Jessica Walter, Emmy-Winning Star of Arrested Development, Has Died at 80

Jessica Walter. Photo: Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Jessica Walter, the Emmy-winning actress with a career spanning five decades, died in New York City on Wednesday, March 24. Her daughter, Brooke Bowman, shared the news in a statement obtained by Deadline. Walter’s career began on Broadway, right in her hometown. She appeared in several productions including Neil Simon’s Rumors, where she met her late husband, Ron Leibman. The two went on to play husband and wife in several projects. She also starred in the Tony-winning 2011 Broadway revival of Anything Goes. On screen, she did Emmy nominated stints on Trapper John M.D. and Streets of San Francisco. In 1975, Walter won the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress for her work in Amy Prentiss, a police drama starring her as the first female Chief of Detectives for the San Francisco Police Department. She earned another Emmy nomination in 2005 for her performance as Lucille Bluth in the comedy Arrested Development. Walter also voiced spymaster Malory Archer on FXX’s animated show Archer. From 2013 to 2016, Leibman joined the cast as her character’s new husband. The Tony-winning actor died in December 2019 at age 82.

“It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica,” Bowman, who is SVP Drama programming at Fox Entertainment said. “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 is survived by her daughter and grandson. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Jessica Walter, Star of Arrested Development, Is Dead at 80