News of Bill Paxton’s sudden passing at 61 sent shockwaves though Hollywood. The four-time Golden Globe nominee was an artist who easily straddled character and leading roles in an eclectic career which spanned four decades. Above all he was moved by the passion for film making, as an actor in film and television as well as a director.
His film work began in the eighties with roles including a supporting one in James Cameron’s The Terminator (1984). He would work with Cameron again in Aliens (1986) and Titanic (1997). His range allowed him to leave his mark on John Hughes comedies like Weird Science (1985) as well as the action/disaster hit Twister (1996). He starred alongside Tom Hanks as astronaut Fred Haise in Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 (1995).
In television his work ranged from classic eighties shows like Miami Vice and Frasier, miniseries like the Golden Globe-nominated Hatfield & McCoys (2013), Agents of Shield and Big Love. That HBO series garnered him three Best Actor Golden Globes nominations (in 2007, 2008 an 2010).
In 2002 when the HFPA spoke to him about Frailty, which he had directed, he summed it up: “I came up as you guys know, as a character actor in movies like True Lies and Weird Science and Aliens but as a leading man I’ve played a lot of these guys kind of from the heartland of the…of the US, who have these conflicts and I think this milieu has given me the opportunity to probably play my most three-dimensional characters.
Equally at home at Hollywood awards and on the set of passionate indie projects above all he always transmitted an infectious, easy Texas manner and was unfailingly gracious in his interactions with fans and journalists alike. For that we will always miss him and remember him.