Tobe Hooper, 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' and 'Poltergeist' Director, Dead at 74

Director Tobe Hooper dies

The director behind a series of horror classics died on Saturday.

Tobe Hooper, who directed the classic horror films The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist, has died, ET can confirm. He was 74 years old.

Rudy Molano, an investigator for the Los Angeles Coroner’s office, tells ET that Hooper died Saturday at 4:10 p.m. at a residence in Sherman Oaks, California.  

“It appears to have been a natural death," Molano says.

One of the most influential horror films of all time, the low-budget Texas Chain Saw Massacre of 1974 told a terrifying tale of rural, Texas-dwelling cannibals, including the chainsaw-wielding Leatherface. Despite being banned in several countries including the United Kingdom for its depiction of extreme violence, the movie was a box-office success, becoming one of the most profitable independent films of the 1970s.

Another horror classic directed by Hooper was 1982's Poltergeist, a haunting ghost story that starred JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson and was written and produced by Steven Spielberg.

Hooper also directed several other horror films including The Funhouse (1981), Lifeforce (1985), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986) and Night Terrors (1993). His 1979 CBS miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's Salem's Lot is also considered to be one of the most terrifying works aired on basic cable.