Betsy Palmer was probably best known for playing Jason Voorhees’ mother in the horror film Friday the 13th (1980), but her career as an actress began many years before.
Palmer was born Patricia Betsy Hrunek in East Chicago, Indiana, to Marie (née Love), who launched the Chicago Business College, and Rudolph Vincent Hrunek, a Czech-born industrial chemist. Palmer played a young female officer opposite Jack Lemmon in Mister Roberts (1955), and appeared in another war film the same year, The Long Gray Line (1955). Throughout the late 1950s, Palmer was recognized as a news reporter on Today (1952) on NBC, then became largely involved in television. She remained in made-for-TV films and notable guest appearances, before playing the murderous avenging mother, Mrs. Voorhees, in the horror film Friday the 13th (1980). She also continued working in television, and appearing in low-budget films like The Fear: Resurrection (1999). Palmer spent her later years between her home in New York City and Sedona, Arizona.
Betsy Palmer died of natural causes on a Friday, May 29, 2015, at a hospice care center in Danbury, Connecticut.
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