Horror movie fans lost a legend this weekend, with original Texas Chainsaw Massacre star Gunnar Hansen passing away at the age of 68 on Saturday at his home in Maine. The actor died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, his agent Mike Eisenstadt confirmed to the Associated Press. Gunnar Hansen had lived in Maine for the past 40 years where he continued to act and write.
The actor was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1947, before moving to to the United States at the age of 5. Gunnar lived in Maine till he was 11, then his family moved to Texas, where he went to high school and then the University of Texas. He majored in English and mathematics and then went to graduate school in Scandinavian Studies and English. In the summer of 1973 he heard that Tobe Hooper was in town and was doing a movie and decided to give it a try. After interviewing with Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, he landed the iconic role of Leatherface in the 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
After Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Gunnar Hansen tried to make a living as a writer. Gunnar Hansen worked as a magazine editor for a while and then wrote for a magazine for several years. He has written several screenplays one with his partner Gary Jones (director of 1995's Mosquito). Hansen has also written books and some film documentaries. Gunnar, who is originally from Iceland, also directed a documentary on Greenland. He also spent some time designing web pages for GTE.
The actor's other credits include Campfire Tales, Freakshow, Hatred of a Minute, Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre and many more. At the time of his death, the actor had also written the screenplay for, produced and starred in Death House. The film also stars horror legends such as Robert Englund, Danny Trejo, Kane Hodder, Dee Wallace, Bill Moseley, Barbara Crampton and Ken Foree. The story centers on a secret government facility that becomes ground zero for the most horrific prison break in the history of mankind, with the film slated for release sometime next year.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre spawned several sequels and remakes, but the actor wasn't involved in any of those productions. The actor is survived by his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower. Are you saddened that Gunnar Hansen has passed away? Let us know what you think about this iconic horror legend as we mourn his loss.