BY JOHN ROGERS | ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES — Betsy Palmer, the veteran character actress who achieved lasting, though not necessarily sought-after, fame as the murderous camp cook in the cheesy horror film “Friday the 13th,” has died at age 88.
Ms. Palmer died Friday of natural causes at a hospice care center in Connecticut, her longtime manager, Brad Lemack, told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Ms. Palmer had appeared in films, on Broadway and in TV shows for decades before she took the role of Mrs. Voorhees in the campy 1980 movie in which young camp counselors suddenly begin meeting their bloody demise. The back story was that she was the mother of Jason Voorhees, who had died at the camp years before. He would come to life in several sequels that Palmer passed on. She would say in later years that she only took the role in that first film because she wanted the money to buy a new car.
Ms. Palmer was born Patricia Betsy Hrunek in East Chicago, Indiana. Her mother, Marie Love Hrunek, headed the Chicago Business College. Ms. Palmer graduated from DePaul University where she studied theater.
Ms. Palmer had appeared in numerous TV shows dating to the early 1950s Golden Age of Television. Among them were such classic dramas as “Kraft Theatre,” ”Playhouse 90″ and “Studio One.” Her film credits included “Mr. Roberts” with Henry Fonda, “The Long Gray Line” with Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara, “Queen Bee” with Joan Crawford, and “The Tin Star” with Fonda and Anthony Perkins.
Other TV credits included “Knot’s Landing,” ”The Love Boat,” ”Newhart,” ”Just Shoot Me” and “Murder, She Wrote.” She also appeared in several Broadway plays, including “Same Time, Next Year” and “Cactus Flower.”
Palmer is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.