Marilyn Burns, an actress who was best known as the heroine of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” one of the most successful and influential horror movies of the 1970s, died on Tuesday at her home in the Houston area. She was 65.
The Harris County medical examiner’s office has not determined a cause of death.
Ms. Burns’s career included roles in horror films spanning 40 years, including “Eaten Alive” and“Kiss Daddy Goodbye.” She also appeared in“Texas Chainsaw 3D,” a box-office success in 2013, reflecting the continuing popularity of the franchise.
The 1974 film was made on a low budget with a cast of virtual unknowns and became a cult hit. Ms. Burns’s character was the only one to escape the rampage of the chain-saw-wielding maniac, Leatherface. The director, Tobe Hooper, went to make “Poltergeist” and other horror films.
In 1976, Ms. Burns appeared in the television movie “Helter Skelter” as one of Charles Manson’s followers.
She was born on May 7, 1949, in Erie, Pa., and grew up in Houston. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in drama.
Information about survivors was not immediately available.