The Tragic Death Of Jessica Walter

Jessica Walter died in her sleep at home in New York City on March 24, 2021, according to Deadline. The actor was 80 years old. The star, whose career spanned over 60 years, is best known to contemporary audiences for her five-season performance as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development. She also starred in a number of other popular TV series, including Archer, Saving Grace, Murder, She Wrote90120, and the soap opera One Life to Live in the late '90s. She took home an Emmy Award in 1975 for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Special Program in NBC's Amy Prentiss and was nominated for three more in 1977, 1980, and 2005.

Walter's daughter Brooke Bowman confirmed the news of her mom's death, releasing a statement on March 25, 2021 via Deadline"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," she wrote. "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."

Keep scrolling to see how fans, celebrities, and her Arrested Development co-stars have reacted to Walter's death.

Fans share tributes for Jessica Walters after news of her death

Jessica Walter's fans have taken to social media to remember the actress and the legacy she leaves behind. While many are simply honoring the star by sharing GIFs of her legendary Arrested Development character, Lucille Bluth, winking dramatically, others are posting heartfelt tributes. One person wrote via Twitter, "I think Jessica Walter's Lucille Bluth was the single funniest TV performance I can think of. The writing and everything put her in a position to succeed and all that, but she just couldn't have been better in it." Another added, "Jessica Walter is one of the all time greatest comedic actors. So many lines only worked because of her inflection, the arc of her eyebrows. What a titanic talent. What a heart-rending loss." 

Even celebrities like Matilda star Mara Wilson reacted to the news, tweeting, "G*dd**it NO." Viola Davis also paid tribute, writing, "I loved you Jessica Walter. I grew up watching you AND admiring you. Always consistently excellent." As did actor Henry Winkler, who wrote: "OH NO...We worked together for years on ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT...It was an honor to watch her comedy explode from the very first row."

Jessica Walter's Arrested Development co-stars remembered her as well

Jessica Walter's Arrested Development co-stars also took to social media to share condolences and remember the award-winning actress. Jason Bateman, who starred as Walter's on-screen son Michael Bluth, paid tribute via Twitter, writing, "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." Walter's other TV son, Tony Hale (who played Buster Bluth) added, "She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched. Rest In Peace Mama Bluth."

Other Arrested Development stars, including David Cross, Will Arnett, and Alia Shawkat also shared heartfelt messages online. Cross tweeted that he considers himself "privileged and very lucky to have been able to work with her" and Arnett honored Walter by saying he is "fortunate to have had a front row seat to her brilliance for 25 years." Shawkat, who played Walter's on-screen granddaughter Maeby Fünke, simply wrote on Instagram: "love you Gangie." And producer John Levenstein added: "Jessica Walter never missed. If she didn't get a laugh there was a problem with the script."

Jessica Walter's legacy will live on through Lucille Bluth

Though Jessica Walter has appeared in over 150 film or TV projects throughout her seven-decade acting career, many will remember her for her role as matriarch Lucille Bluth on Arrested Development. She played the legendary character for five seasons and was nominated for an Emmy in 2005 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. As The Guardian pointed out, while many of the series' cast members went on to become big-time stars, including Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Michael Cera, Walter's "Lucille was, arguably, the heart of the show" as she "landed the role she was born to play: a beautifully written, brilliantly wicked character that she elevated to icon status." The actress did it with class even when she was rolling her eyes at her co-stars.

TV's history may be full of witty lines and memorable scenes from iconic characters, but no one will ever compare to Walter's GIF-able Lucille. Her comic delivery was unlike anyone else's and she will be greatly missed. This is a loss that will be felt for a long time.