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Betsy Palmer 1926-2015


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The lovely Betsy Palmer, who graced stage and screen, has died in Connecticut. Though many of us first saw her on television, particularly on her regular gig on "I've Got a Secret," Ms. Palmer performed on Broadway and in the movies. Late in her career, she played a memorable role in Friday the 13th. Later still, she was a regular on "Knots Landing." She was 88.

 

IGaS_TVG-1960-08-20-Betsy-Palmer.jpg

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Betsy Palmer lived quite a long life.   Just the same, it is still very sad news.   I just read about her passing ten minutes ago.   Of course I remember her from "I've got a secret".

 

I also liked that other movie that she was in: "Queen Bee."  (1955).

In fact, I think that the three women who starred in this film were the best things about it:  Joan Crawford, Lucy Marlow, and Betsy Palmer.    I actually think they gave the best performances among the principal stars in that one. 

 

I wonder if TCM will air "Queen Bee" within the next few weeks as part of a tribute to Betsy Palmer.  The last time they showed this movie was about a year and a half ago - in January 2014, when Joan Crawford was the star of the month. 

In fact, I'm a little surprised that TCM won't be showing this movie in August when Crawford gets honored during Summer Under the Stars.

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R.I.P. Betsy, you were a wonderful gal  :(

She was a wonderful gal, mrroberts.  I don't know what it was about those game shows of childhood, but Betsy Palmer, Bess Myerson, and the others bring back such happy memories.  It's hard to see them go.

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I loved her on "I've Got A Secret" when GSN would show "Black and White Overnight" , those vintage game shows at midnight back when I worked nights.

 

Any day now, a new game show channel is popping up on free t.v. I hope they include her shows since GSN gave that up long ago. 

 

And its funny nobody remembers that she was the real star of Friday the 13th. Jason had died and she took it out of those kids who were his age had he lived.... Then of course Jason magically came to life and a hundred more sequels followed.  :unsure:

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I loved her on "I've Got A Secret" when GSN would show "Black and White Overnight" , those vintage game shows at midnight back when I worked nights.

 

Any day now, a new game show channel is popping up on free t.v. I hope they include her shows since GSN gave that up long ago. 

 

And its funny nobody remembers that she was the real star of Friday the 13th. Jason had died and she took it out of those kids who were his age had he lived.... Then of course Jason magically came to life and a hundred more sequels followed.  :unsure:

Wasn't she just seen in MISTER ROBERTS on TCM?

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I also liked that other movie that she was in: "Queen Bee."  (1955).

In fact, I think that the three women who starred in this film were the best things about it:  Joan Crawford, Lucy Marlow, and Betsy Palmer.    I actually think they gave the best performances among the principal stars in that one. 

 

 

Thanks for mentioning QUEEN BEE. Palmer is very good in it- far better, in fact, than the silly script requires her to be....but she's not as good in it as she is discussing the making of QUEEN BEE in the documentary JOAN CRAWFORD: THE ULTIMATE MOVIE STAR. She seems like a hell of a lot of fun and shares some real gems about working with Joan (whom she befriended.)

 

She also casts some Olympic level shade Lucy Marlowe's way, discussing how Lucy complained that Joan would actually slap her hard during the takes for the infamous slapping scene in the movie: "maybe [Crawford] was frustrated that the talent wasn't there..."

 

Anyone who can issue a burn like that is fine in my book.

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When I saw that she had passed I thought of I've Got a Secret. I don't know why I remember a particular ensemble she wore way back then, but it was a light colored evening dress, strapless, and she was wearing a brooch on her bare skin above the top of the dress. It puzzled a seven year old me how she could be wearing a pin on her bare skin. Either the dress had a mesh top part that I couldn't see on our old B&W tv or it was glued on somehow. Why that image has stuck with me for over 50 years I don't know.

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Sorry to hear this. Like so many others I remember her from I've Got A Secret. And later for some of her film and tv performances. She was quite funny and discerning in that Joan Crawford documentary...

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. She was quite funny and discerning in that Joan Crawford documentary...

 

If there is such as thing as a "scene stealer" in a documentary, Palmer is it in JOAN CRAWFORD: THE ULTIMATE MOVIE STAR.

 

Granted I've watched it numerous times, but I can still remember her anecdotes about Joan and "Johnny" Ireland "boozin' and ballin' it up" on the QUEEN BEE set; her recollection of Joan's admission that she and Al Steele were "in their cups" when they decided to get married and a rather poignant moment where she says she wishes HOLLYWOOD would realize older actresses have a lot to offer "but I guess they want you to look pretty, and that ain't always how it is."

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My big regret is that Betsy Palmer only had a brief run of work in motion pictures then moved over into tv  where she never got cast in any regular series work. She was  quite attractive and talented as an actress but found greater recognition as a regular panelist on I've Got A Secret and appearances on other game shows.  Betsy was smart, witty, very likeable on those shows. She was a favorite of mine (I was a kid, one of those first crushes).   Unfortunately Betsy faced that problem that most actresses face, she got "older" and the available work opportunities weren't there.  So she took a part in one of those stupid, inane slasher movies , which was way below her abilities as an actress. The movie was a hit and now that stands as her greatest claim to fame. She deserves better recognition than that.  I'll always remember her for her work in quality tv and film.  Watch for her in the John Ford film THE LONG GRAY LINE with Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara.   

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My big regret is that Betsy Palmer only had a brief run of work in motion pictures then moved over into tv  where she never got cast in any regular series work. She was  quite attractive and talented as an actress but found greater recognition as a regular panelist on I've Got A Secret and appearances on other game shows.  Betsy was smart, witty, very likeable on those shows. She was a favorite of mine (I was a kid, one of those first crushes).   Unfortunately Betsy faced that problem that most actresses face, she got "older" and the available work opportunities weren't there.  So she took a part in one of those stupid, inane slasher movies , which was way below her abilities as an actress. The movie was a hit and now that stands as her greatest claim to fame. She deserves better recognition than that.  I'll always remember her for her work in quality tv and film.  Watch for her in the John Ford film THE LONG GRAY LINE with Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara.   

 

 

Yeah, its sad she'll be remembered for that over anything else she ever did. :(

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So she took a part in one of those stupid, inane slasher movies , which was way below her abilities as an actress. The movie was a hit and now that stands as her greatest claim to fame. She deserves better recognition than that.    

Betsy Palmer did have a good run on Knots Landing -- 29 episodes, it says on IMDB and appeared in some pioneering early live television. Regarding that slasher part, yes -- it's a shame that's part of her claim to fame. It reminds me of poor Christopher Plummer, who has complained that his claim to fame is a certain movie about a singing family in the Alps. But I guess it helps pay the rent.

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Betsy Palmer did have a good run on Knots Landing -- 29 episodes, it says on IMDB and appeared in some pioneering early live television. Regarding that slasher part, yes -- it's a shame that's part of her claim to fame. It reminds me of poor Christopher Plummer, who has complained that his claim to fame is a certain movie about a singing family in the Alps. But I guess it helps pay the rent.

 

 

I doubt he gets any residuals from that.............

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My big regret is that Betsy Palmer only had a brief run of work in motion pictures then moved over into tv  where she never got cast in any regular series work. She was  quite attractive and talented as an actress but found greater recognition as a regular panelist on I've Got A Secret and appearances on other game shows.  Betsy was smart, witty, very likeable on those shows. She was a favorite of mine (I was a kid, one of those first crushes).   Unfortunately Betsy faced that problem that most actresses face, she got "older" and the available work opportunities weren't there.  So she took a part in one of those stupid, inane slasher movies , which was way below her abilities as an actress. The movie was a hit and now that stands as her greatest claim to fame. She deserves better recognition than that.  I'll always remember her for her work in quality tv and film.  Watch for her in the John Ford film THE LONG GRAY LINE with Tyrone Power and Maureen O'Hara.   

Love THE LONG GRAY LINE and she was very good in the film. Another very good performance by Betsy was in the Joan Crawford film Queen Bee. Betsy was a lovely actress and it was always a pleasure to see her whether on tv or film.

 

RIP Betsy Palmer

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The lovely Betsy Palmer, who graced stage and screen, has died in Connecticut. Though many of us first saw her on television, particularly on her regular gig on "I've Got a Secret," Ms. Palmer performed on Broadway and in the movies. Late in her career, she played a memorable role in Friday the 13th. Later still, she was a regular on "Knots Landing." She was 88.

 

 

 

What role did she play on KNOTS LANDING?

I used watch that show on SoapNet in the early 2000s.

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I guess its just a coincidence that a new game show channel began today on June 1 actually focusing on the older programs. And sure enough, I've got a secret is on as I type. And of course Betsy Palmer in her usual seat on the panel. And of course this particular episode she was featured.

 

You have to remember, Game shows were primetime viewing in those days. To be a regular panelist was an envied position to have.

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What role did she play on KNOTS LANDING?

I used watch that show on SoapNet in the early 2000s.

She was Val's aunt. she stayed with Val in Val's house. for awhile.When Gary and Val went to Texas because they wanted to move there to get away from that crazy guy Danny that Val was married to, Danny showed up at Val's house and Betsy sent him away, he took out a baseball bat and almost smashed the door in. Betsy's character was into crystals or new age type stuff. This was after Julie Harris left the show I think.

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When I saw that she had passed I thought of I've Got a Secret. I don't know why I remember a particular ensemble she wore way back then, but it was a light colored evening dress, strapless, and she was wearing a brooch on her bare skin above the top of the dress. It puzzled a seven year old me how she could be wearing a pin on her bare skin. Either the dress had a mesh top part that I couldn't see on our old B&W tv or it was glued on somehow. Why that image has stuck with me for over 50 years I don't know.

That's the sort of thing I remember, too.  I was always transfixed by Dorothy Kilgallen's and Kitty Carlisle's gowns, and Jayne Meadows' jewelry.  I loved the way they came out of the wings onto the stage with a swish of their gown and nod of the head.  Such elegance.

 

I'd love to see the brooch you remember!

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That's the sort of thing I remember, too.  I was always transfixed by Dorothy Kilgallen's and Kitty Carlisle's gowns, and Jayne Meadows' jewelry.  I loved the way they came out of the wings onto the stage with a swish of their gown and nod of the head.  Such elegance.

 

I'd love to see the brooch you remember!

It was what I'm assuming a rhinestone or paste circle that kind of looked like a snowflake. Of course I thought it was diamonds! She & Bess Myerson always looked so beautiful. I was watching a clip from What's My Line recently where Fredric March was the secret guest, and the panel was Margaret Truman, Steve Allen, Arlene Francis and Bennett Cerf. Arlene was dressed to the nines, the men were in tuxedos but Margaret looked so uncomfortable and came across as a ditz. Those were the days.

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Yeah, its sad she'll be remembered for [FRIDAY THE 13TH] over anything else she ever did. :(

 

I dunno. I think it's a real testament to her powers as an actress that she comes across so memorably as Mrs. Voorheis; in fact one could very well make the argument that a good deal of FRIDAY THE 13TH's staying power in the national psyche is due to Palmer's performance. She did the film because she needed money for a new car and could have quite easily not invested herself as fully as she did in the part, but she did and thus is one of the only things people remember about the movie (which is actually pretty dull and unmemorable outside of Palmer's scenes.)

 

You have to admire anyone, no matter what their profession, who gives their all when the circumstances could well persuade them not to.

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