Jessica Walter

For the Liechtenstein skier, see Jessica Walter (skier).
Jessica Walter

Walter at a premiere party for 90210 in 2008
Born (1941-01-31) January 31, 1941
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Occupation Actress
Years active 1962–present
Notable work East Side/West Side
Ben Casey
The Doctors and the Nurses
The Defenders
Just Shoot Me!
Arrested Development
Spouse(s) Ross Bowman
(m. 1966; div. 1978)

Ron Leibman
(m. 1983)
Children 1
  • David Walter (father)
  • Esther Grossier (mother)
Relatives Richard Walter (brother)
Awards Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie

Jessica Walter (born January 31, 1941) is an American actress. She is 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

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.[2][3] She attended New York City's High School of Performing Arts.[4] 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 the character Julie Murano on the television series, Love of Life. While appearing on Love of Life from 1962 to 1965, she also acted in many other popular television series, including 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; and a supporting role as William Shatner's wife in the 1965 series For The People.[5]

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[6] and critical praise, with Roger Ebert describing Walter as demonstrating "unnerving effectiveness" in the role.[7] 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 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. 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."[8] 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 season 4 in 2013 where it gained huge popularity. Talks of a season 5 are in place and Walter said she would love to come back as it was important to her for her career.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11]

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.

Personal life

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,[12] from her twelve-year marriage to Ross Bowman, a former Broadway stage manager and television director.[13]



Year Title Roles Notes
1964 Lilith Laura
1966 Grand Prix Pat Stoddard Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female
1966 The Group Libby
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 Goldengirl Melody
1979 The Concorde ... Airport '79 Helen Patroni Uncredited deleted scene
1981 Going Ape! Fiona Sabatini
1982 Spring Fever Celia Berryman
1984 The Flamingo Kid Phyllis Brody
1988 Tapeheads Kay Mart
1993 Ghost in the Machine Elaine Spencer
1994 PCU President Garcia-Thompson
1995 Temptress Dr. Phyllis Evergreen
1998 Slums of Beverly Hills Doris Zimmerman
2001 My Best Friend's Wife Mrs. Epstein
2003 Dummy Fern Schoichet
2006 Unaccompanied Minors Cindi
2012 Bending the Rules Lena Gold
2016 Undercover Grandpa Maddy Harcourt Completed



Title Roles
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 TV movie
1972 Home for the Holidays Frederica "Freddie" Morgan TV movie
1973 Banacek Erica Osburn Episode: Two Million Clams for Cap'N Jack"
1974 Columbo Dr. Margaret Nicholson Episode: "Mind Over Mayhem"
1974–1975 Amy Prentiss Amy Prentiss 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 (formerly McMillan and Wife) Donna Drake Linguist Episode: "All Bets Off"
1978 Wheels Ursula 1 episode
1978 Dr. Strange Morgan le Fay TV movie
1979 Vampire Nicole DeCamp TV movie
1979 She's Dressed to Kill Irene Barton TV movie
1982 Joanie Loves Chachi Vanessa Sterling Episode: "Everybody Loves Aunt Vanessa"
1984–1985 Three's a Crowd Claudia Bradford 8 episodes
1985 Murder, She Wrote Joyce Holleran Episode: "Murder In The Afternoon"
1985 The Execution Gertrude Simon TV 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"
1991–1994 Dinosaurs Fran Sinclair (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"
1996 The Magic School Bus Ashley Walker-Club-Dupree Episode: "Rocks and Rolls"
1998 Just Shoot Me! Eve Gallo Episode: "Eve of Destruction"
2003–2006, 2013 Arrested Development Lucille Bluth 68 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)
2005 The Life and Times of Juniper Lee Demoness (voice) 1 episode
2007 Rules of Engagement Constance Episode: "Kids"
2007 The Land Before Time Old One (voice) Episode: "The Brave Longneck Scheme"
2007–2010 Saving Grace Betty Hanadarko 5 episodes
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Eleanor Reynolds 1 episode
2008–2009 90210 Tabitha Wilson 13 episodes
2009 Make It or Break It Grandma Tanner Episode: "Battle of the Flexes"
2009 Law & Order: SVU Attorney Petra Gilmartin 1 episode
2009–present Archer Malory Archer (voice)
2010 Gravity Henrietta 5 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"[14]
2011–2012 Retired at 35 Elaine Robbins Main cast
2013 Turbo: F.A.S.T. Tabitha (voice) 1 episode
2014 Jennifer Falls Maggie Main cast
2015 Star vs. the Forces of Evil Miss Heinous (voice) Episode: "St. Olga's Reform School for Wayward Princesses"
2015 NCIS Judith McKnight Episode: "16 Years"


  1. Awards for Jessica Walter at IMDB
  2. "Jessica Walter profile at". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  3. "David Walter". Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  4. King, Susan. "Classic Hollywood Jessica Walter tests boundaries in 'Jennifer Falls'," Los Angeles Times (July 5, 2014).
  6. "Golden Globe". Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  7. Ebert, Roger (1971) Play Misty for Me, retrieved March 6, 2014
  8. "Jessica Walter: Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development talks about her kooky character". Entertainment Weekly. 2005-06-24. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
  9. "Jessica Walter 'Hasn't Heard a Word' About 'Arrested Development' Season 5 but Teases Dramatic Changes for 'Archer'". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved 2016-04-01.
  10. Robyn Ross (August 5, 2009). "Jessica Walter on SVU: An Arresting Development". Retrieved 2009-08-05.
  11. Jones, Kenneth."Bon Voyage! Anything Goes, With Sutton Foster and Joel Grey, Opens on Broadway",; accessed May 19, 2014.
  12. Keck, William (2005-09-16). "A terrific 'Development' boosts Jessica Walter's career". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
  13. "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.
  14. "Listings – BIG BANG THEORY, THE on CBS". 2011-02-10. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
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