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Betsy Palmer Dies: 'Friday the 13th' Murderer Mom Was 88

Image: Betsy Palmer Dies: 'Friday the 13th' Murderer Mom Was 88
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By    |   Monday, 01 Jun 2015 12:00 PM

Betsy Palmer, who played mother-turned-murderer Mrs. Voorhees in the slasher film "Friday the 13th," died after an acting career that spanned six decades. She was 88.

Palmer died at a hospice care center near where she lived in Danbury, Connecticut, according to her manager Brad Lemack. He said Palmer died of natural causes, noted CNN.

Palmer's career began in the 1950s on shows like "Playhouse 90" and "Studio One" and she acted in various televisions programs such as "As the World Turns," "The Love Boat," "Knot's Landing," "Murder, She Wrote," "Newhart," "Columbo" and "CHiPs," according to NBC News.

Palmer now is probably most recognized as the mother of deformed Jason Voorhees in the "Friday the 13th" movies, first appearing in 1980 and then in flashbacks in the horror flick series.

The "Friday the 13th" role revitalized her career, but Palmer admitted in a documentary about the film franchise that she only took the role to pay for a vehicle, noted CNN. Palmer said she came to appreciate the chance to transform her image so she could play other roles on screen.

"The image always of me was that I was this girl next door, and of course I've always said that there wasn't a gal that ever lived next door to me that I wanted to be like," Palmer recalled in "Return to Crystal Lake," the documentary about the making of the "Friday the 13th," according to CNN. "I was always trying to prove that I wasn't the girl next door."

Palmer also acted on Broadway, with credits including "Roar Like a Dove," "Cactus Flower" and "The Eccentricities of a Nightingale."

Her manager said Palmer was the original letter turner on "Wheel of Fortune," a regular panelist on the prime-time game show "I've Got a Secret" and a contributor on NBC's "Today" show.

Palmer was born Patricia Betsy Herunek in 1926 in East Chicago, Indiana, and appeared in summer stock with Paul Newman and once dated James Dean, noted the Washington Post.


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Betsy Palmer, who played mother-turned-murderer Mrs. Voorhees in the slasher film "Friday the 13th," died after an acting career that spanned six decades. She was 88.
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