RIP Jessica Walter, Star of Archer, Arrested Development, and So Much More

Jessica Walter attends the ABC Walt Disney Television Upfront on May 14, 2019, in New York City
Jessica Walter attends the ABC Walt Disney Television Upfront on May 14, 2019, in New York City
Photo: Jamie McCarthy (Getty Images)

Jessica Walter passed away yesterday in her sleep at the age of 80. She was and always will be best-known for her roles as Lucille, overbearing, contemptuous, and smothering matron of the Bluth family in Arrested Development, as well Mallory, the equally overbearing, contemptuous, and smothering mother and spymaster in Archer. She was very, very good—and absolutely hilarious—at what she did.

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The news comes today via Deadline. Over her long career, Walter also did voice work in many, many genre series, including Harley Quinn (as Granny Goodness), Justice League Action, Star Vs. the Forces of Evil, The Land Before Time, The Pirates of Dark Water, and the 1990s Dinosaurs sitcom (as Fran Sinclair), among others. However, her withering tone was best used in Archer. 

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In addition, she had a few guest spots in some live-action genre shows, including Babylon 5 and the original Wonder Woman, and starred as the Marvel Comics sorceress Morgan le Fay in a pilot for a Doctor Strange TV series that didn’t get picked up, but you can find online.

Walter began her career in theater in 1960 and pivoted to TV and movie work in 1964. Her list of credits is as long as it is impressive, and the entertainment world is poorer for her loss.

While we don’t know if she recorded her lines for the upcoming season of Archer, she appeared in an episode of American Housewife just last month. She is survived her daughter and grandson.


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Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

DISCUSSION

ertorre
E. R. Torre

So funny on both Arrested Development and Archer (where she essentially played the same hilarious character).

And in her younger years, so terrifying in Play Misty For Me opposite Clint Eastwood, the original Fatal Attraction and Eastwood’s directorial debut!

Man, she will be missed.