Remember When Jessica Walter Was in the 1970s Doctor Strange Movie?
Few fans even remember that, in 1978, Marvel superhero Doctor Strange was the subject of a [...]
Few fans even remember that, in 1978, Marvel superhero Doctor Strange was the subject of a made-for-TV movie. Even among those who remember it exists, though, fewer still remember that the late Jessica Walter, celebrated for her latter-day performances on TV shows like Archer and Arrested Development, was a part of it. Designed as a movie that could lead to a series if the ratings were there to support it, Doctor Strange didn't have the same luck that The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk had around that same time on CBS. Still, it's widely available on DVD, which is more than you can say for later TV movies like Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD or Generation X.
Dr. Strange stars Peter Hooten in the title role, along with Walter, Eddie Benton, Clyde Kusatsu, Philip Sterling and John Mills. In the movie, Walter played sorceress Morgan LeFay, who is very loosely based on the more familiar version from Arthurian legend. It's a role that would later pass to Elizabeth Hurley in the third season of Runaways.
Marvel's version of the characters is an immortal, half-faerie half-sister of King Arthur. She gets the immortality from her elven side, and she used the centuries granted to her by it in order to master the mystic arts. She occasionally tries to take over the world, having squared off with The Avengers, Spider-Woman, and Doctor Strange. She was briefly a member of the Darkholders and even dated Doctor Doom.
Walter played Lucille in all three seasons of Arrested Development's original run, and returned with the rest of the cast for both additional installments that were released on Netflix. She has also provided the voice of Sterling Archer's mother, Malory, in the long-running animated series Archer.
Quite a lot of modern TV fans know Walter almost exclusively for her work on Arrested Development and Archer, especially since she earned an Emmy nomination for her take on Lucille. However, many consider these roles to be a victory lap, of sorts, as Walter had already established herself as a powerhouse well before picking up Lucille's martini glass.
Walter turned in a memorable and acclaimed performance in Clint Eastwood's directorial debut, Play Misty for Me, a role that many still talk about years later. She also appeared in The Flamingo Kid, The Love Boat, Trapper John, M.D., Dinosaurs, Coach, and 90210. Walter's final on-screen role came on an episode of American Housewife earlier this year.0comments