Jessica Walter has died at the age of 80, after an acting career spanning sixty years.
The actress’ daughter, Brooke Bowman, confirmed on Thursday that her “beloved mom” had passed away in her sleep while at home in New York City.
Jessica Walter died on Wednesday, March 24th, her daughter confirmed, expressing sadness and a “heavy heart” at the news of her mother’s passing.
Her family’s statement said that Jessica Walter’s greatest pleasure had been in “bringing joy to others” throughout her entertainment career, which began in 1951.
Although she most recently became popular for her role as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, Walter’s first appearance on the screen was in the Love of Life series in the early 1950s.
Walter was a regular for all five seasons of Arrested Development, from 2003 and 2005 and then again in 2018, playing the dysfunctional Bluth family’s matriarch.
Her family said her legacy would “live on” through her work and noted that many people would remember her for the “class,” “wit” and “joie de vivre” that she brought to her acting roles.
Her daughter penned an emotional tribute where she listed all the qualities her mother will be remembered by: “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.”
Jessica Walter won a Primetime Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series in 1975 for her role in crime drama Amy Prentiss, which only ran for one season.
Almost a decade earlier, she had starred alongside Warren Beatty in the 1964 movie Lilith, her first full feature.
One of her most popular earlier roles was as Evelyn Draper, alongside Clint Eastwood in the 1971 psychological thriller Play Misty For Me.
Within hours of the news of Walter’s passing, her former co-stars flocked to social media to pay tribute to the actress.
Tony Hale, who played her on-screen son, Buster Bluth, in Arrested Development, shared a photo of them together, describing her as a “force,” whose “talent and timing were unmatched.”
Tony Hale wrote: “She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched. Rest In Peace, Mama Bluth.”
Henry Winkler, who also starred on Arrested Development, said: “OH NO …We worked together for years on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. It was an honor to watch her comedy explode from the very first row.”
Walter was married twice and leaves behind one daughter.