Betsy Palmer Dead: Friday the 13th Actress Dies at 88

Betsy Palmer obituary
Betsy Palmer, who played Mrs. Voorhees in Friday the 13th, died on May 29 at age 88. Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Betsy Palmer, best known as the mother-turned-murderer Mrs. Voorhees in 1980’s Friday the 13th, has died. The actress’ manager, Brad Lemack, confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press that the star passed away due to natural causes at a hospice facility near her Danbury, Conn., home on May 29. She was 88.

Palmer’s five-decade-long career included a stint as Wheel of Fortune‘s original letter turner, and a regular role as a panelist on the I’ve Got a Secret game show. She also contributed to NBC’s Today show.

When the actress needed extra cash to purchase a new car, Palmer signed on to appear as camp cook Mrs. Voorhees in Friday the 13th, and was convinced no one would see the cheesy slasher flick. Palmer appeared in two of the franchise’s 12 films.

betsy palmer's
Betsy Palmer in Friday the 13th Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Other film credits on Palmer’s resume included Queen Bee (1955), The Long Gray Line (1955), and The Tin Star (1957). On TV, the actress was featured on Murder She Wrote, Knots Landing, Charles in Charge, and The Love Boat. She most recently acted in 2007’s Bell Witch: The Movie.

Palmer is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.

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