Arrested Development stars lead Jessica Walter tributes after her death at 80

The actress' death was announced by her daughter.

Jessica Walter’s Arrested Development co-stars have led the tributes following her death aged 80.

Walter enjoyed a Hollywood career spanning six decades and her roles included playing an obsessed fan opposite Clint Eastwood in 1971 thriller Play Misty For Me and voicing a character in animated sitcom Archer.

She won an Emmy Award in 1975 for TV mystery Amy Prentiss.

Jessica Walter
Actress Jessica Walter will perhaps be best remembered for her role in Arrested Development (Francis Specker/PA)

However Walter will perhaps be best remembered for playing Lucille Bluth in cult comedy Arrested Development from 2003.

After Walter’s death was confirmed by her daughter Brooke Bowman, the actress’ former co-stars were among those to pay tribute.

Jason Bateman played her son on the show and said: “R. I. P. Jessica Walter. What an incredible career, filled with amazing performances. I will forever remember my time with her, watching her bring Lucille Bluth to life. She was one of a kind. All my love and thoughts to her family.”

Will Arnett, another star of the show, recalled his first meeting with Walter in 1996 and said he was “instantly blown away”.

He added: “My thoughts are with her daughter Brooke and grandson Micah today. Farewell Jessica, you’ll be missed.”

Tony Hale, who played her on-screen son Buster, wrote: “She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched. Rest In Peace Mama Bluth.”

Filmmaker Ron Howard narrated and produced Arrested Development and described Walter as “a brilliant, funny, intelligent and strong woman”.

He tweeted: “RIP Jessica Walter, and thank you for a lifetime of laughs and for sharing your incredible talent on our show and with the world.”

Happy Days actor Henry Winkler had a recurring role on Arrested Development. He said: “It was an honour to watch her comedy explode from the very first row.”

David Cross, another star of the show, said Walter was an “absolutely brilliant actress and amazing talent”. He added: “I consider myself privileged and very lucky to have been able to work with her. Lucille Bluth is one of TV’s greatest characters.”

The show’s producer John Levenstein said: “Jessica Walter never missed. If she didn’t get a laugh there was a problem with the script.”

Stars from the wider showbiz world also paid tribute.

Wonder Woman actress Lynda Carter recalled appearing opposite Walter on the show.

She said: “Though we battled each other on-screen, in real life she was one of kindest, warmest, funniest women I’ve ever met. Jessica, I will always remember your sage advice on and off the set fondly. We will all miss you.”

Filmmaker Paul Feig said: “This is so incredibly sad. I loved Jessica so much. She was so funny and marched to the tune of her own drummer. A true original whom I had the honour of working with several times. So much love to you, Jessica. Rest In Peace.”

And Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis said: “Oh man!! I loved you Jessica Walter. I grew up watching you AND admiring you. Always consistently excellent. Rest well.”

Walter, a two-time Golden Globe nominee, also starred in the noir thriller Lilith in 1964, John Frankenheimer’s Grand Prix in 1966 and Bye Bye Braverman in 1968.

Announcing her mother’s death on Thursday, Bowman said: “It is with a heavy heart that I confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica. 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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