Its been a shitty few months for horror fans, first Wes Craven and now, I just read Gunnar Hansen died and if you don’t know who Gunnar Hansen was then you lack horror film knowledge and are in need of educating.
Gunnar was born on March 4, 1947 in Reykjavik, Iceland. He moved to the US at the age of 5 with his family and lived in Maine until the age of 11, when the family again moved this time to Texas.
Gunnar majored in English and mathematics as an undergraduate.
He held several jobs after school including working as a computer operator, dabbled in theatre work during college. His big frame made him perfect for a football player during high school, and for a while a bar bouncer.
It was in 1973 when Gunner heard of a horror film being made in his home town of Austin, Texas that he decided to try out for a role.
That film was the infamous; The Texas Chain Saw Massacre directed by Tobe Hooper and the role he landed was Leatherface.
Despite The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s success, Hansen turned his back on acting only appearing in the film The Demon Lover (1977). He even turned down a role in the Wes Craven directed; The Hills Have Eyes (1977). Hansen instead moved back to Maine and started pursuing a writing career.
Hansen eventually returned to acting in 1988 with the spoof film; Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers and appeared in over 20 films since.
He even eventually returned to the franchise that made him famous with Texas Chainsaw 3D in 2013 appearing in a cameo role.
Gunnar was also a successful writer with his; Islands at the Edge of Time, A journey to America’s Barrier Islands being published in 1993. He also wrote 2013’s; Chain Saw Confidential, which covered the making of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and its infamous reception and influence.
Gunnar Hansen died at his home in Maine from pancreatic cancer on November 7, 2015. He was 68.
Gunnar Hansen: “I never thought I had it in me. Just before production started, I was sitting in a drugstore, had nothing at all planned for the summer, heard about the casting call, and decided to try out on a lark. I was 26 years old, just out of graduate school.”