American horror film actor and songwriter, David Hess, 69, died Saturday of a heart attack.
Hess is best remembered as Krug Stilo, the leader of a gang that kidnaps, rapes, and tortures two teenage girls in Wes Craven's classic slasher film Last House on the Left (1972). The actor's intense performance as an unrepentant serial killer in a small, idyllic town shocked audiences with gory, on-screen violence.
The actor's official Facebook page was updated today with a note from his children reading: It is with great sadness that we have said our last goodbyes to our beloved dad and friend to all. David passed away peacefully last night. The Mad Hessian lives on in his family, friends, and all of his devoted fans. Sing a song in celebration of his life.
Hess was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1942. He began his professional career as a songwriter for Shalimar Music in 1957, using the pseudonym of David Hill. He composed Start Movin' for Sal Mineo and Rockin' Shoes for the Ames Brothers. He continued to write songs for Elvis Presley through the 1950s and 1960s, including hits Come Along and Sand Castles. In 1963, Hess wrote and recorded Speedy Gonzalez for Pat Boone, which became a #6 hit single in the U.S. and a #2 hit in the UK.
Hess became head of A&R at Mercury Records in New York in 1969. At Mercury Records he met John Corigliano, the Western classical composer, and together they wrote the Grammy award-winning rock opera, The Naked Carmen.
In 1972, Hess dived into the film industry debuting in his starring role as Krug Stilo in Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, for which he also composed the soundtrack.
Hess had a number of other film credits to his name, including: Craven's Swamp Thing, Ruggero Deodato's House at the Edge of the Park and Body Count, and Ulli Lommel's Zodiac Killer and Zombie Nation. His last film was Smash Cut in 2009.
Watch the trailer of Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left (1972):