Gunnar Hansen, Killer of 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre,' Dies at 68

Robert F. Bukaty
Gunnar Hansen

The actor starred in the original 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre.'

Gunnar Hansen, who played the iconic villain Leatherface in the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine, his agent said. He was 68.

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.

In 2013, Hansen published his book "Chain Saw Confidential," which gave readers a behind-the-scenes look at how the film was made, said Eisenstadt.

Hansen lived in Maine for about 40 years, where he worked as an actor and writer, said Eisenstadt.

At the time of his death, Hansen was at work on a film called "Death House," said his agent. Hansen was a writer and producer of the film, which the Internet Movie Database says is about how a secret government facility becomes ground zero for the most horrific prison break in the history of mankind. The film is scheduled to come out next year, said Eisenstadt.

Hansen was born in Reykjavik, Iceland. He came to the U.S. and studied at the University of Texas, where he majored in English and Scandinavian Studies, said Eisenstadt.

Surviving Hansen is his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower.