OG Leatherface Actor from Texas Chainsaw Massacre Has Died

Is it safe to visit Texas yet?

He was a titan of the B-horror genre, the predecessor to masked maniacs like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. He forever marred the world’s perception of the state of Texas. And tragically, the man who brought Leatherface to terrifying life on the big screen has passed away at the age of 68.

Gunnar Hansen, the 6’4 brute who played the cannibalistic madman in the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, died of pancreatic cancer in his home in Maine, where he had resided for around 40 years. Though he was most recognized for terrorizing attractive teenagers with a chainsaw and then wearing their flesh as masks, Hansen worked as an actor and writer for most of his life. He was reportedly working on a film called Death House as a producer and writer at the time of his death.

According to his IMDB, Hansen was born in Reykjavik, Iceland but immigrated to the Maine at the age of 5. He later relocated to Texas at the age of 11 and earned a graduate degree in English and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Texas, though we imagine his extracurricular activities may have been nefarious. In the summer of 1973, he decided to earn some fast cash and lend his mammoth frame to the role of a killer in a cheap exploitation flick. His place in slasher lore was forever cemented.

Maxim salutes this legend of American B-horror cinema. While Renée Zellweger and Matthew McConaughey have seemingly turned their backs on their Texas Chainsaw roots, you rocked your icon status till the end.