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Actress Betsy Palmer has died at the age of 88.

While she spent many years on the television show I've Got a Secret, no one will remember her for that. Instead, she will be remembered forever as the deranged Mrs. Voorhees in the very first Friday the 13th movie (1980) and its direct sequel (1981). (She famously took the part because she wanted a new car.)

And any Joan Crawford fan worth his salt will remember her as a supporting player in the 1955 Crawford potboiler, Queen Bee.

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Betsy Palmer did lots of fairly good early TV, appearing on Studio One, Playhouse 90 ("Time of Your Life"), Philco, Goodyear, US Steel Hour. She also was a member of the Actors Studio. For a while a part of the NBC news team wth Dave Garroway and Jack Lescoulie. None of which she will be remembered for.


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A bit part in pop culture history is sometimes attained in mysterious and unexpected ways.

Palmer also created the role of Virginia (no, not the Betsy Blair role, that's Clara) in Paddy Chayefsky's Marty, which originated as a play for television. Several of the TV cast members were also in the movie, but Palmer wasn't one of them.

There's a lot of vintage TV to be seen on the telly these days, but none of those old playhouse series, so far. I'm sure some of them must have survived (?) There were some terrific writers and actors working in those shows.

Queen Bee is great. I put it right up there with Female on the Beach.

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