Gunnar Hansen of ‘Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ Fame Dead at 68
Gunnar Hansen, best known for playing the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, has passed away at the age of 68. Although he was known best for playing one of the most terrifying killers in movie history, Hansen was always described as a kind and soft-spoken man, happy to speak with his fans at horror conventions across the U.S. about his iconic film role.
Hansen’s agent confirmed the news to ABC 7 in Los Angeles, though the cause of death remains unknown. The actor made his big screen debut in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre in 1974, and although he has over 30 screen credits to his name, his role as Leatherface was his most memorable. Hansen went on to appear in several B-horror movies, like Mosquito, Campfire Tales and Chainsaw Sally.
In more recent years, he’s appeared in films like Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre and It Came From Trafalgar, and footage of his iconic Leatherface was used in 2013's Texas Chainsaw 3D. He was also scheduled to appear in two upcoming horror films: The Gathering and Death House, the latter of which he’s credited with writing.
Hansen was born in Reykjavik, Iceland and moved to the U.S. at the age of 5. In recent years he spoke of directing a documentary about Greenland, though it’s difficult to find more information about that project online.
Although he will be remembered for years to come as one of the most iconic horror movie killers in history, Hansen will often be remembered by friends, family and fans as a gentle, generous spirit, completely different from his famous on-screen persona.