Tributes pour in for Arrested Development star and bona fide gay icon Jessica Walter

Patrick Kelleher
·3-min read

Jessica Walter, widely adored for her role as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development, has died at the age of 80, her family confirmed on Thursday (25 March).

The award-winning actor, and bona fide gay icon, began her acting career in the theatre in 1960, before taking on film and television roles from 1964 onwards.

Jessica Walter won acclaim for her turn in the 1971 film Play Misty for Me, a psychological thriller directed by Clint Eastwood.

But she was beloved by television audiences over the last two decades for her scene-stealing turn in Arrested Development, where she played the self-absorbed and witty Bluth matriarch.

Arrested Development legend Jessica Walter died in her sleep.

The Emmy-winning actress’ passing was confirmed by her daughter Brooke Bowman in a statement released to Deadline on Thursday.

Bowman said Walter had passed away in her sleep.

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.

“It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm the passing of my beloved mom Jessica. A working actor for over six decades, her greatest pleasure was bringing joy to others through 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.”

Jessica Walter’s family asked that well-wishers make donations to Guide Dogs for the Blind instead of sending flowers.

Tributes immediately started pouring in for the late star and gay icon as news of her death broke.

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In addition to her Arrested Development role, Jessica Walter was beloved for her star turns in 90210 and Amy Prentiss. Her final roles were in Harley Quinn, American Housewife and the 2020 comedy film The Mimic.

In 2018, Jessica Walter made headlines when she famously called out Arrested Development co-star Jeffrey Tambor during an interview, saying he had verbally harassed her on set.

“He never crossed the line on our show, with any, you know, sexual whatever. Verbally, yes, he harassed me, but he did apologise,” she told The New York Times in the sensational cast interview, which included Tambor.

“In like almost 60 years of working, I’ve never had anybody yell at me like that on a set,” she added.