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Monday, June 1, 2015

Remembering Betsy Palmer 1926 - 2015

Actress Betsy Palmer, who died Friday at age 88, is probably best known for her role as the murderous Mrs. Voorhees in the 1980 horror film, Friday the 13th. She also made a cameo appearance in the 1981 sequel, Friday the 13th Part II. Her other film credits include Mister Roberts (1955), Queen Bee (1955) as Joan Crawford's sister-in-law, and The Tin Star (1957).

Palmer's first acting job was on the 1951 NBC daytime drama, Miss Susan, and she was "the first Vanna White" (but as a hostess, not a letter turner) on the 1952 CBS game show, Wheel of Fortune. Other television credits include the CBS game show, I've Got a Secret (as a regular panelist from 1958 to 1967), the Today show (1958-59) as a Today Girl, the syndicated talk show, Girl Talk (1969-70) as its host, the syndicated Candid Camera (1977-79) as its co-host, Number 96 (a 1980-81 NBC series), As the World Turns (1982) and Knots Landing (1989-90) as Valene Ewing's Aunt Ginny.

She also appeared on Broadway in Cactus Flower (replacing Lauren Bacall in 1967), Tennessee Williams' The Eccentricities of a Nightingale (1976) and Same Time, Next Year (1977-78). And in December 1991, I saw her in a Chicago production of the comedy, Mixed Emotions, at the Briar Street Theatre.

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate Betsy Palmer's life and career.

Queen Bee trailer (1955)

A 1960 episode of I've Got a Secret

A scene from Friday the 13th (1980)

The 2003 documentary, Return to Crystal Lake: Making 'Friday the 13th'

1 comment:

joel65913 said...

Not being a slasher fan I don't remember her from Friday the 13th. My memories of her are her earlier TV panel show appearances. She was always warm and charming and along with Peggy Cass one of my favs on those shows. I have seen that crazy monster movie of another stripe, Queen Bee, with Crawford in full on dragon mode and love it. Poor Betsy didn't stand a chance against the Joan juggernaut!