Jessica Walter, the talented actress whose illustrious career spanned six-decades breathed her last on Wednesday in her Manhattan home. She was 80.
Walter’s death was announced by her publicist, Kelli Jones who did not reveal the cause of death.
Jessica rose to fame when she played an obsessed radio fan in Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut, “Play Misty for Me.”
Jessica Walter was born on January 31, 1941, in New York City. Her father was a musician and a member of NBC Symphony Orchestra and the New York City Ballet Orchestra, while her mother, Esther Grosser was a teacher.
She married twice, first to Ross Bowman, a Broadway stage manager, and in 1983 to the Tony Award-winning actor Ron Leibman, who died in 2019.
She is survived by a daughter named Brooke Bowman and a grandson.
In her long career, she performed many different roles which won her accolades. She worked as a versatile performer in more than 150 productions that included the famous tart-tongued turns in television comedy series. She presented herself fearlessly in serious and dramatic roles for Hollywood movies and New York stage productions.
One of her famous roles was of a cutting, martini-swilling matriarch of a dysfunctional family in “Arrested Development.”
She started her career with minor roles in 1960s television shows like “Flipper” and “The Fugitive” before getting noticed for her role as an ambitious American wife who leaves her husband behind in a 1966 John Frankenheimer movie “Grand Prix”. This particular role earned Walter a Golden Globe nomination for “New Star of the Year” in 1967.
She was also a Golden Globe nominee for her role as Evelyn, a devoted fan having a homicidal streak who is obsessed with a disc jockey in the 1971 movie “Play Misty for Me.”
She finally won an Emmy in 1975 for her title role as a detective in the NBC mystery series “Amy Prentiss”. She was later nominated for Emmy Awards in 1977, 1980, and 2005 respectively.