Bill Paxton, the actor who was known for his roles in “Titanic,” “Twister,” and “Training Day,” passed away this morning, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, from complications due to surgery. The 61-year-old Texas native leaves behind his wife, Louise, and two children, James, and Lydia.
Born on May 17, 1955, in Fort Worth, Texas, Paxton started making films with his friends at the age of 17. He left for Los Angeles in 1973, where he befriended James Cameron. His new friend hired him to work for his art crew in the night department where Cameron was a production designer for Roger Corman’s New World Productions.
Paxton lived in LA for three years, but with little progress being made in his aspiring career as an actor he moved to New York. In the bustling city, he studied under the well-known acting teacher, Stella Adler. Three years later, in 1978, he returned to LA to once again pursue his dream. In 1981, he landed his first credited movie role in Bill Murray’s “Stripes.” It was in 1985, though, that he really started to make his mark. In the film, “Weird Science,” where he played the bullying older brother Chet, and Paxton began to become noticed.
The following year, Paxton starred in James Cameron’s “Aliens” as Private Hudson. The two worked together in other films such as the “Terminator,” 1984; “True Lies,” 1994; “Ghost of the Abyss,” 2003; and “Titanic,” 1997. Paxton described Cameron as a loyal friend in a 1998 interview.
In a statement to Vanity Fair, Cameron said of Paxton, the star of “Twister” and “Training Day” who passed away:
He took good care of his relationships with people, always caring and present for others. He was a good man, a great actor and a creative dynamo. I hope that amid the gaudy din of Oscar night, people will take a moment to remember this wonderful man, not just for all the hours of joy he brought to us with his vivid screen presence, but for the great human that he was. The world is a lesser place for his passing, and I will profoundly miss him.
Paxton was more than just an actor, he also directed and starred in 2001’s “Frailty.” He played Dad Meiks, the delusional murderous father in the thriller. In 2005 he directed the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” a historical golf movie.
In 2006, Paxton became part of the HBO family, taking on the role of a polygamist, Bill Henrickson, in the show, “Big Love.” The show ran until 2011. During that time, Paxton was nominated for three Golden Globes.
Paxton starred alongside Kevin Costner, in the History channel’s historical mini-series the “Hatfields & McCoys.” He played the McCoy patriarch, a role that earned him an Emmy nomination. He also played Sam Huston, in “Texas Rising” another History channel mini-series.
More recently, Paxton starred in Antoine Fuqua’s, “Training Day.” The CBS drama series takes place 15 years after 2001 film. Paxton played the character of the odious police officer, made famous by Denzel Washington. The series finished production in December and premiered on Feb. 2, 2017.
Paxton had recently completed filming “The Circle,” a film based on the book by Dave Eggars. He played Mae’s father. Mae was played by Emma Watson. The film also stars Tom Hanks and will be in theaters April 28, 2017.
Paxton, the star of “Twister” and “Training Day” who passed away, brought his craft to the world for four decades and entertained audiences both on the big screen and on television. Those who knew him, describe him as a kind and talented actor. He once spoke of how he had an underdog persona in the industry and how difficult it is reaching the top in Hollywood. Paxton will be missed and remembered as a talented actor.
By Jessica Hamel
Edited by Cathy Milne
Entertainment: Bill Paxton, star of Big Love, Aliens, and more, dies at 61
The Hollywood Reporter: Bill Paxton, ‘Aliens’ and ‘Twister’ Actor, Dies at 61
IMDb: Bill Paxton
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