When Bill Paxton died on February 25 from complications following heart surgery, Hollywood lost not only one of its most respected actors, but one of its most well liked. “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,” noted director James Cameron, a longtime friend of the performer. The two met while working on a low-budget Roger Corman film, and would go on to collaborate frequently; after a bit part in THE TERMINATOR, Paxton played larger roles in ALIENS (his panic-stricken cry of “Game over, man!” being one of the movies most quotable lines), TRUE LIES and TITANIC.
Other recurring characters in the actor’s filmography include Lance Henriksen, an ALIENS costar who also appears in Kathryn Bigelow’s NEAR DARK (as Paxton once recalled, "She called Jim up and said, 'Would you be mad if I cannibalized some of your cast?'”). For his directorial debut FRAILTY, Paxton tapped TOMBSTONE costar Powers Boothe for a key role. Billy Bob Thornton was paired with Paxton in two taut crime thrillers: A SIMPLE PLAN and ONE FALSE MOVE. The latter film made strong impressions on both Ron Howard and Jan De Bont, who cast Paxton in APOLLO 13 and TWISTER, respectively.
Recent years have brought equally noteworthy television credits, including starring roles in the HBO series “Big Love” and the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, which earned the actor an Emmy nomination. Though gone too soon, Bill Paxton left a long screen legacy that will continue to entertain audiences for many years to come.
Series compiled by Grant Moninger. Program notes by John Hagelston.