Today we mourn the Icelandic actor Gunnar Hansen, known to the world as the lead villain in one of the most notorius movies of all times, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
The Nordic region has lost one of its earliest and most iconic horror actors.
Gunnar Hansen bas born in Reykjavik on Iceland in 1947 and moved to the US aged five. He first lived in Maine, then in Texas, where be majored in English and mathematics as an undergraduate, and then went to graduate school in Scandinavian Studies and English. During college he began theatre work. In 1973, just after completing graduate school, Hansen heard that a horror movie was being filmed in Austin, and he decided to try to get a part. He ended up playing the mentally impaired cannibal Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an iconic role in an iconic movie.
After one more movie movie, Demon Lover, Hansen decided acting was not his thing and chose to write in stead. His career choice led him to turning down a part in another cult horror hit, The Hills Have Eyes. After returning to movies in 1988, Hansen starred in around 20 movies, although he also kept on writing books and film scripts. He also wrote and directed documentaries. In 2013 Gunnar Hansen wrote the nonfiction book Chain Saw Confidential, about the making of and reception of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
In 2009 he acted in Iceland’s first horror feature ever, Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre (aka Harpoon). Other notable films he appeared in include Murder-Set-Pieces and Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.
Gunnar Hansen died in his home in Maine from pancreatic cancer on November 7, 2015, aged 68.