Arrested Development stars Jason Bateman, Portia De Rossi, and Will Arnett joined Tony Hale in remembering Jessica Walter, who played their on-screen mother on the beloved sitcom. The series' creator, Mitch Hurwitz, also issued a statement honoring Walter as "one o the sharpest, funniest people" he has ever worked with. Walter died at her New York City home on Wednesday. She was 80.
"R. I. P. Jessica Walter. What an incredible career, filled with amazing performances," Bateman wrote on Twitter. "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." Arnett called Walter a "deeply talented person" whom he met while making a pilot in 1996. "I'm fortunate to have had a front-row seat to her brilliance for 25 years," Arnett tweeted. "My thoughts are with her daughter Brooke and grandson Micah today. Farewell Jessica, you'll be missed."
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De Rossi shared a photo of herself with Walter on Instagram. "Jess...Gangee...my pal, my TV mom...I adored you. xxx," she wrote. Earlier this week, de Rossi was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery to remove her appendix. During Tuesday's episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, de Rossi's wife, Ellen DeGeneres, said the actress is "feeling much better now."
Walter starred in Arrested Development as Lucille Bluth, the matriarch of the Bluth family. Bateman, de Rossi, Arnett, and Hale played her children Michael, Lindsay, Gob, and Buster, respectively. "She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched. Rest In Peace Mama Bluth," Hale wrote in his own tribute.
The series was created by Hurwitz, who told Variety he was "so very sad" to hear of Walter's death. "She was, to me, the best kind of comic actor — one who's fearless in her willingness to draw upon the, shall we say, less desirable aspects of our character that, well … make us funny," Hurwitz wrote. "She effortlessly sunk her teeth into depicting a type of mother that, given how people related to her, must be more common than is usually celebrated."
Walter is survived by her daughter, Brooke Bowman, an executive at Fox Entertainment, and her grandson, Micah Heymann. Her husband, Tony winner Rob Leibman, died in December 2019. Walter began her career in the 1960s and also voiced Mallory Archer in the FX animated series Archer. She won an Emmy for Amy Prentiss (1974) and earned an Emmy nomination for Arrested Development in 2005.