Monday, June 1, 2015

Friday the 13th Icon Betsy Palmer Dead at 88

It's almost impossible to discuss Betsy Palmer's role in the Friday the 13th series without spoiling the plot, pretty much. Which is okay, because the plot is so thin, it's really beside the point to spoil it! But in 1980, when I was a 13-year-old sneaking into the drive-in, her part in the film was seared into my brain. I may have recognized her from Candid Camera, or one of her other many game show appearances. But it was her role as Jason Voorhees' mother, the former camp cook who (for reasons never explained by the sequels) only thought the horny camp counselors had let her son Jason drown in Camp Crystal Lake, and was gleefully (and crazily) dispatching them one by one in gruesome (but novel!) ways. Her victims included Kevin Bacon oddly enough, so there are no degrees of separation there.

Anyway, the lady left a mark on Generation X, by agreeing to do a film pretty much because she knew it would get her a new car, and that sounds like reason enough to me to become a film legend (not that she wasn't already well known to the older generations). Paramount Pictures probably should have bought her a fleet of cars, considering that without her performance (and spectacular death scene), who knows if the first film would have achieved such success? It may have been a little nothing horror film, one of the many imitators of Halloween, rather than the hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-grossing series it became?

I'm sure Betsy would be both amused and appalled that a for people like me, her life and career boil down to a film she made as a lark and a paycheck. But she did make an impact on a generation. How many people can say that? So, RIP, Ms. Palmer. Your place in pop culture is forever secure.


Betsy Palmer, Actress Best Known As Killer Cook In 'Friday The 13th,' Dead At 88
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. . .

Read more at: Huffington Post

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