Gunnar Hansen, who created one of the most iconic characters in horror movies, has died at the age of 68.
The actor was 26 when he was cast as the chainsaw-wielding maniac Leatherface in the 1974 film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it became an instant horror classic. His agent said Hansen passed away on Saturday at his home in Maine as a result of pancreatic cancer.
The actor was right out of grad school when he was cast as Leatherface, in part, for his height, filling the frame at six feet and four inches tall, once explained the reason for the masks Leatherface is always seen wearing. “The idea was that there was really nothing behind the mask and that’s how the character was created….. If you were to take the mask off there would be nothing there. That is why you see him wearing different masks at different times. That is how he presented himself, but killing was the only thing he knew.” At the time of his death, he had been cast in the upcoming Simon Pegg horror-comedy The Gathering. He is survived by his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower.