Bill Paxton, the actor famed for his roles in such films as Aliens and Titanic, passed away yesterday after complications arose during a surgery procedure. He was 61. (via BBC).
Known by many as the excavating captain on the hunt for the Heart of the Ocean in James Cameron’s Titanic, Paxton was one of Hollywood’s best and most hard-working actors who had most recently worked on the Training Day television series. In a statement, his family said:
“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker.
“Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”
Aside from Titanic, Paxton worked with Cameron on The Terminator, True Lies and sci-fi sequel Aliens here he played Hicks, perhaps his signature role. He was also famed for his performances in Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark and Jan de Bont blockbuster Twister, in which he starred alongside Helen Hunt.
He has also starred in the hit television show Big Love and also made the leap into directing with underrated thriller Frailty, which co-starred Matthew McConaughey.
James Cameron had this to say on his passing:
“I’ve been reeling from this for the past half hour, trying to wrap my mind and heart around it. Bill leaves such a void. He and I were close friends for 36 years, since we met on the set of a Roger Corman ultra-low budget movie. He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying “Paint that!” We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends. What followed was 36 years of making films together, helping develop each others projects, going on scuba diving trips together, watching each others kids growing up, even diving the Titanic wreck together in Russian subs. It was a friendship of laughter, adventure, love of cinema, and mutual respect. Bill wrote beautiful heartfelt and thoughtful letters, an anachronism in this age of digital shorthand. 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.”
Arnold Schwarzenegger, who co-starred in The Terminator and True Lies, said:
“Bill Paxton could play any role, but he was best at being Bill – a great human being with a huge heart. My thoughts are with his family.”
He will be sorely missed.