Burns was found dead in her Houston, Texas home by a family member on Tuesday (05Aug14), and her representative tells Tmz.com an autopsy will be conducted to determine the official cause of death.
Burns made her film debut in director Robert Altman's Brewster MCCloud while she was still attending the University of Texas at Austin, where she graduated with a drama degree in 1971.
However, it was her role as the sole survivor and heroine Sally Hardesty in the 1974 horror film that made her a cult superstar. She also made subsequent cameos in the 1994 and 2013 reboots of the popular franchise.
Burns also starred in 1977's Eaten Alive opposite Robert Englund and the 1976 Emmy-nominated miniseries Helter Skelter, about the real-life trial of Charles Manson.