Marilyn Burns was born 7th May 1949, in Erie, Pennsylvania, and raised in Houston, Texas. She always had an interest in the arts. During seventh grade, she appeared in a musical production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In 1970, she made her first film appearance in the Robert Altman movie, Brewster McCloud (1970). She attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated from there with a degree in Drama in 1971.
Marilyn was then cast in Lovin’ Molly (1974) but was replaced by Susan Sarandon. She stayed on as a stand-in for Saradon and Blythe Danner. She also had a small part in George Roy Hill’s The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), where she helped cast some of the film’s extras.
Marilyn’s first lead role was in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, she played Sally Hardesty, a teenager who travels with her brother and some friends to the cemetery where her grandfather is buried to investigate reports of grave vandalism, and then encounters an insane, murderous family including the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface, played by Gunnar Hansen. The film was a massive hit, both critically and commercially, becoming one of the most successful independent films ever at the time.
After the success of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, she appeared in Hooper’s next film Eaten Alive opposite Mel Ferrer, Carolyn Jones and Robert Englund.
In 1976, Marilyn had a role in the television mini series Helter Skelter about the real-life trial of Charles Manson and several others. In the series, she played Linda Kasabian, a member of the Manson Family who was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony against the defendants. The mini series was nominated for three Emmy awards. Eileen Dietz who played The Demon In The Exorcist and one of Misty Moon’s Patrons also appeared in this film.
Recalling her memories of working on Helter Skelter, Marilyn said: “It was a great experience. But nobody really wanted to touch it, due to the subject matter. It was like, ‘Who wants to be in that picture? Who’s actually gonna do that picture?'”
Marilyn had a few roles in the 1980s Kiss Daddy Goodbye (1981), Future Kill (1985)) and had an uncredited cameo as her character from the original film, Sally Hardesty, in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994). She also made a cameo appearance, playing Verna Carson, in the sequel Texas Chainsaw 3D, which was released on January 2013.
Marilyn has been recently working on some new film projects. For more information on these project, click the links below that will take you to their websites.
Butcher Boys aka Boneboys is from the creator of the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Kim Henkel. It is released in selected cinemas in the US on Sept 6, 2013.
In A Madman’s World, Elmer Wayne Henley, Jr. and Dean Corll docudrama is about a 15 year old youth and the 30 year old man who terrorized Houston Texas from 1971-1973, the now infamous Henley, Corll Houston Torture Murder Case.
In Sacrament, leaving the city behind for a weekend of booze and bonding at the coast, 7 friends find themselves stranded en route to South Padre Island when a big storm interferes with their plans. The town of Middle Spring welcomes them with open arms, however located in the rhinestone buckle of the Bible Belt, it is not exactly as it seems to be.
Marilyn currently lives in Texas and is active in community theatre. Marilyn will be coming to Misty Moon to talk about her wonderful career.
Misty Moon Event
- An Evening With Marilyn Burns – 21st November 2013