Sunday, November 8, 2015

Phil remembers horror actor and author Gunner Hansen-November 8, 2015

Gunnar Hansen (1947-2015)
This morning I awoke to read some terrible news, which has been blanketed all over the social media formats like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. From Fangoria, Dread Central, Horror Socirty and Rue Morgue to celebrities like Bill Mosley, Ari Lehma, Linnea Quigley and Rob Zombie have been talking about it. Even local Bay Area heroes like Miss Misery, Lord Blood-Rah and Peaches Christ have said their peace. News reports from CNN, Yahoo Movies, The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly and other media outlets have also been covering this story. Legendary horror actor and author Gunnar Hansen, who portrayed Leatherface in the original 1974 film THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine at the age of 68.

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1947. Hansen came to the states when he was five years old, living in Maine before his family moved to Texas. There he majored English and Sacandanavian Studies at the University of Texas. In 1973 he heard that a local filmmaker by the name of Tobe Hooper and others were planning on making a movie in their town. The film was called THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and he was cast for the part of Leatherface. Horror film history was made and an icon was born. 

Hansen went on to appear in other horror and cult films like HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS, FREAKSHOW, MOSQUITO, CHAINSAW SALLY, and even had a bit part in the 2013 relaunch TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D.

Gunnar Hansen as Leatherface (1974)
I had the pleasure of meeting him a long time ago. It was in February 1994 in my hometown of San Jose, before it became known as Silicon Valley. My younger brother Thomas and I were heading to our very first horror convention and they were holding a 20th anniversary reunion of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE with all the original cast. I was very excited to attend and I was really looking forward to meeting Leatherface himself. This was my very first time meeting a celebrity because, at that time, nobody came to San Jose. I stood in line and then I found myself standing in front of him. He was a warm, friendly and kind man who took time to talk to me, told me some great stories, shook my and said thanks for being a great fan. And I got a great autograph picture as well. I'll always treasure that first meeting.

We in the horror community have seen a lot of our heroes, icons, and legends pass on this year. To his family, friends and his legion of fans, I just would to send out my condolences to you all. Gunnar Hansen may be gone from this world, but he left behind a body of work that will be treasured and passed down to future generations of horror fans. And that my fellow horror hounds, is the greatest way to honor him. Thanks you Gunnar Hansen for scaring us for all these years!! You will forever be loved and missed!!

To learn more about this extraordinary actor and author and to purchase merchandise,  please visit his website at

Thanks for reading, and Rest in Peace Gunnar Hansen!

No comments:

Post a Comment