Very saddened to hear that today we have lost yet another horror legend. Gunnar Hansen, who made his impact on the world of cinema back in 1974 in his role as Leatherface in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Originally from Reykjavik, Iceland, his family moved to the USA when he was just aged 5. The Hansen family settled in Maine before moving to Texas aged 11. Whilst in collage, he auditioned for the role of Leatherface and the rest is history. You can read all about my gushing thoughts on TCM here, which I believe is probably the most important film (both mainstream and genre) ever made.
Gunnar was a big character; friendly, creative, and a talented writer as well as having incredible screen presence. He will always be remembered for his role as Leatherface, the crazy, retarded, human face wearing, chainsaw wielding, maniac who was loosely based on serial killer Ed Gein. Although he only played the role in the original 1974 version, and declined a revisit to the role in the (very good) reimagining of Texas Chainsaw Massacre in 2003 due to feeling insulted that the original required a remake, he took up the chainsaw as a weapon in various other films throughout his career, notably Fred Olen Ray’s 1988’s Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.
2015 is turning out to be a sad year for the genre. First Wes Craven back in August and now Gunnar Hanson, aged on 68, died due to pancreatic cancer. Rest in Peace Gunnar, you’ll always be my number one horror monster legend.
My deepest condolences are with Gunnar’s close friends and family at this time.