An actress who starred in an unforgettable, albeit polarizing, 1974 cult movie — where she played the lone survivor of an attack by a chainsaw-wielding madman — has died. The New York Daily News reports the death of Marilyn Burns, known for her role as Sally, a would-be victim of Leatherface’s rampage in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
Burns died Tuesday at her home in Houston at 65, the story reports. Her cause of death was not disclosed.
In a statement obtained by E! News, a rep for Burns said Tuesday: “It is with sad news that I can officially confirm that actress Marilyn Burns passed away earlier today. She was found unresponsive by a family member this morning in her Houston, Texas-area home.”
The Daily News reports: “The Erie, Pa.-born Burns had been a drama student at the University of Texas when she landed the role of endangered would-be victim Sally Hardesty in ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ — largely because the low-budget horror flick was shooting in the state.
“Little did anyone involved in the production, director Tobe Hooper included, suspect it would be a landmark, spawning an entire genre of slasher copycats.”
Burns is quoted saying just a few days ago: “I wanted to be in the movie because I had gotten to appear in some movies before that and I’d take my friends to the screening and I’d be on the cutting room floor. When this came, I thought, ‘Oh gosh yes! This is great! You know? I might not get cut in this one!’ I remember watching it the very first time and saying,’I’m not cut yet! I’m not cut yet!’ That’s all I could think while watching it.
“I had to see it again to know what happened.”
The report adds: “Burns not only didn’t get cut from the film, she parlayed that success into more screaming in the ’70s. Among her credits are ‘Helter Skelter’ (1976), a TV movie about the Manson murders, and Hooper’s ‘Eaten Alive’ (1977). Burns also had cameos in 1994’s ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation’ and 2013’s ‘Texas Chainsaw 3D.'”