Betsy Palmer

Active - 1952 - 2008  |   Born - Nov 1, 1926 in East Chicago, Indiana, United States  |   Died - May 29, 2015 in Connecticut  |   Genres - Drama, Horror, Romance

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Direct from Chicago's DePaul University, Betsy Palmer underwent intensive training at New York's Actors Studio, supporting herself as a secretary. She made her professional bow in stock in Wisconsin and Illinois in 1950; one year later, she made the first of hundreds of TV appearances. In 1955, Palmer first appeared on Broadway in The Grand Prize, and that same year launched her sporadic film career. Later stage credits included Forty Carats, in which she successfully replaced Lauren Bacall, and extensive touring in the role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific. To millions of baby-boomers, Palmer will forever be associated with her work as a panelist on such TV game shows as I've Got a Secret; a later generation of televiewers will most readily recall her as Virginia Bullock on the 1989-90 season of Knot's Landing. To those whose teen years coincided with the late 1970s and early 1980s, however, Betsy Palmer is known only as the vicious, vengeful, axe-wielding Mrs. Voorhees (Jason's mom) in the first Friday the 13th (1980); reportedly, Palmer won that role because she was willing to drive her own car to and from location shoots. Palmer continued to act through her later years; she died in 2015, at age 88.

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  • Debuted on Broadway in 1955 in The Grand Prize alongside June Lockhart and Tom Poston.
  • Was a regular panelist on the CBS game show I’ve Got a Secret from 1955 to '67.
  • Took her famous role of Pamela Voorhees in the 1980 slasher film Friday the 13th in order to pay for a new car.
  • Last returned to Northwest Indiana in April 2005 to perform for charity in a Munster High School production of Love Letters.
  • Was inducted to Northwest Indiana's South Shore Wall of Legends in December 2013.