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'Scream queen' Marilyn Burns dies, survivor in 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'

By Alan Duke, CNN
updated 3:19 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
 Marilyn Burns (center) runs from
Marilyn Burns (center) runs from "Leatherface" in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (1974).
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Marilyn Burns was a college student when she landed her "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" role
  • Burns portrayed Charles Manson follower Linda Kasabian in TV's "Helter Skelter" mini-series
  • Her later career focused on stage productions in Texas
  • Moviefone named Burns one of the "10 Sexiest Scream Queens" in 2009

(CNN) -- Actress Marilyn Burns, a "scream queen" in the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," died Tuesday, her manager said. She was 64.

"She was found unresponsive by a family member" in her Houston-area home, manager Chris Roe said.

Burns' acting career began with a small role in Robert Altman's "Brewster McCloud," which was filmed in her hometown of Houston in 1970, according to her biography published in 2009 when she was inducted into the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival Hall of Fame.

She was a University of Texas student when she landed the role of Sally Hardesty, the sole survivor in the first "Chainsaw" film in 1974.

"Chainsaw" director Tobe Hooper also cast Burns in "Eaten Alive" in 1977. She played "a vacationer who unwittingly stumbles upon a hotel run by a madman who feeds his guests to his pet alligator," the biography said.

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Her other horror movie roles include "Brutes and Savages" (1977), "Caution: Children at Play" (1981), "Kiss Daddy Goodbye" (1981) and "Future-Kill" (1985).

Burns played a real-life character in the 1976 television miniseries "Helter Skelter." She portrayed Charles Manson follower Linda Kasabian, who testified against the cult leader and other members at their murder trial.

She was given a cameo role in the 1994 "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" remake, but her later career focused on stage productions in Texas.

Moviefone named Burns one of the "10 Sexiest Scream Queens" in a list published in 2009, citing her "vulnerability (and hotness, natch) feels as real as can be."

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CNN's Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

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