Palmer was best known to modern audiences as Pamela Voorhees, the mother of the immortal, mask-wearing killer Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th films—though fans of the series will note that Pamela herself is the killer in the first movie, as she’s taking revenge on the careless teenagers who foolishly tried to reopen Camp Crystal Lake after another group of careless teenagers allowed her son to die there years earlier. Though it has become an iconic role, Palmer was reportedly not too fond of it at first, and she told MovieWeb in 2009 that she only took the part so she could afford to buy a Volkswagen Scirocco. However, thanks to fans coming up to her over the years and telling her how touched they were by Pamela Voorhees’ backstory, she eventually came to appreciate it—even if she didn’t really understand why people liked it.
In addition to her famous role in Friday The 13th, Palmer also had parts in countless movies and TV shows dating back to the early 1950s. She was a recurring player on game shows like I’ve Got A Secret and To Tell The Truth, and she made appearances in everything from The Love Boat, to CHiPs, to Knot’s Landing, Columbo, and Just Shoot Me. She also had small roles in movies like Mr. Roberts and The Tin Star—both of which starred Henry Fonda—and appeared in a number of Broadway productions.
She is survived by her daughter, Melissa, who—according to that MovieWeb interview—suggested buying a Volkswagen Scirocco in the first place.