Jessica Rabbit is Roger's human Toon wife in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. In the book, she was an immoral, up-and-coming star and former comic character over whom her estranged husband (comic strip star Roger Rabbit) became obsessed. She is re-imagined in the film as a sultry, but moral, cartoon singer at a Los Angeles supper club called The Ink and Paint Club. She is one of several suspects in the framing of her husband, who is a famous cartoon star. She is voiced by Kathleen Turner. Amy Irving was cast to sing "Why Don't You Do Right?" (a blues song made famous by Peggy Lee) for Jessica's first scene in the movie.
Writer Gary K. Wolf had based Jessica primarily on the cartoon character Red of Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood. According to animation director Richard Williams, other inspirations are Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946), and Veronica Lake (noted for her famous "Peek-A-Boo" hairstyle). Jessica is one of the most famous sex symbols on the animated screen. She claims to Eddie Valiant, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way," which has become a popular quote. She deeply loves her husband Roger, claiming that he makes her laugh and that he makes a more fitting husband than Goofy. She is shown to have few of the comedic cartoon antics typical of other toons. One such example was her cleavage having a hammerspace ability as one of the weasels searched her (with obvious perverted intent) for Marvin Acme's last will and testament, only to comically get his hand caught in a bear trap and Valiant commenting on the event with a clever pun ("Nice booby trap"). Another could be her mild wild take seeing Judge Doom's scheme involving the Dip, while a subtle effect was added by animator Russell Hall: The bounce of Jessica's bosom was reversed from that of a real woman so that it would bounce up when a real woman's breasts bounce down and vice versa.
It was said by her animators, that Jessica is so "exuberant", because they wondered how far they could take her behavior without comments from the Walt Disney Studios.
After the film, Jessica also appeared in the Roger Rabbit/Baby Herman shorts Tummy Trouble as a nurse, Roller Coaster Rabbit as a damsel in distress, and Trail Mix-Up as a park ranger. In Tummy Trouble and Roller Coaster Rabbit she made no impression, but in Trail Mix-Up Roger fantasizes over her, calling her a 'babe in the woods' and panting like a dog. She also appeared frequently in the Roger Rabbit comic book series, and she had her own feature in most issues of Roger Rabbit's Toontown such as "Beauty Parlor Bedlam," where she comes face to face with female weasel counterpart, Winnie.
With the success of the film and upon the opening of Disney's MGM Studios on May 1, 1989, the film's characters featured prominently in the company. After taking the Studio Backlot Tour, various props decorated the streets including two different photo opportunities with Jessica: a glittery cardboard cutout and "The Loony Bin" photo shop which allowed you to take pictures in costume standing next to an actual cartoon drawing of characters from the film. There was also a plethora of merchandise including Jessica Rabbit rub-on stickers called "pressers".
Disagreements between the Walt Disney Company, Amblin Entertainment (Spielberg) and Gary Wolf (jointly owning rights to the characters) made it difficult for any merchandise or projects to get off the ground and caused the halt of the short film, Hare in My Soup, and the next film Who Discovered Roger Rabbit. In this prequel, Roger meets his bride-to-be, Jessica. A completed score by Alan Silvestri is said to exist as well as test footage and computer generated versions of the characters. Also cancelled was an animated television series, which was replaced by a show called Bonkers about a feline cop. Many park attractions never got out of development, such as Roger Rabbit's Hollywood.
In 2000, Disney-MGM Studios stopped using any character memorabilia in the park, though some props are still present. These include a Maroon Cartoon billboard featuring Roger, Jessica, and Baby Herman across from the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show, Eddie Valiant's office and a cut-out of Roger on the blinds of a neighboring window near the 50's Prime Time Cafe, and the "ton o' bricks" hanging near the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Movie Set Adventure.
In 2008, Jessica Rabbit was selected by Empire Magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. In March, 2009, a UK newspaper voted Jessica Rabbit the sexiest cartoon character of all time, with Betty Boop in second place and the Cadbury's Caramel Bunny in third