Betsy Palmer, 'Friday the 13th' Actress, Dead at 88

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Image: Betsy Palmer in 1955
Betsy Palmer in 1955.MICHAEL OCHS / Getty Images

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Betsy Palmer, who is best known for playing Jason Voorhees' mother in "Friday the 13th" and appeared in dozens of other films, plays and TV shows, has died. She was 88.

The character actress had a six-decade career, but her most indelible role was as Mrs. Voorhees, the murderous camp cook whose deformed son Jason drowned in the waters of Crystal Lake. Palmer carved her way into horror film history in the 1980 classic, and appeared in flashbacks throughout the next few entries in the slasher series.

Born Pamela Betsy Hrunek in East Chicago, Indiana, she started out in classic TV shows of the 1950s such as "Playhouse 90" and "Studio One." She went on to appear in numerous TV shows including "As the World Turns," "The Love Boat," "Knot's Landing," "Murder, She Wrote," "Newhart," "Columbo" and "CHiPs."

Image: Betsy Palmer in 1955
Betsy Palmer in 1955.MICHAEL OCHS / Getty Images

While she originally said she took the Mrs. Voorhees role just to pay for a car, she came to embrace her fame and was seen in numerous documentaries about "Friday the 13th" and appeared at horror conventions.

She died on Friday in Connecticut. Palmer is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.

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