Jessica Walter, One of the Funniest TV Actors of the Last 20 Years, Has Passed Away

Very sad news out of New York City, where Jessica Walter has passed away. She was 80 years old. The actress was famous for her litany of acerbic tongued characters like Arrested Development’s Lucille Bluth and Archer‘s Malory, but had a five-decade career that included Emmy-nominated roles in shows like Trapper John M.D. and Streets of San Francisco. Her starmaking turn was in Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut Play Misty for MeShe won an Emmy for her work in Amy Prentiss. 

But she’ll likely be remembered for her comedy, and few actors were as reliably hilarious. She took to Arrested Development‘s unique rhythms with ease, playing a terrible family matriarch with deft alooftness, ignorance, casual cruelty and the occasional humanizing touch of compassion. It was an astonishing performance that stood out even among a whole show full of great work. And then there was her voice work on Archer, where she played the title character’s demanding mother with guffaw-worthy excellence.

Walter’s daughter, Brooke Bowman, released a statement honoring her mother’s life and legacy.

“It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica,” she wrote. “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.”

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