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Gunnar Hansen created one of the most iconic roles in the history of horror as the terrifying Leatherface in Tobe Hooper's "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre" (1974). As it happened, this was the Icelandic native's first film role: he had auditioned for the film un a whim while he was attending graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin. Although Hansen appeared in one more horror film in the '70s, the comparatively little-known "The Demon Lover" (1977), his academic career took precedence. It wasn't until he appeared in the tongue-in-cheek genre parody "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" (1988) over a decade later that Hansen began appearing in films regularly. Throughout the '90s and early 2000s, Hansen appeared in a couple dozen low-budget horror films, many of which went directly to video. Throughout, he considered acting a sideline to his calling as a writer, editor and teacher. Gunnar Hansen died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 68 at his home in Northeast Harbor, Maine on November 7, 2015. At the time of his death, Hansen was working on the film "Death House" (2016), starring Danny Trejo and Robert Englund; it was the first film on which he had a screenwriting credit.
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