R.I.P. Bill Paxton

What seemed at first to be a cruel rumor over the weekend is now sadly confirmed as true. Actor Bill Paxton died on Saturday. No, not the President from ‘Independence Day’ – the other guy, the one from ‘Aliens’.

I kid, of course. Film fans have long joked about confusing Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman. Even though the two actors don’t particularly look or sound alike (other than both being white guys of about the same age), they have similar-sounding names and a fair amount of crossover in the types of movies they’ve each made, even both appearing together in the 1990 horror flick ‘Brain Dead’.

Bill Paxton played numerous memorable film roles since his start as a young actor in the early 1980s. He had bit parts in ‘Stripes‘ and ‘The Terminator‘ before his first big breakout role as Chet, the butthead older brother in John Hughes’ 1985 comedy ‘Weird Science‘. He and James Cameron both started out in the Roger Corman B-movie factory. After ‘The Terminator’, Cameron gave him a lot more screen time in the 1986 blockbuster ‘Aliens‘, in which Paxton’s character, the brash Pvt. Hudson, blurted the iconic line, “Game over, man! Game over!” Undoubtedly, that quote has been over-shared on social media the past couple of days.

Paxton and Cameron would reteam again in ‘True Lies’ and ‘Titanic‘. Among the many other notable characters Paxton played were a redneck vampire in Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Near Dark‘, a desperate astronaut in ‘Apollo 13‘, a daredevil tornado chaser in ‘Twister‘ and, recently, a gruff military sergeant in ‘Edge of Tomorrow‘.

On television, he led the cast of HBO’s acclaimed polygamy drama ‘Big Love’ for five seasons, received an Emmy nomination for the ‘Hatfields & McCoys‘ miniseries, had an important story arc in the first season of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’, and just this very month launched a TV spinoff of ‘Training Day’ on CBS.

Paxton even tried his hand at directing a couple times. His 2001 horror drama ‘Frailty‘ is severely underrated.

At present, the only details available about the actor’s death are that it resulted from complications with heart surgery. He was 61-years-old.

[Source: Variety]

11 comments

  1. merlich

    I watched “True Lies” again last night. Paxton’s performance as a used-car salesman was truly hilarious. He was good in everything he appeared in. I also admired him because, unlike many other Hollywood personalities, he kept his political views to himself. I will miss him.

    • Timcharger

      I doubt this is true:
      “I also admired him because… he kept his political views to himself.”

      While it is true that you despise celebrities voicing different political opinions than yours, I suspect It isn’t the voicing, but the difference in view that bothers you. I could be wrong. Maybe you can name all the vocal celebrities that share your politics, that you now despise.

      • DarkMonk

        It is notable for actors to keep their politics to themselves- and also smart. By airing your politics (whatever side you are on) – you will alienate 50% of your audience…and that ain’t smart. And terrible for business. The Oscars saw only 10% of the country tune in (one of the lowest ratings ever) largely because of the politics.

        • Josh Zyber
          Author

          If people didn’t watch the broadcast, how did they know politics were discussed? What evidence do you have that the show’s lower ratings were “largely because of the politics”?

          I know that we live in a time where facts don’t hold as much sway with people as they should. Nevertheless, the fact is that ratings for the Oscar telecast have traditionally correlated to the popularity of the movies that are expected to win. If people haven’t seen movies like Moonlight, or La La Land, or Manchester by the Sea, they don’t bother to watch the award show giving out trophies to those movies.

          The majority of movies nominated for Best Picture this year never had distribution outside of major metropolitan areas. People simply haven’t seen them, and thus don’t care whether they win awards or not.

        • Timcharger

          “10% of the country” watched the Oscars. Did you do that calculation yourself? Or are you repeating it, from some source that has a goal of misleading you?

          The Oscars is the 2nd most watched broadcast in the U.S. Based on total population, the 1st most watched, the Super Bowl, means that 2/3rds of the country DIDN’T tune it.

          Ratings are never based on total population. It is based on share of viewers and total viewers.

          Basing things on total population means that President Joffrey got less than 20% of the country.

          —–

          And these “good for business” comments are NOT from financial advisors who care about a celebrity’s finances. Really? They care so much that these millionaires maximize their business interests?

          They know that Hollywood by making movies shedding light on the racism Jackie Robinson received, discrimination AIDS victims received, the bullying that… etc, Hollywood has and will continue to slowly change our culture. And they fear it.

  2. Timcharger

    Josh: “the 1986 blockbuster ‘Aliens‘, in which Paxton’s character, the brash Pvt. Hudson, blurted the iconic line, “Game over, man! Game over!””

    How much back-and-forth did you have about using that in the title of this write-up? I say the over-under on you repeatedly typing and deleting it, is 3 times.

      • Timcharger

        Yes, yes, I ultimately agree with the disrespectful part. Hence, my deleting-it and the back-and-forth apprehension comments.

        Josh: “…I THOUGHT it would…”

        I take the past tense of that word as evidence that you entertained the pun. I have no evidence of the evil grin that was on your face though.

      • From everything I’ve heard/read about Bill over the years, he would have totally been fine with “Game over.”

        I remember DeForest Kelley once saying “He’s dead Jim” would probably be on his tombstone.

  3. Timcharger

    Interesting to read that through Twister, Paxton inspired a generation of meteorologists. Google “Paxton storm tribute.”

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