Respect for the late Jessica Walter, who passed yesterday at age 80. Walter achieved screen immortality when she portrayed Evelyn Draper, the estranged younger sister of Don Draper (kidding!) and the original psycho-nutso girlfriend in Clint Eastwood Play Misty For Me (’71).
After a single night of great sex with Carmel disc-jokey Dave Garver (Eastwood), Walter/Draper grasped and stalked and terrorized and wound up wielding a large kitchen knife. Audiences cheered when she met her doom at the finale.
16 years later Walter became the second most psychotic and terrifying figure in this realm with the arrival of Glenn Close‘s Alex Forrest in Adrien Lyne‘s Fatal Attraction (’87).
Alex caused blood to instantly drain from the faces of tens of millions of straight American male dilletante infidels…husbands and boyfriends who had once or twice slithered into a little involvement on the side without getting caught. Or had dreamt of this.
The idea with both Evelyn and Alex was that if you become intimate with them just once or twice, for a single night or over, say, a 24-hour period, you need to devote your life to them forever…leave your girlfriend, get divorced, invite her to live with you and become her lifelong partner as she prepares for a coming child, etc.
Walter’s peak feature-film period ran from the mid ’60s to early ’70s — Lilith, Grand Prix, The Group, Bye Bye Braverman, Number One, Play Misty for Me, etc. She kept working and hung in there and won an Emmy or two (she was oh-my-God-so-fucking-great in Arrested Development!…aaagghh wonderful!) all the way to the end. And don’t forget her voice work in Archer.