Leandra Ketchum

Written by Leandra Ketchum

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Source: Imdb.com

Gunnar Hansen was not just an ordinary celebrity. Known for his iconic role as Leatherface in the horror film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Hansen left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Beyond his portrayal of one of the most chilling characters in cinematic history, there are countless fascinating facts about this talented actor that many may not know.

In this article, we will delve into 22 mind-blowing facts about Gunnar Hansen. From his humble beginnings to his immense impact on the horror genre, prepare to be amazed by the life and career of this beloved celebrity. So, sit back, relax, and get ready to discover some intriguing details about the man behind Leatherface.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gunnar Hansen, known for his role as Leatherface, was a talented actor, writer, and advocate. His iconic portrayal in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” continues to inspire and terrify audiences worldwide.
  • Hansen’s warmth, versatility, and dedication to his craft left a lasting impact on the horror genre. His legacy as Leatherface and his contributions to entertainment will forever be remembered and celebrated.
Table of Contents

Gunnar Hansen was born on March 4, 1947, in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Gunnar Hansen, best known for his role as Leatherface in the horror film “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” was born in the beautiful city of Reykjavik, Iceland.

Hansen moved to the United States at a young age.

At the age of five, Gunnar Hansen and his family relocated to the United States, settling in Maine, where he spent his formative years.

He studied English and Scandinavian Studies at the University of Texas.

Gunnar Hansen pursued higher education at the University of Texas, focusing on English and Scandinavian Studies. Little did he know that his passion for storytelling would later lead him to his iconic role in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

Hansen auditioned for the role of Leatherface out of curiosity.

Curiosity got the better of Hansen when he came across an open audition for a horror film. Little did he know that the role he auditioned for would define his career and make him a horror icon.

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” was Hansen’s feature film debut.

Gunnar Hansen’s first major appearance on the silver screen was in Tobe Hooper’s horror masterpiece, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” which catapulted him to fame and sealed his status as a horror legend.

Hansen improvised most of his lines in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”

In order to add a genuine sense of fear and unpredictability to his character, Gunnar Hansen improvised many of his iconic lines as Leatherface. His chilling performance has since become a hallmark of the horror genre.

Hansen wore a real animal carcass as a mask in the film.

To enhance the authenticity of Leatherface’s character, Gunnar Hansen wore a mask made out of a real animal carcass during the filming of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.” This commitment to his role added an extra layer of terror to the movie.

Despite its controversial nature, the film was a box-office success.

“The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” faced considerable controversy due to its graphic content, but that did not stop it from becoming a massive success at the box office. The film grossed over $30 million globally, solidifying its place in horror history.

Hansen reprised his role as Leatherface in later “Texas Chainsaw” films.

Gunnar Hansen returned to the role that made him famous in later installments of the “Texas Chainsaw” franchise. His portrayal of Leatherface continued to terrify audiences and solidify his status as a horror icon.

Hansen was also a talented writer and published several books.

Besides his acting career, Gunnar Hansen was a prolific writer and authored several books, including “Chain Saw Confidential,” where he shared his experiences making “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and his journey in the entertainment industry.

He was a talented poet and member of The American Academy of Poets.

Gunnar Hansen’s creativity extended to poetry. He was a member of The American Academy of Poets, showcasing yet another facet of his artistic abilities.

Hansen appeared in a variety of films outside the horror genre.

Although best known for his role in the horror genre, Gunnar Hansen showcased his versatility as an actor by appearing in films spanning different genres, further highlighting his talent and range.

He had a passion for travel and exploring different cultures.

Gunnar Hansen’s thirst for adventure and cultural exploration took him to various parts of the world. His love for travel and experiencing new cultures was a testament to his adventurous spirit.

Hansen was a dedicated advocate for preserving the environment.

Beyond his artistic pursuits, Gunnar Hansen was actively involved in environmental causes and supported initiatives aimed at preserving the planet’s natural resources.

He was a popular figure at horror conventions.

Gunnar Hansen embraced his status as a horror icon and was a frequent guest at horror conventions. Fans eagerly flocked to meet him and get a glimpse of the man behind Leatherface.

Hansen had a love for literature and maintained a vast personal library.

A true bibliophile, Gunnar Hansen had an extensive personal library, reflecting his deep appreciation for literature and the written word.

He was known for his warmth and kindness towards fans.

Despite his on-screen portrayal of a terrifying character, Gunnar Hansen was known for his warm and approachable demeanor, always eager to connect with his fans and show appreciation for their support.

Hansen passed away on November 7, 2015, at the age of 68.

The world mourned the loss of this talented actor and beloved horror icon when Gunnar Hansen passed away. His legacy lives on in the hearts of fans worldwide.

His contribution to the horror genre will forever be remembered.

Gunnar Hansen’s portrayal of Leatherface in “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” left an indelible mark on the horror genre. His terrifying performance and dedication to his craft continue to inspire generations of horror filmmakers and actors.

Hansen’s iconic character has become a staple in pop culture.

Leatherface has transcended the world of cinema and become an enduring icon in pop culture. The mask-wearing, chainsaw-wielding killer continues to captivate audiences and inspire countless Halloween costumes.

Hansen’s extensive body of work continues to entertain and thrill audiences.

From his early days as Leatherface to his later ventures as an actor and writer, Gunnar Hansen’s body of work is a testament to his talent and dedication. His performances continue to captivate and entertain audiences around the world.

The legacy of Gunnar Hansen lives on.

Gunnar Hansen’s impact on the horror genre and his contributions to entertainment will forever be remembered. His name and iconic portrayal of Leatherface will remain a significant part of film history.


In conclusion, Gunnar Hansen was not only a talented actor and writer but also had a fascinating life filled with intriguing facts. From his iconic portrayal of Leatherface in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” to his passion for writing and his penchant for collecting rare books, Hansen left a lasting impact on the horror genre and the entertainment industry as a whole. His dedication to his craft and his love for the arts will forever be remembered by fans and colleagues alike. Gunnar Hansen’s contributions to film and literature will continue to captivate audiences and inspire future generations of artists.


Q: How did Gunnar Hansen get the role of Leatherface?

A: Gunnar Hansen landed the role of Leatherface in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” after attending an audition where he stood out among other candidates because of his tall frame and imposing presence.

Q: What other movies did Gunnar Hansen appear in?

A: Besides “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Gunnar Hansen also appeared in a number of other horror films, including “Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers,” “Mosquito,” and “Swarm of the Snakehead.

Q: Did Gunnar Hansen have any other talents besides acting?

A: Yes, besides acting, Gunnar Hansen was also a talented writer. He wrote several books, including “Islands at the Edge of Time” and “Chain Saw Confidential,” which detailed his experiences working on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”

Q: Was Gunnar Hansen involved in any charitable work?

A: Yes, Gunnar Hansen was actively involved in charitable work and was known for his efforts in supporting various causes, including those related to animal welfare and environmental conservation.

Q: What is Gunnar Hansen’s legacy?

A: Gunnar Hansen’s legacy is that of an iconic horror film actor who brought to life one of the most iconic characters in cinematic history. His portrayal of Leatherface cemented his place in the annals of horror cinema, and his passion for the arts continues to inspire aspiring actors and filmmakers.

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