Gunnar Hansen, the original actor who played the horrifying villain Leatherface in the first Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has passed away. According to his agent Mike Eisenstadt, the 68-year-old actor, born in Iceland, died of pancreatic cancer on Saturday at his home in Maine, US, reported by BBC News.
Hansen and Leatherface
Eisenstadt shared how Hansen?s character is by far ?one of the most iconic evil figures in the history of cinema? in a 1974 film that depicts five people visiting a friend?s grandfather?s country house only to be hunted by Leatherface and his grave-robbing cannibal relatives.
Hansen has appeared in over 20 movies, worked as a magazine editor, wrote screenplays and books, and directed a documentary on Greenland, according to ABC News. But in all his efforts to become better in the other fields, his first role as the iconic Leatherface may still be at the top of the list.
Becoming a classic
?The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,? directed and co-written by Tobe Hooper, eventually became a classic slasher film and went on to give birth to six more sequels, most recently the 2013 ?Texas Chainsaw 3D,? according to BBC News. Although the movie wasn?t one of the first films to hit the genre, ?Texas Chainsaw Massacre? would be a stepping stone and an element that would become an inspiration to characters like Jason Voorhess (Friday the 13th) and Michael Myers (Halloween).
According to Cinemablend, ?Numerous other actors have portrayed the character of Leatherface over the years, but most ? if not all ? merely copied the genius portrayal of Hansen?s original work.? Hansen went on to publish a book in 2013 titled ?Chainsaw Confidential? in which he shared a behind-the-scenes look at how the film was made.
Fans of Hansen paid their respects on social media with a user tweeting: ?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 also shared: ?We?re sad to hear that Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface, has passed away.?
Gunnar Hansen, born in Reykjavic, Iceland, and came to the United States to major in English and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Texas, is survived by Betty Tower, a partner of 13 years.