Brooklyn-born actress, "Arrested Development" star Jessica Walter dies at 80

Jessica Walter, whose roles as a scheming matriarch in TV’s “Arrested Development” and a stalker in “Play Misty for Me” were in line with a career that drew on her astringent screen presence more than her good looks, has died.

Associated Press

Mar 25, 2021, 8:18 PM

Updated 1,207 days ago

Share:

Brooklyn-born actress, "Arrested Development" star Jessica Walter dies at 80
Jessica Walter, whose roles as a scheming matriarch in TV’s “Arrested Development” and a stalker in “Play Misty for Me” were in line with a career that drew on her astringent screen presence more than her good looks, has died. She was 80.
Walter’s death was confirmed Thursday by her daughter, Brooke Bowman, an entertainment industry executive. A cause of death and other details were not immediately provided.
“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,” Bowman said in a statement.
Walter will also be well-remembered for “her wit, class and overall joie de vivre,” or life of love, her daughter added.
Although her photogenic appearance might have qualified her for standard leading lady roles, Walter claimed no regrets about being cast as a character actor.
She loved playing difficult women because “those are the fun roles. They’re juicy, much better than playing the vanilla ingénues, you know—Miss Vanilla Ice Cream,” Walter said in an AV Club website interview.
Her most memorable film role was in Clint Eastwood’s 1971 thriller “Play Misty For Me” — her first significant lead — in which she plays Evelyn Draper, the woman who becomes obsessed with Eastwood’s disc jockey character. Walter was widely praised for her unnerving performance.
Roger Ebert wrote in his review that, “She is something like flypaper; the more you struggle against her personality, the more tightly you’re held.”
“Arrested Development” represented a second act for Walter, and earned her admiration from a new generation of fans.
Walter’s feature debut was in the 1964 film “Lilith,” with Warren Beatty, Jean Seberg and Gene Hackman, who was also on his first film.
She won a role in John Frankenheimer’s racing epic “Grand Prix,” from 1966, as the glamorous but discontented wife of a Formula One racer who falls for another driver.
That same year she appeared in Sidney Lumet’s “The Group,” a female-led ensemble about the graduates of a prestigious university (Walter played the catty Libby), and acted for Lumet again in 1968’s “Bye Bye Braverman.”


More from News 12
2:11
Long Island braces for major heat with feels-like temperatures near 100 degrees

Long Island braces for major heat with feels-like temperatures near 100 degrees

2:01
HEAT ALERT: Feels-like temperatures near 100 on Long Island; tracking thunderstorms and showers

HEAT ALERT: Feels-like temperatures near 100 on Long Island; tracking thunderstorms and showers

2:07
Dr. Sanjey Gupta offers health tips amid dangerous heat conditions

Dr. Sanjey Gupta offers health tips amid dangerous heat conditions

3:40
Long Island officials reflect on Trump assassination attempt and security concerns for future public events

Long Island officials reflect on Trump assassination attempt and security concerns for future public events

3:30
Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

0:17
Police: Suspect wanted for fleeing scene of crash in Shirley

Police: Suspect wanted for fleeing scene of crash in Shirley

0:28
Police: 3 people injured following wrong-way crash in West Islip

Police: 3 people injured following wrong-way crash in West Islip

5:30
In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’

In prime-time address, Biden warns of election-year rhetoric, saying ‘it’s time to cool it down’

0:20
Suffolk police: Man drowned at Smith Point County Park in Shirley

Suffolk police: Man drowned at Smith Point County Park in Shirley

1:37
Family rallies for harsher penalties for drivers under the influence of marijuana following fatal incident

Family rallies for harsher penalties for drivers under the influence of marijuana following fatal incident

4:10
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Trump rally attendee gives his eyewitness account of the shooting

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Trump rally attendee gives his eyewitness account of the shooting

0:46
Charity car wash raises funds for victims of fatal Deer Park nail salon crash

Charity car wash raises funds for victims of fatal Deer Park nail salon crash

1:54
Reps. Lawler, Torres to introduce bill enhancing Secret Service protection for presidential candidates

Reps. Lawler, Torres to introduce bill enhancing Secret Service protection for presidential candidates

2:04
Nassau County heightens safety precautions for public events following Trump rally shooting

Nassau County heightens safety precautions for public events following Trump rally shooting

2:37
Security increased at Trump Tower following rally shooting

Security increased at Trump Tower following rally shooting

2:07
A look back at US political violence that changed history

A look back at US political violence that changed history

2:27
Political analyst weighs in on gun violence in wake of Trump rally shooting

Political analyst weighs in on gun violence in wake of Trump rally shooting

3:32
Rep. D'Esposito: Trump rally shooting 'a stark reminder of the divided country that we're in'

Rep. D'Esposito: Trump rally shooting 'a stark reminder of the divided country that we're in'

1:29
Expert: Security will be a high level concern at presidential events in wake of Trump rally shooting

Expert: Security will be a high level concern at presidential events in wake of Trump rally shooting

1:34
Political analyst: Shooting at Trump rally will bring changes to 2024 Presidential Election

Political analyst: Shooting at Trump rally will bring changes to 2024 Presidential Election