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Gunnar Hansen Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trade Mark (2)  | Trivia (11)  | Personal Quotes (7)  | Salary (1)

Overview (5)

Born in Reykjavik, Iceland
Died in Northeast Harbor, Maine, USA  (pancreatic cancer)
Birth NameGunnar Milton Hansen
Nicknames Gunner
Leatherface
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

He was born in Reykjavik, Iceland and moved to the United States at the age of 5. Gunnar lived in Maine till he was 11, then his family moved to Texas, where he went to high school and then the University of Texas. He majored in English and mathematics and then went to graduate school in Scandinavian Studies and English. Gunnar Hansen will forever be remembered as "Leatherface" the original slasher from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). His first job out of high school was as a computer operator. Hansen was a graduate from the University of Texas - Austin. He did some theater work in college. In the summer of 1973 he heard that Tobe Hooper and others were in town and were doing a movie and decided to give it a try. After interviewing with Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel, the writer of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, he got the part of Leatherface the retarded killer. After Texas Chainsaw Massacre he tried to make a living as a writer. Gunnar worked as a magazine editor for a while and then wrote for a magazine for several years. He have written several screenplays one with his partner Gary Jones (director of Mosquito (1994)). Hansen has also written books and some film documentaries. Gunnar, who is originally from Iceland, also directed a documentary on Greenland. He also spent some time designing web pages for GTE.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Sujit R. Varma

Trade Mark (2)

His iconic role of Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974).
Towering height and rotund frame.

Trivia (11)

During the filming of the dinner scene towards the end of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Gunnar's character Leatherface was supposed to cut the finger of Marilyn Burns' character with a knife. Gunnar was having trouble working the fake-blood dispenser and was very fatigued by the heat and long hours of doing take after take, so unbeknown to everyone but him and Marilyn, he simply cut her for real, which is the take used in the film.
Was asked to reprise the role of Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), but declined, claiming that he was insulted by the idea of the original 1974 film, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), being remade.
Worked as a computer operator outside of high school.
After acting in the movie _Demon Lover, The (1977), he decided to quit acting and continue his dream of writing, but after being offered many jobs that he refused (including The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and Eaten Alive (1976)) he decided that he could both be an actor and a writer.
Said in a TV interview that he is so unlike his The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) character that when people who meet him learn that he played Leatherface, they often react in total shock.
Was a football player in high school; also worked as a bar-bouncer prior to acting.
Uncle of Kristin Hansen.
Shaved his beard off for the role of Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). He never shaved it off again.
Uses a chain saw in at least one movie every decade. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1988), Mosquito (1994) and Chainsaw Sally (2004).
Currently casting and re-writing the movie _Last Horror Picture Show, The". [November 2005]
Gunnar Hansen starred in the 1974 feature film that became a classic among horror-movie aficionados and spawned a series of sequels. In the film, friends visiting their grand-father's house are hunted by "Leatherface," a chain-saw wielding psychopath wearing a mask made of human skin. Hansen's character in the movie "is one of the most iconic evil figures in the history of cinema," his agent, Mike Eisenstadt told the Associated Press upon his death on Saturday, November 7th, 2015. In 2013, Gunnar Hansen published "Chain Saw Confidential," which gave readers a behind-the-scenes look at how the film was made. Hansen lived in Maine for approximately 40 years, where he was an actor and writer. Born in Reykjavik, Iceland, On March 4, 1947, Hansen moved with his family to Maine when he was 5 years old. Six years later, the family moved to Texas. As a 26-year-old graduate student at the University of Texas, Hansen heard about a horror movie being shot somewhere around Austin, Texas. At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds of body size, he had what it took to be the looming hulk of "Leatherneck," but director Tobe Hooper still had his doubts. Asked by Hooper if he was violent, Hansen replied no. Asked if he was crazy, he said, "Not in the way you mean." "And then," Hansen recalled in a 2004 interview, "he got this worried look and said, 'Can you do it?' And I said, 'Oh yeah, it's easy.' And Hooper said, 'OK, you've got the part.' " Over six weeks of filming more than 12 hours a day, Hansen's total pay was about $800. Hansen appeared in a few films afterwards, but he also made his living as a writer. He wrote a book about barrier islands from Texas to North Carolina, and scripted documentaries about the Maine coast and the state's Native Americans. Hansen's death was caused by pancreatic cancer, survived by Betty Tower, his partner of 13 years.

Personal Quotes (7)

[on The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)] I'm not totally enamored with the film. It is very, very good at what it is, a film that succeeds in really scaring the hell out of people. As to 'Chain Saw' being analogous to the breakdown of the American nuclear family and other lofty themes recently explored -- bunk! The movie was very effective because we broke some rules, a lot like Psycho (1960) did when the heroine is killed early in the film. There are no safe scenes in our film, no cuts or distractions to relieve the terror.
People have a very mistaken idea of me. They figure that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) was the biggest thing that ever happened to me, that I was just off somewhere being rich, famous, signing autographs. I get crank calls in the middle of the night, guys making chainsaw noises, "v-v-vroom, v-v-vroom!," and telling me chainsaw jokes.
[on being cast as Leatherface in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)] 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, when I met Hooper [Tobe Hooper] and writer Kim Henkel. They asked me three questions before they hired me. "Are you a violent person? Are you crazy?" When I replied, "No, not more so than normal," they finally asked, "Can you do it?" "Sure, it's easy," I said. They loved the fact that I filled the doorway. Tobe Hooper said, "We'll put high heels on you and make you a little bigger."
[on his perception of Leatherface] Homicidal, brutal, a simple personality, but he's a real freak, a retarded maniac.
[on the character of Leatherface] They defined the character for me as someone who was severely mentally retarded and severely mentally disturbed. The idea was that there was really nothing behind the mask and that's how the character was created. You could never unmask him like Darth Vader, because if you were to take the mask off there would be nothing there. That is why you see him wearing different masks at different times. That is how he presented himself, but killing was the only thing he knew.
Acting had never been what I intended to do. I moved back to Maine and decided to get serious about writing. This had always been my main interest, something I always wanted to focus my work on. I moved to a village on an island on the coast, where I figured I could hit those keys.
I'm really proud of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), but it's not the biggest thing I've ever done. As far as I'm concerned, it's not the most important thing in my life.

Salary (1)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) $800

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