Marilyn Burns, actress in ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,’ dead at 65

Actress Marilyn Burns, who starred in the 1970s film “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and TV movie “Helter Skelter,” died Tuesday. She was 65.

Burns’ manager said Wednesday that she died at her Houston-area home and that the cause of her death remains unknown.

The actress’ career spanned four decades, which included a role in the 2013 film “Texas Chainsaw 3D.”

In a 1974 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Burns described working on the set of the original film, which is considered a classic in the horror genre.


Burns, who attended the University of Texas at Austin, was working for the Texas Film Commission when she got the role.

She said the dinner scenes featuring a table strewn with dead animals and human teeth turned the stomachs of the cast, as well as audiences.

“After many long hours out of the refrigerator, each had its own distinct odor,” she explained of the cow, dog, cat and deer carcasses. When a dinner break was called in the early morning, she said, “not many made it. We were down the road violently ill.”

Burns added that she did not fare much better in the final days of filming. She was variously drenched in Karo syrup, glycerin, red paint, vegetable coloring and Hershey’s chocolate syrup.


“I was avoided by cast and crew but very popular with bees, wasps and flies,” she said.

Chris Roe, who worked as Burns’ manager for eight years, called her “one of the most happiest, upbeat human beings I’ve ever known in my life.”

“She paved the way for many great women who played huge roles in horror films,” he said.

Roe added that Burns’ family “thanks everyone for all their love and support, and asks for privacy at this time.”

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