Gunnar Hansen the legend behind Leatherface has passed away
Gunnar Hansen, who played the iconic villain Leatherface in the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine, his agent said. He was 68.
I had the great pleasure of working with him at Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Festival in Austin last year and I still can’t believe the news. First Marilyn Burns, Irwin Keyes, then Wes Craven…Now Gunnar. It is a sad day for the horror community.
Hansen starred in the 1974 film that has become a classic among horror-movie aficionados and spawned a series of sequels. In the movie, friends visiting their grandfather’s house are hunted by Leatherface, a chain-saw wielding maniac.
Hansen’s character in the movie “is one of the most iconic evil figures in the history of cinema,” said his agent, Mike Eisenstadt, who confirmed the death.
Fans on Twitter rushed to pay their respects, and Grvyrd Shift Sisters tweeted: “I’ve gotten a chance to hear Gunnar Hansen talk at horror cons a few times. So funny, witty, and engaging.”
The British Film Institute added: “We’re sad to hear that Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface, has passed away.”
Reykjavik-born Hansen moved to the US when he studied English and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Texas,
His agent said that Hansen published his book, Chain Saw Confidential, in 2013, detailing behind-the-scenes information on how the film was made. In it he revealed that the inspirations behind the film had included the fairytale Hansel and Gretel.
Hansen, a keen naturalist, also published Islands at the Edge of Time in 1993, depicting his journey along America’s barrier islands from Texas to North Carolina.
He is survived by his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower.
Raise your saws up today as a legend has passed away.