Marilyn Burns, the star of Tobe Hooper’s essential 1974 horror THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE has died at the age of 65. She was discovered by a family member at home in Houston, Texas. The cause of death hasn’t been reported.
Burns made her big screen debut in the role that would canonise her. Sally Hardesty was the last surviving member her group, the film ending with her blood covered in the back of a pick-up truck wearing a smile halfway between relief and sheer terror. But perhaps the most iconic scene of Hooper’s is where Burns is forced to endure a meal with Leatherface and his twisted family, one that still holds up to scrutiny.
Continuing with the backwoods cult riff, Burns stared as Linda Kasabian, a member of the Manson family in 1976’s mini-series HELTER SKELTER. As well as teaming up with Hooper again for EATEN ALIVE (DEATH TRAP) in 1977, she went on to have cameos in both 1994’s TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE NEXT GENERATION and TEXAS CHAINSAW 3D in 2013.
While not an extensive filmography, Burns has had a profound effect on the genre, her performance as Sally still reverberating through the genre zeitgeist.
Our thoughts go out to her family and friends.
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