Emmy winner & Golden Globe nominee Jessica Walter dies at age 80
ComingSoon.net is saddened to report (via Variety) that Emmy winner and two-time Golden Globe nominee Jessica Walter, best known for her roles in the Jason Bateman-led ensemble sitcom Arrested Development and beloved FX animated series Archer, has died at the age of 80. Though an exact cause of death has yet to be determined, sources report that Walter passed away in her sleep in her New York home.
“Jessica Walter’s spectacular turn as the devilish Lucille Bluth is one of the great comedic performances of television history, and we loved working with her as much as audiences loved her on Arrested Development,” 20th Television said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to her family and friends, particularly her daughter, and our former colleague, Brooke. We know that heaven just got a whole lot funnier with Jessica now in residence.”
Walter led an impressive career in her six decades in the industry, with her second big screen role in John Frankenheimer’s 1966 sports drama Grand Prix landing her her first Golden Globe nomination and would quickly net her second nomination five years later in Clint Eastwood’s celebrated directorial debut psychological thriller Play Misty for Me. At the same time as starring in her major film roles, Walter was also establishing herself as a strong presence on the small screen with guest roles in Flipper, The Fugitive, The F.B.I., Mission: Impossible and Hawaii Five-O.
This would all lead to her appearing in NBC’s crime drama Ironside and getting her own spinoff series Amy Prentiss that ran for three two-hour episodes on the network and secured Walter her first Emmy win. After appearing in a number of TV series and movies, including the Peter Hooten-led Dr. Strange, Walter would begin to find a new streak of starring roles in TV and film as matriarch Fran in ABC’s cult classic Dinosaurs, campus President Garcia-Thompson in the wildly underrated college comedy PCU and Natasha Lyonne-led dramedy Slums of Beverly Hills.
She would soon find one of her most iconic roles as Bluth family matriarch Lucille in Mitchell Hurwitz’ Arrested Development in 2003, which ran for three seasons on Fox before being cancelled and later revived by Netflix for a 37-episode fourth season split into two parts and a 16-episode fifth season similarly split in half. Her newfound domination of the small screen would expand in 2009 with the FX animated spy comedy Archer as the titular spy’s mother Malory and was also part of the main cast of the short-lived TV Land sitcoms Retired at 35 and Jennifer Falls. Walter sadly marks the second member of the Archer main voice cast to pass during the show’s run, with Oscar nominee George Coe, the voice of Sterling’s valet Sir Arthur Woodhouse, passing away in 2015 and his character being written out after five seasons and with a twelfth season in the works for the series, chances are Malory will similarly be forced to be written out.
Many of Walter’s fans and former collaborators have taken to various social media to mourn their loss for their friend and star, some of which include:
(Photo Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)