Gunnar Hansen, the Original “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” Leatherface, Has Died
It is with such a heavy heart for me that I must share the news of the passing of Gunnar Hansen, the original Leatherface in 1974’s “Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” This character became iconic as several additional films followed, none that included Hansen. This is probably my favorite horror film ever since it was so raw and real and when you hear the behind-the-scenes information on the special edition disc (which I have in triplicate). Hansen was just sixty-eight when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer in his home in Maine yesterday, according to the Associated Press. Gunnar’s character “is one of the most iconic evil figures in the history of cinema,” according to agent Mike Eisenstadt. He was the one who confirmed the actor’s passing and revealed that the actor/writer/director was working on projects during his final days, as he leaves behind partner Betty Tower.
He also wrote a tell-all regarding “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” in 2013 called “Chain Saw Confidential.” As a super fan, there are some behind-the-scenes details that some may not know such as the extremely low budget of the Tobe Hooper film. One of them is that Gunnar’s Leatherface costume could not be washed during filming, even though they filmed in intense Texas heat and around spoiling food, mainly because they could not afford another costume. If it were to be washed, it could ruin the visual flow of the film. He was offered roles in later Chainsaw films but the amount of money that they wanted to pay him was so measly that it was not worth it; it was almost a slap in the face. He played this iconic role and scared the seventies but, even when the budgets would go up, he was not offered a pay increase thus he was replaced.
He did go on to star in a slew of films and have a small role in “Texas Chainsaw 3D” in 2013 and was a professor. Again, I am taking this very hard as this was my movie, I have the Leatherface Pop Vinyl and always appreciated hearing him speak about the original film. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans at this difficult time. Just last year, the original franchise also lost Marilyn Burns who played the role of Sally Hardesty at sixty-five. This role was later played by Jessica Biel in a reboot. #RIPLeatherface