An actress who was a familiar face on television game shows in the early days of the medium has died. CNN reports that Betsy Palmer, who had a late-career resurgence when she played a mom-turned-murderer in “Friday the 13th,” died Friday at a hospice center in Danbury, Conn. She was 88.
Palmer was a fixture on game shows, including a long stint as one of the regular panelists on “I’ve Got a Secret” along with appearances on “To Tell the Truth,” “What’s My Line,” “Password” and others.
She was also the original letter turner on “Wheel of Fortune” and a contributor on NBC’s “Today” show, CNN notes.
In 1980, she played Mrs. Vorhees in the slasher movie “Friday the 13th.”
“It’s a role Palmer once said she’d only accepted because she was convinced no one would see it — and because she needed the money for a new car,” CNN notes. “The day before she got a call about the film, her Mercedes broke down on the Connecticut turnpike. She quickly set her sights on a new one that would cost $10,000.”
The offer for the film role paid that exact amount, according to her manager.
Two clips of Palmer follow. The first clip features one of the all-time classic segments of “I’ve Got a Secret,” in an episode first broadcast 55 years ago in 1960. Palmer is the blonde on the panel. The other woman on the panel is Bess Myerson, who also was a regular on the show. Myerson just died in December at age 90. The host was Garry Moore.
Here’s a clip of Palmer in action in “Friday the 13th”: