Betsy Palmer of ‘Friday the 13th’ Fame Passes Away

By June 1, 2015

This past weekend, an actress that gave life to a horror icon passed away, but she also left an indelible impression across her long, 64-year career.

According to Variety, actress Betsy Palmer passed away of natural causes at her home in Connecticut. She was 88. Palmer, who originally hailed from East Chicago, Indiana, got her first acting job in 1951 as a cast member on a daily, 15-minute soap opera called “Miss Susan,” produced out of Philadelphia after having been “discovered” at a party while living in New York City. From there, Palmer was able to parlay that foot-in-the-door into a job as a regular panelist on the game quiz show “I’ve Got a Secret,” which regularly aired on CBS from 1952-1967. After working regularly on television and in various films over a couple of decades, a lull in paying work and the need to purchase a car ultimately led her to taking a job that she herself described as, “a piece of s**t! Nobody is ever going to see this thing.”

That role was the now iconic turn as Pamela Voorhees, mother of Jason Voorhees, in the 1980 slasher classic Friday the 13th. In the subsequent years, her place as Pamela has become her most well-known part, agreeing to a cameo appearance in 1981’s Friday the 13th Part 2 in spite of her distaste for the material. She later came to accept and embrace her status as “Mrs. Voorhees,” though, nearly reprising the role once again for the 2003 showdown Freddy vs. Jason before she backed out due to a low offer.

Palmer’s place as one of the icons of the relatively young slasher genre have cemented her place in cinematic history, and anyone fortunate enough to discover her work beyond Mrs. Voorhees will find a naturally gifted actress across several decades, starring with some of the most enduring stars in the history of film. She’s starred with Tyrone Power, Maureen O’Hara, William Powell, James Cagney, Jack Lemmon, Henry Fonda, and Anthony Perkins, among many others. We at GeekNation wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to her friends and family in this undoubtedly difficult time.

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Chris Clow
As a former comics retailer at a store in the Pacific Northwest, Chris Clow is an enormous sci-fi, comics, and film geek. He is a freelance contributor, reviewer, podcaster, and overall geek to GeekNation,, The Huffington Post, and He also hosts the monthly Comics on Consoles broadcast and podcast. Check out his blog, and follow him on Twitter @ChrisClow.
  • USAjoe

    RIP, I remember her from Friday 13th.

    wow 64 years as an actress? she had quite a ride in this industry

    • Sean L

      Yeah she is a true movie legend <3

  • Katey

    sad news, she had a long, prosperous, happy life though 🙂

  • JessicaKx

    my deepest condolences to her family. I am sure they are so proud of her!

  • Daniel

    A fabulous actress! I looked up to her a lot growing up watching her movies!