Jessica Walter, star of stage, television and movie screen for over 60 years died in her sleep on March 24th at the age of 80. No cause of death was given.
I probably saw Jessica Walters for the first time in the premiere episode of Flipper. I would have been five. After that she appeared with regularity, guesting on many shows that I enjoyed: The Fugitive, The FBI, The Name of the Game, Mannix, The Immortal, Love American Style, Mission Impossible, Alias Smith & Jones and Medical Center — and those are just the shows I regularly watched, she appeared in many others.
Then in 1971, Jessica Walter appeared in the role that always comes first when I think of her. She played Evelyn Draper, the psycho woman who becomes obsessed with Clint Eastwood in Play Misty for Me. That role and that movie was well ahead of it’s time. There’s a scene (and if you’ve seen the movie or the poster you know the one) where Walter literally caused me to yell out loud. Thankfully, we were at the drive-in with just my family. Walter was nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe for her performance.
Had Mrs. Walter’s only role been that in Play Misty For Me, it would have still warranted notice here. After Play Misty For Me, Jessica Walter continued to alternate between television, feature films and stage roles always making everything she was in better for her being there.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jessica Walter’s family, friends and fans.