Gunnar Hansen, the actor behind the terrifying mask in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, has died at 68.
Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, Hansen moved to the United States during childhood and later attended high school and college in Austin, Texas. It was there that he answered the call for actors in Tobe Hooper’s 1974 horror film and won the part of Leatherface — the film’s lumbering antagonist who wears a mask made from human skin, partly inspired by real-life Wisconsin serial killer Ed Gein. Leatherface became one of the most iconic horror villains ever put to screen, thanks to Hansen’s imposing performance. Hansen wrote a book about his experiences making the movie called Chain Saw Confidential.
The BBC reports that Hansen was also a naturalist, and published a book about his journal along America’s barrier islands from Texas to North Caroline called Islands at the Edge of Time.
Hansen died at his home in Maine from pancreatic cancer and is survived by Betty Tower, his partner of 13 years.