Betsy Palmer Dead at 88

Betsy Palmer
Actress Betsy Palmer died on May 29. The actress' manager, Brad Lemack, confirmed in a statement to The Associated Press that she passed away due to natural causes at a hospice facility near her Danbury, Connecticut. 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 The Today Show.

Palmer got her first acting job in 1951 when she joined the cast of NBC's 15-minute daily soap opera, Miss Susan, which was produced in Philadelphia. She was "discovered" for this role while enjoying a party in the apartment of actor Frank Sutton (best known as Sgt. Carter of Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.). She had been in New York City less than one week.

From January 1989 to November 1990, she played Valene's aunt, Virginia "Ginny" Bullock, in 29 episodes of CBS primetime soap opera Knots Landing (Seasons 10, 11 and 12).

Palmer was best known as the mother-turned-murderer Mrs. Voorhees in 1980's Friday the 13th. 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.

Palmer's other film credits included Queen Bee, The Long Gray Line, and The Tin Star. On TV, the actress was featured on shows like Murder She Wrote, Charles in Charge, Out of This World and The Love Boat. She most recently acted in 2007's Bell Witch: The Movie.

Palmer is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.

Watch a Knots Landing scene featuring Palmer below:

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