Betsy Palmer (“Friday The 13th”) Cause of Death, Net Worth, Wiki

April 18, 2024
4 mins read

Who is Betsy Palmer?

Betsy Palmer was an American award-winning actress, perhaps best remembered as Pamela Voorhees in the horror film “Friday the 13th” (1980), and as Trudie Tredwell in the film “Penny Dreadful” (2005), among many other roles that she played during her career.

Cause of Death?

Betsy Palmer passed away at a hospice care center in Danbury, Connecticut USA, on 29 May 2015 at the age of 88 from natural causes.

Betsy Palmer Wiki: Age, Childhood, and Education

Born Patricia Betsy Hrunek on 1 November 1926 under the Scorpio zodiac sign in East Chicago, Indiana USA, she was the daughter of Vincent Rudolph Hrunek, an industrial chemist, but a stay-at-home father, and his wife Maria, the founder of the East Chicago Business College.

Of Czechoslovakian ancestry on her father’s side, Betsy attended Warren G. Harding Elementary School in Hammond, after the family moved to Hessville. Betsy became interested in acting at an early age, and would perform in various school plays throughout her educational years, including high school. She matriculated from East Chicago’s Roosevelt High School in 1944, after which she enrolled at East Chicago Business College.

Life Before Acting Career

She kept her dreams of becoming an actress on stand-by for some time, as she worked as a secretary and stenographer for the car foreman on the RIP track of the B&O Railroad.


She missed people, as she was working a dull job all alone, so after some time left her post. Her next step was taking an aptitude test at the Chicago YWCA, and realized that she had flair for performing arts. After meeting with a former actor who was her father’s friend and former coworker, on his recommendation she started studying acting under David Itkin. Moreover, she completed the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago, which is now at DePaul University.

Career Beginnings and Immediate Success

Pamela’s career started when she joined the summer stock in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and later switched to the winter stock at the Woodstock Opera House in Woodstock, Illinois, alongside Paul Newman.

She continued her career by working with Imogene Coca in summer stock in Chicago, then moved to New York, where she got her first television acting job, as she joined the cast of the 15-minute weekday television soap opera “Miss Susan” (1951), which meant traveling to Philadelphia from New York City by train every day. Two years later, she appeared in the TV series “Danger”, and in 1954 featured in the TV series “Lux Video Theatre”. She made her film debut in 1955, with the role of Kitty Carter in the biopic about Martin Maher, an Irish immigrant, entitled “The Long Gray Line”, starring Tyrone Power, Maureen O’Hara and Robert Francis.


Betsy appeared in several other films that, including the war comedy-drama film “Mister Roberts”, starring Henry Fonda, James Cagney and William Powell, which won Jack Lemmon an Academy Award in the category for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and then starred in the Academy Award-nominated romantic drama film “Queen Bee”, starring alongside Joan Crawford and Barry Sullivan.

Before the ‘50s ended, Betsy featured in the film “The Ballad of Louie the Louse and “The Last Angry Man” both in 1959. She spent the ‘60s working on Broadway and as a TV presenter and host, returning to on-screen acting in the 1970s with the role of Barbara Kreitman in the television series “Love, American Style” (1972).

Image source

Her next role was as Pamela Voorhees in the horror slasher film “Friday the 13th” (1980). There is a rather interesting story behind her acceptance to portray Mrs. Voorhees; she was driving home to Connecticut from New York, and her Mercedes-Benz left her stranded on the road. She was in search of a new vehicle and fell in love with the Volkswagen Scirocco, at her daughter’s suggestion. However, the car was valued at $10,000 and she needed quick money to fund the car purchase. She received an offer to join the cast of the film at $1,000 a day for 10 days’ work which she accepted, and the role celebrated her as an actress. She reprised her role in “Friday the 13th Part 1” in 1981, and years later was asked to appear in the crossover “Freddy vs. Jason”, but refused the offer as she was surprised by the low pay they offered her.


The ‘80s and Later Career

Betsy enjoyed huge success in the ‘80s featuring in a number of projects, including the TV series “The Love Boat” and “Maggie” both in 1982, then in 1983 she was Anne Armstrong in the TV series “T. J. Hooker”, while from 1989 to 1990 she was Virginia Bullock in the TV series “Knots Landing”. She remained active as an actress until 2006, appearing in such projects as the film “Unveiled” in 1994, then “The Fear: Resurrection” (1999), and in 2006 she was Anna Rhoades in the film “Waltzing Anna”.

Television Personality

Before her acting career got going, she was seen contributing to various shows, and later continued to appear in variety and competition shows throughout her career.

In 1953, she was an assistant in the TV series “Wheel of Fortune”, and in 1955 joined the show “I’ve Got a Secret”, appearing 375 times in the show in the next 12 years, which made her rather popular. She was briefly in “Masquerade Party” as a panelist, and from 1957 to 1958 she was the panelist on the show “What’s It For”, then started the ‘60s by appearing in the quiz “Password”. From 1962 to 1967 she appeared several times in the popular variety “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson”. To speak further of her accomplishments, from 1973 to 1975, she was a celebrity contestant in the popular show “The $10,000 Pyramid”.


Broadway Career

Additional to her successful on-screen career, Betsy appeared on stage numerous times, and even reached Broadway, making her debut in the mid- ‘50s with the role of Kate Wilson in the play “The Grand Prize”. Next in April 1956, she was Sally Mackenzie in the play “Affair of Honor”, and in 1964 she was Lady Dungavel in the play “Roar Like a Dove”, while her last appearance was in 1978 in the play “Same Time, Next Year” in 1978.

Personal Life, Dating, Marriage, Children

From 1954 until 1971, Betsy Palmer was married to Vincent J. Merendino, who was an obstetrician-gynecologist. The two met on a blind date and had a daughter, Melissa, before divorcing.  She briefly dated James Dean when the two worked together on the TV series “Studio One”.

She changed her name to Betty Palmer before her move to New York after having saved around $400, needed to legally change her name.

Net Worth

At the time of her death, Betsy Palmer’s net worth was estimated to be around $8 million, earned through her career in the entertainment industry.

Appearance and Body Measurements

The prominent actress was known for her natural blonde hair and green eyes. She was 5ft 7ins (1.7m) tall, while her weight was approximately 120lbs (50kgs), with vital statistics of 34-25-34, bra size 34B.

Olivia Wilson

As the Freelance Writer at Net Worth Post, I steer producing riveting stories about the lives and triumphs of influencers. With an unwavering commitment to precision and a flair for weaving compelling tales, I guide our content creation, from the depths of research to the pinnacle of narrative excellence. My responsibilities encompass the full spectrum of editorial management, including the meticulous investigation, narrative development, and upholding the integrity and high standard of our output.

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