Jessica Walter (born January 31, 1941) is an American actress. She is known for appearing in the films Play Misty for Me (1971), Grand Prix and The Group (both 1966), her role as Lucille Bluth on the sitcom Arrested Development, and providing the voice of Malory Archer on the FX animated series Archer. Walter studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.
Walter at the 2019 WonderCon
|Play Misty for Me|
(m. 1966; div. 1978)
(m. 1983; died 2019)
|Relatives||Richard Walter (brother)|
|Awards||Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie|
Walter was a series regular for the first half of season one of 90210, provided the voice of Fran Sinclair on the series Dinosaurs, and starred as the title character of the series Amy Prentiss, for which she won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie.
Walter was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Esther (née Groisser) and David Walter, a musician who was a member of the NBC Symphony Orchestra and the NYC Ballet Orchestra. Walter attended New York City's High School of Performing Arts. Her family is Jewish. Her mother was an immigrant from the USSR. Her brother is screenwriter Richard Walter.
Walter began her acting career on the stage. She won the Clarence Derwent Award in 1963 for Outstanding Debut Broadway Performance in Photo Finish by Peter Ustinov. She soon moved to television, and she played the character Julie Murano on the television series, Love of Life. While appearing on Love of Life from 1962 to 1965, she also acted on many other popular television series, including Naked City, East Side/West Side, Ben Casey, Route 66, The Doctors and the Nurses, The Rogues and The Defenders. Among those series is Walter's notable role as Lorna Richmond on "The Ordeal of Mrs. Snow" episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour which aired in April 14, 1964, and a supporting role as William Shatner's wife on the short-lived drama For the People (1965).
Walter appeared in the first episode of Flipper, shown in September 1964. Also in 1964, she guest-starred in the episode "How Much for a Prince?" of CBS's short-lived drama The Reporter. In 1966, she appeared in an episode of The Fugitive entitled "The White Knight".
Her earliest notable film role was in the movie Play Misty for Me (1971), in which she played a young woman with behavior consistent with borderline personality disorder who becomes infatuated with and ultimately stalks a disc jockey. For her performance, Walter received a Golden Globe Award nomination in the Best Motion Picture Actress – Drama category and critical praise, with Roger Ebert describing Walter as demonstrating "unnerving effectiveness" in the role. Walter's other film credits from that era include Lilith (1964), Grand Prix (1966), The Group (1966), Bye Bye Braverman (1968) and Number One (1969).
In 1974, Walter co-starred in an episode of Columbo, "Mind Over Mayhem". She starred on the short-lived series Amy Prentiss, a spinoff of Ironside and had a recurring role on Trapper John, M.D. as Melanie McIntyre, Trapper John's former wife. In 1983, she had a role on the short-lived NBC primetime soap opera Bare Essence as Ava Marshall. Since then, she has worked most frequently in television and theater, though she did appear in some films including The Flamingo Kid (1984) and the film PCU (1994). In the 1990s, she voiced Fran Sinclair on the ABC comedy Dinosaurs, and appeared on Just Shoot Me! as Eve Gallo, the mother of Maya and the ex-wife of magazine publisher Jack Gallo.
From 2003 to 2006, she appeared in a regular role as the scheming alcoholic socialite matriarch Lucille Bluth on Fox's critically acclaimed comedy series Arrested Development. In 2005, she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the role. Despite her convincing portrayal of Lucille, she states: "I'm nothing like Lucille. Nothing. My daughter will tell you. I'm really a very nice, boring person." Despite acclaim from critics, Arrested Development received low ratings and viewership on Fox, which cancelled the series in 2006. It was revived by Netflix for season four in 2013, where it gained huge popularity. Walter reprised her role for season five, premiering in 2018.
Walter played Tabitha Wilson on the first season of 90210, until the character was written off halfway through the season. She also guest-starred on the sitcom Rules of Engagement in the episode titled "Kids". She guest-starred in an episode of Law & Order: SVU in 2009, and appeared again later on as legal-aid lawyer Petra Gilmartin.
Walter starred as Evangeline Harcourt in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes, which began previews in March 2011 and officially opened on April 7, 2011.
She currently voices spymistress Malory Archer on the FX animated series Archer. She was drawn to the role after learning that the script for the pilot explicitly drew comparisons between Malory and Lucille Bluth.
Walter was at the center of a controversy which erupted in May 2018 over harassment she had received from Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor. During a cast interview with the New York Times, Walter was asked about an on-set incident which Tambor had alluded to several months before. Walter teared up and stated that "in almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set and it's hard to deal with, but I’m over it now...He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologize. I have to let it go." In the following exchange, Walter's co-stars Jason Bateman, Tony Hale and David Cross were criticized in multiple outlets for appearing to excuse Tambor's behavior without acknowledging Walter's experience. Within days all three men had issued apologies to Walter.
Walter was married to actor Ron Leibman from 1983 until his death in 2019. They appeared together in Neil Simon's play Rumors, and portrayed husband and wife in the film Dummy (2003) and on Law & Order (in the episode "House Counsel"). He joined the cast of Archer, voicing her character's new husband. She describes herself as not religious but "very Jewish in my heart".
Walter has a daughter, Brooke Bowman, who was born in 1972 and is currently an executive for 21st Century Fox Television, from her 12-year marriage to Ross Bowman, a former Broadway stage manager and television director.
Stage work and filmography
|1966||Grand Prix||Pat Stoddard||Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female|
|1968||Bye Bye Braverman||Inez Braverman|
|1969||Number One||Julie Catlan|
|1971||Play Misty for Me||Evelyn Draper||Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama|
|1976||Victory at Entebbe||Nomi Haroun|
|1979||The Concorde ... Airport '79||Helen Patroni||Uncredited deleted scene|
|1981||Going Ape!||Fiona Sabatini|
|1982||Spring Fever||Celia Berryman|
|1984||Terror in the Aisles||Evelyn Draper||Archival footage|
|1984||The Flamingo Kid||Phyllis Brody|
|1993||Ghost in the Machine||Elaine Spencer|
|1995||Temptress||Dr. Phyllis Evergreen|
|1998||Slums of Beverly Hills||Doris Zimmerman|
|2001||My Best Friend's Wife||Mrs. Epstein|
|2012||Bending the Rules||Lena Gold|
|2017||Undercover Grandpa||Maddy Harcourt|
|1964||Flipper||Elena||Episode: "300 Feet Below"|
|1968||Name of the Game||Linda Ramsey||Episode: "Ordeal"|
|1970||Mannix||Kathy Graves||Episode: "Who is Sylvia?"|
|1970||Mission: Impossible||Valerie||Episode: "Orpheus"|
|1971||Name of the Game||Rita Mason / Allie Chambers||Episode: "The Showdown"|
|1971||Alias Smith and Jones||Louise Carson||Episode: "Everything Else You Can Steal"|
|1972||Cannon||Jane Butler||Episode: "That was no Lady"|
|1972||Women in Chains||Dee Dee||Television movie|
|1972||Home for the Holidays||Frederica "Freddie" Morgan||Television movie|
|1973||Banacek||Erica Osburn||Episode: "Two Million Clams for Cap'N Jack"|
|1974||Barnaby Jones||Brooke Leighton||Episode: "Venus as in Flytrap"|
|1974||The Magician||Marian Tripp||Episode: "The Illusion Of The Evil Spikes"|
|1974||Columbo||Dr. Margaret Nicholson||Episode: "Mind Over Mayhem"|
|1974||Hawaii Five-O||Carla Crystal||Episode: "The Two Faced Corpse"|
|1974||Hurricane||Louise Damon||Television movie|
|1974–75||Amy Prentiss||Amy Prentiss||3 episodes|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
|1975||McCloud||Mrs. Jessica Wright||Episode: "Park Avenue Pirates"|
|1976||The Streets of San Francisco||Maggie Jarris||Episode: "Till Death Do Us Part"|
|1977||The New Adventures of Wonder Woman||Gloria||Episode: "The Return of Wonder Woman"|
|1977||McMillan||Donna Drake Linguist||Episode: "All Bets Off"|
|1978||Dr. Strange||Morgan le Fay||Television movie|
|1978||Wild and Wooly||Megan||Television movie|
|1978||Quincy M.E.||Jessica Ross||Episode: "Images"|
|1979||Vampire||Nicole DeCamp||Television movie|
|1979||She's Dressed to Kill||Irene Barton||Television movie|
|1982||Joanie Loves Chachi||Vanessa Sterling||Episode: "Everybody Loves Aunt Vanessa"|
|1984–85||Three's a Crowd||Claudia Bradford||8 episodes|
|1985||Murder, She Wrote||Joyce Holleran||Episode: "Murder In The Afternoon"|
|1985||The Execution||Gertrude Simon||Television movie|
|1986||Magnum, P.I.||Joan Fulton||Episode: "Novel Connection"|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Joan Fulton||Episode: "Magnum On Ice"|
|1986||Wildfire||Lady Diabolyn (voice)||13 episodes|
|1991||Murder, She Wrote||Jane Dawson||Episode: "Unauthorized Obituary"|
|1991–94||Dinosaurs||Fran Sinclair Allosaurus (voice)||65 episodes|
|1994||Murder, She Wrote||Gwen Noble||Episode: "The Murder Channel"|
|1994||Babylon 5||Senator Elise Voudreau||Episode: "A Spider in the Web"|
|1995||Law & Order||Anna Kopell||Episode: "House Counsel"|
|1996||The Magic School Bus||Ashley Walker-Club-Dupree||Episode: "Rocks and Rolls"|
|1998||Just Shoot Me!||Eve Gallo||Episode: "Eve of Destruction"|
|2003–06, 2013, 2018-2019||Arrested Development||Lucille Bluth||82 episodes|
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (2003)
TV Land Award for Future Classic (2004)
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (2005)
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2005, 2006)
|2006–07||The Life and Times of Juniper Lee||Demoness (voice)||2 episodes|
|2007||Rules of Engagement||Constance||Episode: "Kids"|
|2007||The Land Before Time||Old One (voice)||Episode: "The Brave Longneck Scheme"|
|2007–10||Saving Grace||Betty Hanadarko||5 episodes|
|2008||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Eleanor Reynolds||Episode: "Please Note We Are No Longer Accepting Letters of Recommendation from Henry Kissinger"|
|2008–09||90210||Tabitha Wilson||13 episodes|
|2009||Make It or Break It||Grandma Tanner||Episode: "Battle of the Flexes"|
|2009||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Attorney Petra Gilmartin||Episode: "Solitary"|
|2009–present||Archer||Malory Archer (voice)||94 episodes|
|2010||Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated||Mrs. Wyatt (voice)||Episode: "Howl Of The Fright Hound"|
|2011||The Big Bang Theory||Mrs. Latham||Episode: "The Benefactor Factor"|
|2011–12||Retired at 35||Elaine Robbins||Main cast, 20 episodes|
|2013||Turbo: F.A.S.T.||Tabitha (voice)||1 episode|
|2014||Jennifer Falls||Maggie||Main cast, 10 episodes|
|2015–18||Star vs. the Forces of Evil||Miss Heinous / Meteora Butterfly (voice)||9 episodes|
|2015, 2017||NCIS||Judith McKnight||Episodes: "16 Years"; "Nonstop"|
|2016||The Odd Couple||Meredith||Episode: "Felix Navidad"|
|2017||Justice League Action||Athena (voice)||Episode: "The Trouble with Truth"|
|2017||Difficult People||Mrs. Chuck||Episode: "Criminal Minds"|
|1960||Advise and Consent||Liz||Cort Theatre|
|1962||Night Life||Cigarette Girl||Brooks Atkinson Theatre|
|1963||Photo Finish||Clarice, Ada Cooney||Brooks Atkinson Theatre|
|1964||A Severed Head||Georgie Hands||Royale Theatre|
|1986||Tartuffe||Elmire||Los Angeles Theatre Center|
|1988||Rumors||Claire Ganz||Broadhurst Theatre|
|2001||A Connecticut Yankee||Guinevere||Encores!|
|2002||Going Native||Mother||Long Wharf Theatre|
|2011||Anything Goes||Evangeline Harcourt||Stephen Sondheim Theatre|
|2016||Steel Magnolias||Ouiser Boudreaux||Bucks County Playhouse|
- "Jessica Walter". IMDb. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
- "Jessica Walter profile at". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- "David Walter". Liben.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- King, Susan. "Classic Hollywood Jessica Walter tests boundaries in 'Jennifer Falls'," Los Angeles Times (July 5, 2014).
- Brook, Vincent (2006). 'You Should See Yourself': Jewish Identity in Postmodern American Culture. Rutgers University Press. p. 278. ISBN 9780813539966. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
- "Golden Globe". imdb.com. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- Ebert, Roger (1971) Play Misty for Me, retrieved March 6, 2014
- "Jessica Walter: Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development talks about her kooky character". Entertainment Weekly. 2005-06-24. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Netflix reveals trailer for Arrested Development season 5, confirms premiere date: Watch". Consequence of Sound. 7 May 2018.
- Robyn Ross (August 5, 2009). "Jessica Walter on SVU: An Arresting Development". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 2009-08-05.
- Jones, Kenneth."Bon Voyage! Anything Goes, With Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, Opens on Broadway" Archived 2011-06-13 at the Wayback Machine, playbill.com; accessed May 19, 2014.
- Deb, Sopan (May 23, 2018). "'Arrested Development. We Sat Down with the Cast. It Got Raw". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
- Debbie Emery (2018-05-23). "'Arrested Development' Men Accused of Gaslighting Jessica Walter to Defend Jeffrey Tambor". The Wrap. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
- Fallon, Kevin (May 23, 2018). "Jessica Walter Shamed by Male 'Arrest Development' Co-Stars Over Jeffrey Tambor's 'Harassment'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved May 24, 2018.
- "Arrested Development cancels UK visit after tearful interview". BBC. May 25, 2018. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
- Koseluk, Chris (December 6, 2019). "Ron Leibman, Actor in 'Angels in America,' 'Where's Poppa?' and 'Friends,' Dies at 82". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
- Sicha, Choire (October 26, 2008). "Her phone's still busy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 18, 2017.
- Keck, William (2005-09-16). "A terrific 'Development' boosts Jessica Walter's career". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Egg Rolls Brought Ron Leibman and Jessica Walter to the Altar and Left Them Hungry for More", People, July 16, 1984; accessed May 19, 2014.
- "Listings – BIG BANG THEORY, THE on CBS". TheFutonCritic.com. 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
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