Monday, June 1, 2015

OBITUARY: Betsy Palmer, 1926-2015

As difficult as it might be to believe, we've managed to publish three MONSTER SERIAL books without once touching on any of the films in the FRIDAY THE 13TH series.

Betsy Palmer's association with those films was part of a short-lived trend in slasher movies of securing an established actor to lend some credibility to films that were otherwise considered illegitimate. The original HALLOWEEN nabbed Donald Pleasance (but only after Christoper Lee turned down the part). PROM NIGHT had Leslie Nielsen, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME had Glenn Ford, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET had John Saxon, etc.

Palmer famously accepted the role of "Pamela Voorhees" for two reasons: It required only a few days of her time, and she needed some quick cash to to buy a car (a Volkswagen Scirocco, in case you were wondering).

Born Pamela Betsy Hrunek in East Chicago, Indiana, Palmer started out in classic TV shows of the 1950s such as "Playhouse 90" and "Studio One." She had a lengthy stage career that occasional had her crossing paths with cast members of DARK SHADOWS. In 1976, she appeared opposite David Selby in the Tennessee Williams play, THE ECCENTRICITIES OF A NIGHTINGALE. More than a decade earlier, Palmer was in ROAR LIKE A DOVE, a play that included one Jonathan Frid as both stage manager and understudy.

Palmer died Friday of natural causes at a hospice care center in Connecticut, her longtime manager, Brad Lemack, told The Associated Press on Sunday.

David Selby and Betsy Palmer in The Eccentricities of a Nightingale.

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