RIP Jessica Walter
Jessica Walter, who was a series regular on “90210” during its first season, has died at the age of 80, her family announced on Thursday.
Walter passed away in her sleep on Wednesday, bringing an end to a prolific career that lasted decades. I mentioned some of her other series regular roles on television shows just yesterday in my post looking at teen drama stars’ other leading roles. While Walter is best known these days for “Arrested Development” and “Archer,” in our teen drama world, we know her as Tabitha Wilson on “90210,” the spinoff of “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
Tabitha, an alcoholic actress, was the mother of Rob Estes’ Harry, mother-in-law of Lori Loughlin’s Debbie, and the grandmother of Shenae Grimes’ Annie and Tristan Wilds’ Dixon. Despite being cast as a series regular for the first season of “90210,” which kicked off with the Wilsons moving to Beverly Hills from Kansas to care for Tabitha, Walter ended up departing the show after just 13 episodes. The explanation given for her character’s disappearance was that she had returned to show business and was off doing various projects. She was mentioned in season 2 but never seen again, despite producers originally claiming the door was open for Walter to appear in more episodes.
Despite Walter’s short run on the series, a number of fellow stars, journalists, and fans are remembering her today for her time on “90210.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Walter, along with the rest of the “90210” cast, at The CW’s upfront in 2008. My heart goes out to her family, friends, colleagues, and fans. I will update this post if and when Walter’s “90210” co-stars post on social media about her passing.
What a loss. This was a great read. Thanks Shari!