Jessica Walter

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Jessica Walter
Jessica Walter.jpg
Walter at a premiere party for 90210 in 2008
Born(1941-01-31) January 31, 1941 (age 73)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Ross Bowman (1966–1978; divorced)
Ron Leibman (1983–present)
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For the Liechtenstein skier, see Jessica Walter (skier).
Jessica Walter
Jessica Walter.jpg
Walter at a premiere party for 90210 in 2008
Born(1941-01-31) January 31, 1941 (age 73)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Years active1962–present
Spouse(s)Ross Bowman (1966–1978; divorced)
Ron Leibman (1983–present)

Jessica Walter (born January 31, 1941) is an American actress. She is best known for appearing in the films Play Misty for Me and Grand Prix, her role as Lucille Bluth on the sitcom Arrested Development, and providing the voice of Malory Archer in the FX animated series Archer.

Walter was a series regular for the first half of season one of 90210, provided the voice of Fran Sinclair in 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.[1]

Early life[edit]

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 and the NYC Ballet Orchestra.[2][3] Her brother is screenwriter Richard Walter.

She was raised Jewish in Queens, New York, and graduated from the High School of Performing Arts. In the early 1960s, she trained alongside James Caan and Christopher Lloyd at New York City's Neighborhood Playhouse.[citation needed]


Walter began her acting career as Julie Murano on the television series, Love of Life, which ran from September 1951 until February 1980. During Walter's stint on Love of Life, she also acted in many other popular television series, namely Naked City, East Side/West Side, Ben Casey, Route 66, Lilith, The Doctors and the Nurses, The Rogues, and The Defenders. Amongst 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.

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 1971 movie Play Misty for Me, 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 nomination in the Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama category[4] and critical praise, with Roger Ebert describing Walter as demonstrating "unnerving effectiveness" in the role.[5] Walter's other film credits from that era include Lilith, Grand Prix, The Group, Bye Bye Braverman, Number One, and Dr. Strange.

In 1974, Walter co-starred an episode of Columbo, "Mind Over Mayhem". She starred in 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 in 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 in 1984 and the 1994 film PCU. 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. Despite her convincing portrayal of Lucille (in 2005, she received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for the role), she states: "I'm nothing like Lucille. Nothing. My daughter will tell you. I'm really a very nice, boring person."[6] Despite acclaim from critics, Arrested Development received low ratings and viewership on Fox, which canceled the series in 2006. It was revived by Netflix for one more season in 2013.

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.[7] She currently voices spymistress Malory Archer on the FX animated show Archer. She was drawn to the role after learning that the script for the pilot explicitly drew comparisons between Malory and Lucille Bluth.

Walter recently starred as Evangeline Harcourt in the Broadway revival of Anything Goes, which began previews in March 2011 and officially opened on April 7, 2011.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Since 1983, Walter has been married to actor Ron Leibman, with whom she co-starred in Neil Simon's play Rumors. They also appeared together as husband and wife in the film Dummy and in Law & Order (in the episode "House Counsel") and he joined the cast of Archer, playing her character's new husband.

Walter has a daughter, Brooke Bowman, who was born in 1972 and is currently a development executive for ABC Family,[9] from her twelve-year marriage to Ross Bowman, a former Broadway stage manager and television director.[10]



1966Grand PrixPat StoddardGolden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer - Female
1966The GroupLibby
1968Bye Bye BravermanInez Braverman
1969Number OneJulie Catlan
1971Play Misty For MeEvelyn DraperNominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1978Dr. StrangeMorgan le FayTelevision film
1979VampireNicole DeCampTelevision film
1981Going Ape!Fiona
1982Spring FeverCelia Berryman
1984Terror in the AislesEvelyn DraperSegment: Play Misty for Me
1984The Flamingo KidPhyllis Brody
1984Secret PlacesGirl in Art Room
1988TapeheadsKay Mart
1993Ghost in the MachineElaine
1994PCUPresident Garcia-Thompson
1995TemptressDr. Phyllis Evergreen
1998Slums of Beverly HillsDoris Zimmerman
2001My Best Friend's WifeMrs. Epstein
2003DummyFern Schoichet
2006Unaccompanied MinorsCindi
2012Bending the RulesLena Gold


1970Mission ImpossibleValerieEpisode: "Orpheus"
1971Alias Smith and JonesLouise CarsonEpisode: "Everything Else You Can Steal"
1972CannonJane ButlerEpisode: "That was no Lady"
1973BanacekErica OsburnEpisode: Two Million Clams for Cap'N Jack"
1974ColumboDr. Margaret NicholsonEpisode: "Mind Over Mayhem"
1974–1975Amy PrentissAmy PrentissPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
1976Victory at Entebbe (TV movie)Nomi Haroun
1977Wonder WomanGloria
1982Joanie Loves ChachiVanessa SterlingEpisode: "Everybody Loves Aunt Vanessa"
1984-1985Three's a CrowdClaudia Bradford
1986Novel Connection & Magnum on IceJoan Forrester
1991Murder She WroteJane Dawson
1991–1995DinosaursFran SinclairVoice
1994Babylon 5Senator Elise VoudreauEpisode: "A Spider in the Web"
1996The Magic School BusAshley Walker-Club-DupreeEpisode: "Rocks and Rolls"
2003–2013Arrested DevelopmentLucille Bluth68 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)
2007Rules of EngagementConstanceEpisode: "Kids"
2007–2010Saving GraceBetty Hanadarko5 episodes
2008Law & Order: Criminal IntentEleanor Reynolds1 episode
2008–200990210Tabitha Wilson13 episodes
2009Make It Or Break ItGrandma TannerEpisode: "Battle of the Flexes"
2009Law & Order: SVUAttorney Petra Gilmartin
2009–presentArcherMalory ArcherVoice
2010GravityHenrietta5 episodes
2010Scooby-Doo! Mystery IncorporatedMrs. WyattEpisode: "Howl Of The Fright Hound"
2011The Big Bang TheoryMrs. LathamEpisode: "The Benefactor Factor"[11]
2011–2012Retired at 35Elaine RobbinsMain cast
2014Jennifer FallsMaggieMain cast


  1. ^ Awards for Jessica Walter at IMDB
  2. ^ "Jessica Walter profile at". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  3. ^ "David Walter". Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  4. ^ Awards for 1972 - Golden Globes,
  5. ^ [Ebert, Roger (1971) Play Misty for Me, retrieved March 6, 2014
  6. ^ "Jessica Walter: Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development talks about her kooky character". Entertainment Weekly. 2005-06-24. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  7. ^ Robyn Ross (August 5, 2009). "Jessica Walter on SVU: An Arresting Development". Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth."Bon Voyage! Anything Goes, With Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, Opens on Broadway",; accessed May 19, 2014.
  9. ^ Keck, William (2005-09-16). "A terrific 'Development' boosts Jessica Walter's career". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-03-18. 
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Listings - BIG BANG THEORY, THE on CBS". 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 

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