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Jessica Walter, ‘Arrested Development’ Actor, Dies at 80

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Photo Credit - Jessica Walter at the 2019 WonderCon in Anaheim, California, By Gage Skidmore, Licensed Under CC Attribution 3.0.

Jessica Walter, the Emmy Award winning actor who best known for her role as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, died in her sleep at her New York home on Wednesday. She was 80.

Walter’s daughter, Brooke Bowman, a Fox entertainment executive, said in a statement to Deadline, “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.”

Born in New York City on January 31, 1941, Walter was best known for her stint in Arrested Development, for which she received an Emmy nomination in 2005 for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy. She also had three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy, in 2005, 2006 and 2014 for the same show.

In 1975, she won an Emmy Award for her role as the title character, in the NBC mystery Amy Prentiss. She was also nominated for Emmy Awards for The Streets of San Francisco in 1977, Trapper John, M.D. in 1980.

Walter also worked in several films. Her most notable big-screen role was in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 thriller Play Misty For Me, John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix, and Sidney Lumet’s The Group, both of which released in 1966.

She was also an ardent theatre performer, starting off the stage career in her hometown and giving a few of her best performances in Broadway productions like Advise and Consent, Neil Simon’s Rumors, A Severed Head, Night Life, and Photo Finish.

With the news of her passing, several co-stars and other names of Hollywood poured their tribute on social media.

Jason Bateman, who starred as Michael Bluth on Arrested Development, wrote, “I will forever remember my time with her, watching her bring Lucille Bluth to life. She was one of a kind.”

Another co-star, Tony Hale, who played her son in the same show, wrote, “She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched.”

“I consider myself privileged and very lucky to have been able to work with her,” wrote David Cross, who also starred in Arrested Development.

Among others who penned tributes were Alia Shawkat, Aisha Tyler, Viola Davis, Dylan Gelula, Edgar Wright, and others.

 

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Walter, who was married to the late Ron Leibman, is survived by her daughter and a grandson.

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