|Betsy Palmer, 1926-2015|
While Palmer will always be remembered for her role as Jason Voorhees’ tragic mother, she had a long and versatile career on stage - appearing in Broadway plays such as On Golden Pond, Cactus Flower and Same Time, Next Year - and television - starring in the likes of Knots Landing, As the World Turns and Murder, She Wrote.
Palmer famously stated that she only took on the role of Mrs Voorhees because she needed a new car. Despite initially disowning the film, and its sequel, in which she had a cameo appearance, Palmer eventually embraced it, frequently appearing at horror conventions to meet with hordes of adoring fans.
In Peter M. Bracke’s 'Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th', she candidly revealed that she approached all her roles, including Mama Voorhees, with sincerity; she even created a back-story for the character. She also commented on the film’s legacy, its enduring appeal, and her place within horror cinema history. “I once told my daughter. “Tell me the truth, are you ashamed that your mother did Friday the 13th?” And she said, “Not at all - now I don’t have to tell my friends who you are anymore.” The funny thing is, I did poo-poo it for a long time. I wasn’t sure if I wanted anyone to know. But I’ve since accepted it. It’s actually become fun now. It’s like a badge of honour. I’m the Queen of the Slashers!”
Betsy’s friend and Friday the 13th co-star Adrienne King said on Facebook: “Rest in Peace sweet Betsy. You will be so missed by so many. I am truly blessed to have known you. You were my dear friend, my bloody brilliant teacher, the consummate awe-inspiring actress & professional not to mention the kind of mother every child wishes they had ~ I am so happy you embraced your role as Mrs. Voorhees in the end & enjoyed the love & praise of your generations of fans from around the world. We will miss you Betsy Palmer!”