Clint Eastwood Chose Jessica Walter to Star in His 1971 Movie ‘Play Misty for Me’

by Matthew Wilson
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The late Jessica Walter left behind decades of iconic work. But the actor also had the distinction of starring in Clint Eastwood‘s directorial debut. Walter starred opposite the “Fistful of Dollars” actor in the thriller “Play Misty for Me” in 1971.

Not only did Eastwood direct the film (the first of many), but he also starred in the picture. Eastwood played a local radio disc jockey. And Walter starred as Evelyn Draper, an obsessed fan that began to stalk Eastwood’s character. Walter’s character would frequently call the radio station, requesting that Eastwood play the jazz song “Misty” for her.

But she soon invaded the disc jockey’s personal life, starting a casual relationship with him after meeting at a bar. Eastwood’s character was initially attracted to Walter’s and the attention that she showed him. But he soon began to grow concerned with her increasingly obsessive behavior toward him. Walter’s Evelyn started stalking the radio personality, tracking him to both his home and his job as well. Things really came to a boil after Eastwood’s character broke up with her.

Jessica Walter Starred in Clint Eastwood’s Film

Walter may not look like someone who could scare Eastwood. After all, Eastwood took down numerous bandits and criminals in the westerns and crime thrillers of his career. But the actor played the role with perfect malice, slowing peeling back the layers of her obsession. Walter’s Evelyn was so scary because it felt realistic and disturbing. There are obsessed fans out there, blending the line between reality and fantasy.

“Play Misty For Me” ended up being the first major role of Walter’s career. And it showed that Eastwood had faith in the actor to properly bring the character to life. For Eastwood’s movie, Walter was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress. The actor would go on to have a long career in Hollywood, most notably in television.

Walter starred in “Arrested Development” as the matriarch of the Bluff family. And she later lent her voice to the animated comedy “Archer” as well. Both roles relied heavily on Walter’s wit and sarcasm and are memorable displays of the actor’s comedic timing.

Walter passed away during her sleep while at her New York City apartment on Wednesday (March 24). The actor was 80-years-old. She will be remembered for her various roles in film and television from comedies to thrillers like Eastwood’s “Play Misty For Me.”

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