‘A lifetime of laughs’: Jessica Walter’s ‘Arrested Development’ family says farewell


HOLLYWOOD, CA – APRIL 29: Actress Jessica Walter arrives at the TCL Chinese Theatre for the premiere of Netflix’s “Arrested Development” Season 4 held on April 29, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Jessica Walter, who played the iconic and inappropriate Lucille Bluth in the five-season sitcom “Arrested Development,” died Thursday at age 80. And now the dysfunctional Bluth family is honoring their matriarch.

“I’m fortunate to have had a front row seat to her brilliance for 25 years,” said Will Arnett, who plays the eldest of the Bluth children, G.O.B.

Arnett said he first met Walter on a pilot in 1996, and was “instantly blown away.”

He called her a “deeply talented person.”

“Farewell Jessica, you’ll be missed,” Arnett wrote in a Twitter statement.

Jason Bateman, who plays the lead and second-eldest child Michael Bluth, said he’ll “forever remember” his time with Walter, “watching her bring Lucille Bluth to life.”

“What an incredible career, filled with amazing performances,” Bateman wrote, calling Walter “one of a kind.”

David Cross, who plays Lucille’s son-in-law Tobias Fünke, said he considers himself “privileged and very lucky to have been able to work with” Walter.

“Lucille Bluth is one of TV’s greatest characters,” he said, calling Walter “an absolutely brilliant actress and amazing talent.”

Portia de Rossi, who plays the Lucille Bluth’s only daughter, Lindsay Bluth Fünke, said she adored Walter.

“Jess…Gangee…my pal, my TV mom… I adored you,” de Rossi wrote on Instagram.

“She was a force, and her talent and timing were unmatched,” Tony Hale, who played the baby of the Bluth family Buster, said on Twitter.

Alia Shawkat, who plays Lucille’s granddaughter Maeby Fünke, also gave a nod to the show in an Instagram post Thursday, honoring Walter with her nickname for her television grandmother.

While Ron Howard, who produced the show and plays its omniscient narrator, remembered Walter as a “brilliant, funny, intelligent and strong woman.”

“RIP Jessica Walter, and thank you for a lifetime of laughs and for sharing your incredible talent on our show and with the world,” he wrote.

Beyond her “Arrested Development” role that spanned 16 years, Walter is also well-known for her roles on FX’s “Archer” and  Clint Eastwood’s 1971 thriller “Play Misty For Me.” Walter’s feature debut was in the 1964 film “Lilith,” with Warren Beatty, Jean Seberg and Gene Hackman, who was also on his first film.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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