since the 1960s. Read on to look back on Walter's impressive career through photos. And for more celebrities we've lost this year, see Cicely Tyson's Life in Photos.
In 1964, Walter got her big break in Lilith, starring opposite Warren Beatty, Peter Fonda, and Gene Hackman in the film, based on the J.R. Salamanca novel of the same name.
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In 1966, Walter starred in Grand Prix, the story of a group of Formula One drivers, playing opposite James Garner, Françoise Hardy, and Eva Marie Saint. Walter was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year—Actress for her role in the film.
Between 1970 and 1971, Walter starred on sci-fi TV series The Immortal, as well as making appearances on shows including Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Name of the Game, Alias Smith and Jones, and starring in the film Play Misty for Me, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama.
From 1974 to 1975, Walter played the title character in the NBC police drama Amy Prentiss, for which she won the 1975 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series.
Walter is seen here in 1984 with daughter Brooke Bowman and husband Ron Leibman, a fellow actor, who passed in 2019. Walter was always quick to sing the praises of her family in interviews, telling the New York Daily News of her TV exec daughter in 2011, "She could hire and fire me. She has hired me, but she has not fired me."
Walter, seen here on the red carpet for Arrested Development at the Fox Upfront Previews in 2003 with co-stars Portia de Rossi, Michael Cera, and Jason Bateman, may have been beloved for her role as sharp-tongued matriarch Lucille Bluth in the series, but in real life, she claimed she had little in common with the character.
"I once told someone, 'Ask my daughter. She'll tell you I'm nothing like Lucille,'" she told The Wall Street Journal in 2019.
In 2005, two years after the hit comedy first aired, Walter was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development. She would also be nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress—Series, Miniseries, or Television Film; a TV Land Award for Future Classic; and two Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series for the role.
And for more celebrities who got their biggest roles later in life, check out these 40 Stars Who Didn't Become Famous Until After 40.
Despite Walter's growing celebrity after being cast in Arrested Development, she eagerly took on smaller roles, as well. Here, she is seen participating in time-limited annual live theater event The 24 Hour Plays at New York's Atlantic Theater.
And for more celebrities with surprising talents, check out these 17 Celebrities You Didn't Know Could Sing.
Walter, seen here with Archer co-star Aisha Tyler in 2010, was a fan favorite for her role as overbearing mother Malory Archer in the animated series. "I'm attracted to [these parts] because they're juicy characters to play, but I don't know why I always get those roles. I think it's interesting. However, I think it's great because…your basic nice gal is really boring," she told FanBolt in 2011.
From 2010 to 2011, Walter (seen here with late actor Valerie Harper) helmed a lead role on TV Land series Retired at 35. "I think the episodes just get better and better," she told ET Online of the show.
Arrested Development returned for its fourth and fifth seasons in 2018, a job Walter said she was happy to come back to. "It has so much meaning for me. I'll play this until I die, with my wheelchair and my cane, if they ask me," she told The New York Times in 2018.
In the final years of her life, Walter's career was busier than ever, with continued TV work on Archer, Good Girls, Harley Quinn, and American Housewife, as well as a film role in 2020's The Mimic.
"I mean, honey, you name it, I've done it," she told Elle in 2019.
For more recently departed stars we'll miss, check out Cloris Leachman's Life in Photos.