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Palmer, Betsy (1926-2015) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Palmer, Betsy (1926-2015)

Historical Note: Born Patricia Betsy Hrunek on November 1, 1926 in East Chicago, Indiana, Palmer studied at DePaul University in Chicago. Afterwards she studied at New York's Actors Studio and worked as a secretary. She returned to the Midwest in the early 1950s to perform in Wisconsin and Illinois. From there here career grew as she began to appear on television, becoming a staple on several shows in the 1960s. In 1955 she returned to New York to appear on Broadway in The Grand Prize, with later roles in Forty Carats and South Pacific. 1955 also saw her film career begin, which would include appearances in Mister Roberts and The Long Gray Line. Palmer’s career provided steady work in television and theater throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The 1980s saw her enter the genre of horror films with her initial appearance in the original Friday the 13th film, which created a niche of film appearances for Ms. Palmer for the coming years. Palmer also enjoyed acting in several regional theater companies and national tours into the mid-1990s. In 2006 she was awarded a Claw Award for Best Actress at the Terror Film Festival for her work in Penny Dreadful. From 1954 to 1971 Palmer was married to Dr. Vincent J. Merendino, together they had a daughter, Melissa, who was born in 1962. Palmer spent time between her homes in New York City and Sedona, Arizona.  She died on May 29, 2015.
Note Author: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff

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