Sad news out of Hollywood today to read that actor Bill Paxton passed away yesterday at the age of 61. He passed away after complications from heart surgery.
A representative for his family released a statement asking for privacy and saying, “Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable.”
Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Paxton went to Hollywood when he was 18, and found work as a set dresser for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, working on films like “Big Bad Mama
” and “Eat My Dust
.” His first acting role was a small part in Jonathan Demme’s “Crazy Mama
” for Corman. Paxton then studied acting in New York under Stella Adler, and made films for “Saturday Night Live
” like “Fish Heads
,” based on the popular novelty song. Variety
Like many of my vintage Paxton was a familiar face and common fixture in a lot of fantastic cinema throughout our lives. He was a James Cameron regular on such hits as Terminator, Aliens and True Lies. We have all at some point in our lives said, "Game over, man. Game over". He nudged our fears of overbearing siblings as Chet in John Hughes' Weird Science. He only starred in one of the best vampire family movies ever, Kathryn Bigalow's Near Dark.
I wish I could speak to his more dramatic roles but as an individual who was always draw to the weird and wonderful world of genre cinema this is all that I can speak of in regards to Paxton. He would be recognized for his work in Big Love with Golden Globe nominations and SAG nominations for work as recent as 2013's Hatfields & McCoys. The depth of his talent was not just limited to the world of fantastic cinema.
Paxton was our 'every man'. No matter what role he played it was something you felt you could experience yourself, no matter how wild the story may have been. We could be Private Hudson, facing overwhelming odds and finding our fortitude. We could be storm chaser Bill Harding, pining for Helen Hunt while chasing tornadoes (maybe that was just me). We could be used car salesman Simon, though none of us would ever admit to having a tiny member, or that it is pathetic. The moral conundrum Frank had in Sam Raimi's A Simple Plan? Yeah, what would we do in Paxton's position?
Paxton could be everything to everybody. An astronaut, a lawman, a punk rocker, military officers too numerous to count, secret double agents, even a theme park owner.
Above everything, he will be missed.
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