At six-feet, five inches, R.A. Mihailoff is a bit intimidating. Put him in Leatherface makeup, as he appeared in “Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,” and he is downright terrifying.

That is all in the movies, however. Mihailoff has a wealth of life experience and education, with a quick wit and an easy sense of humor that belies his movie and television personas.

Mihailoff will be visiting Pineville Oct. 30-31 as part of the Halloween haunted house, located in the building between Rite Aid Pharmacy and Cook Memorial Baptist Church, from 7 until 10 p.m.

“I can’t wait to get to Pineville,” he said with an infectious laugh. “I’m going to cause a little trouble in your town.”

He began his acting career in the mid 1970s and was offered a lead role in West Virginia Theatre’s outdoor summer dramas, near Beckley. Instead, he took an acting role in Texas.

“I had been to West Virginia,” he recalled, “but I’d never been to Texas. I’ve wondered what would have happened if I’d taken the part in West Virginia.”

Mihailoff was raised in Townville, Pa., a very small railroad town 80 miles north of Pittsburgh. He went to work for the railroad just as many of his family members, but he’d done some plays in high school. The acting bug had bit, though Mihailoff worked in several trades before becoming a full-time actor.

There is no set system to becoming a successful actor, he explained.

“You don’t start at the bottom and work your way to the top,” he joked.

He did community theater at various locations while he worked days and ended up a “big fish in a small pond” in those places. He’d saved his money and decided he was ready for the big time — California.

It didn’t take long before Mihailoff learned, at least in California, he was a little fish in a very big pond of talented performers.

“I was doing theater with people who were on TV,” he said, “and we were all doing it for free. There is such a talent pool in California, a lot of people work for free.

“I was soon broke, but it was learning experience — a very hard learning experience.”

However, Mihailoff was making friends as he worked and an old buddy from USC was set to direct “Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.”

“We had remained friends over the years,” he recalled. “It goes back to that old saying, ‘It’s not what you know, but who you know.’

“It was the fulfillment of my childhood fantasy and my adult ambition,” he said, “playing the title character in a major horror film.”

Mihailoff has appeared in more than two dozen movies, along with television guest spots, and commercials.

He spends October traveling the country, doing guest appearances, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

“Now, I’m looking for the next big thing in horror characters,” he said. “I want to create my own character, first with books, then movies. I’m working on it; I want to own the character.

“If I had it to do over, I would have taken business classes along with the acting classes,” he noted. “That takes both talents.”

At age 56, Mihailoff believes he is “on bonus time.”

“I’m ready for my third act,” he joked.

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