Jessica Walter, Comedic Matriarch of ‘Archer’ and ‘Arrested Development,’ Dies at 80

Jessica Walter
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“It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica,” said Walters’ only child, her daughter Brooke Bowman.

Beloved stage and screen actress Jessica Walter died in her sleep Wednesday at her home in New York City, according to reports. The actress was 80. No cause of death has been given.

Known for her roles in recent years as the boozy matriarch in cult comedy series like “Archer” and "Arrested Development,” Walter's career spanned six decades.

“It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica,” Walters’ only child, her daughter Brooke Bowman, told Deadline. “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 was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1941 and grew up in a creative household. Her father was a member of the NBC Symphony Orchestra and New York City Ballet. She attended New York City’s High School of the Performing Arts and started her acting career at 21.

She got her start in television in 1962 with the popular series “Love of Life,” according to IMDB. A year later, she made her Broadway debut in “Photo Finish,” which earned her much acclaim. Walter won her first Emmy in 1975 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series for the NBC drama, “Amy Prentiss.” She was nominated for an Emmy in 2005 for her role as Lucille Bluth in  “Arrested Development.” She also earned nominations for her work on TV series including “Trapper John, M.D.” and “The Streets of San Francisco,” according to the New York Post.

Walter amassed what seemed to be an endless amount of credits to her name for parts in series such as “Flipper,” “Coach,” “90210,” “One Life to Live,” and was the voice of Fran Sinclair on the ABC hit, “Dinosaurs,” which has recently saw renewed interest on streaming platforms.

Some of her colleagues and famous fans took to social media to eulogize the actress.

David Cross, who played her son-in-law Tobias Funke on “Arrested Development,” said on Twitter, “I consider myself privileged and very lucky to have been able to work with her. Lucille Bluth is one of TV's greatest characters.”