Jessica Walter

Jessica Walter Photo

Jessica is on one hit show now, Gravity... and is about to be on another, Retired at 35, in which she and her husband-- played by George Segal-- are retired when their 35-year-old son retires himself and moves back home! 

But Jessica already is the mean mom on two shows you know. She’s on Arrested Development, and is going to be in the movie of that show, coming out in 2012. And she’s in 90210, the remake of the 1990s’ hit show Beverly Hills, 90210. Just before that, she was on the show Saving Grace, about a cop and her guardian angel.

Jessica has not been in that many movies, so we’re glad to see her back on the big screen;  she's going to be in the legal thriller Bending the Rules. In fact, she only seems to make one major movie every decade! In the ’60s, she was in the funeral comedy Bye Bye Braverman, with her fellow Jewish actors George Segal (again!), Jack Warden (see this Bonus), and comic Alan King (see this Bonus). In the 1970s, Jessica stalked Clint Eastwood in the thriller Play “Misty” for Me. She was in The Flamingo Kid in the ’80s; Matt Dillon starred as a young hustler.

And the 1990s brought her most Jewish movie, The Slums of Beverly Hills, about a poor family trying to stay close to that neighborhood so the kids could go to the best schools. Just look at whose in it with her: Natasha LyonneAlan ArkinEli Marienthal, and David Krumholtz! And here it is 2010, with Jessica in another film (see the top of this article!).

But mostly, Jessica has been on TV. The fact is, as you saw, she has almost never been off TV! She was in two versions of Law & Order, plus other crime shows: Magnum PI, Matt Houston, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, Mannix, The FBIMission: Impossible, The Fugitive, The Defenders, and Ironside, among others. Ironside spun off a show she starred in called Amy Prentiss, and Jessica won an Emmy for it! Helen Hunt and William Shatner were in it, too.

Jessica’s also been on medical shows like Ben Casey, Marcus Welby, Trapper John, and Quincy… sitcoms like Just Shoot Me! and Coach… and dramas like Touched by an Angel and the legendary East Side/West Side. Jessica has done everything from soaps (One Life to Live, Knots Landing, and Hotel) to sci-fi (Babylon 5 and Wonder Woman).

And Jessica is probably one of the few people in Hollywood who has played a dinosaur twice! Once was in The Land Before Time, and the other was in a series called Dinosaurs by Muppet-master Jim Henson. Other kids’ shows she’s been in include The Magic School Bus and Flipper, a show from the ’60s about a pet dolphin (how cool would that be?). Another was The Pirates of Dark Water, which came out more than 10 years before the Pirates of the Caribbean movies!

Jessica’s most Jewish TV project, though, was Victory at Entebbe. This is a true story of an amazing operation by Israel’s army, in which they rescued the hijacked hostages from terrorists! It was made into a movie a few other times, too.

Jessica was born in Brooklyn. She went to acting school with James Caan. Jessica’s been on Broadway in plays, too, including Neil Simon’s Rumors.

Taking on so many different roles, Jessica has to be a flexible actess. Maybe that’s why she does yoga!

Zoe Wannamaker
Liza Weil
Odeya Rush
Grant Heslov
Jared Gillman
Ike Barinholtz