Gunnar Hansen, who played the hulking villain Leatherface in the original “Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” died Nov. 7 at his home in Northeast Harbor, Maine. He was 68.
The cause was pancreatic cancer, said his agent, Mike Eisenstadt.
Mr. Hansen starred in the 1974 film that drew a devoted following among horror-movie aficionados and spawned sequels. In the movie, friends visiting their grandfather’s house are hunted by Leatherface, a maniac wielding a chain saw who wears a mask made of human skin.
Mr. Hansen was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, on March 4, 1947. He grew up in Maine and Texas.
He was attending the University of Texas at Austin and was working as a carpenter and a bartender when he heard that a low-budget horror film was being shot near Austin. Mr. Hansen tried out for a role on a lark. At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, his hulking physique was tailored for the director, Tobe Hooper.
Mr. Hansen lived in Maine for about 40 years, where he worked as an actor and writer. At the time of his death, he was writing and producing a film called “Death House.” The film is scheduled to be released next year, Eisenstadt said.
In 2013, Mr. Hansen published a book, “Chain Saw Confidential,” which gave readers a behind-the-scenes look at how the film was made. The film’s lead actress, Marilyn Burns, died in 2014.
Mr. Hansen’s survivors include his partner of 13 years, Betty Tower.