Bill Paxton

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Bill Paxton
Bill Paxton 2014 cropped retouched.jpg
Paxton at WonderCon 2014
Born William Paxton
(1955-05-17)May 17, 1955
Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.
Died February 25, 2017(2017-02-25) (aged 61)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Stroke
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
  • Actor
  • film director
Years active 1975–2017
  • Kelly Rowan (m. 1979; div. 1980)
  • Louise Newbury (m. 1987; his death 2017)
Children 2, including James Paxton

William "Bill" Paxton (May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017) was an American actor and film director. The films in which he appeared include The Terminator (1984), Weird Science (1985), Aliens (1986), Predator 2 (1990), True Lies (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Twister (1996), Titanic (1997), U-571 (2000), Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and Nightcrawler (2014). Paxton also starred in the HBO drama series Big Love (2006–2011). In 2013, he received an Emmy Award nomination for his performance in the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.

Early life

Paxton (the child seen raised above the crowd) before JFK emerges from Hotel Texas on November 22, 1963

Paxton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Mary Lou (née Gray) and John Lane Paxton. His father was a businessman, lumber wholesaler, museum executive, and occasional actor.[1] His mother was Roman Catholic, and he and his siblings were raised in her faith.[2] Paxton was in the crowd when President John F. Kennedy emerged from the Hotel Texas on the morning of his assassination on November 22, 1963. Photographs of an 8-year-old Paxton being lifted above the crowd are on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas.[3][4] On the Marc Maron podcast, Paxton revealed at the age of 13 he contracted rheumatic fever which had damaged his heart.[5][6] During his teens, Paxton worked as a paper delivery boy with Mike Muir.[7]


Among Paxton's earliest roles were a minor role as a punk thug in The Terminator (1984), a supporting role as the lead protagonist's bullying older brother Chet in John Hughes' Weird Science (1985), and Private Hudson in Aliens (1986).

He directed several short films, including the music video for Barnes & Barnes' novelty song "Fish Heads", which aired during Saturday Night Live's low-rated 1980–1981 season. He was cast in a music video for the 1982 Pat Benatar song "Shadows of the Night", in which he appeared as a Nazi radio officer.

Music career

Main article: Martini Ranch

In 1982, Paxton and his friend Andrew Todd Rosenthal formed a new wave musical band called Martini Ranch. The band released its only full-length album, Holy Cow, in 1988 on Sire Records.[8] The album was produced by Devo member Bob Casale and featured guest appearances by two other members of that band.[9] The music video for the band's single "Reach" was directed by James Cameron.[10]


Paxton worked with director James Cameron on True Lies (1994) and Titanic (1997), the latter of which was the highest-grossing film of all time at its release. In his other roles, Paxton played Morgan Earp in Tombstone (1993), Fred Haise in Apollo 13 (1995), the lead in Twister (1996), and lead roles in dark dramas such as One False Move (1992) and A Simple Plan (1998).


Paxton directed the feature films Frailty (2001), in which he starred, and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005).[11] Four years after appearing in Titanic, he joined Cameron on an expedition to the actual Titanic. A film about this trip, Ghosts of the Abyss, was released in 2003.[11] He also appeared in the music video for Limp Bizkit's 2003 song "Eat You Alive" as a sheriff.

His highest profile television performances received much positive attention, including his lead role in HBO's Big Love (2006–2011), for which Paxton received three Golden Globe Award nominations. Paxton also received good reviews for his performance in the History Channel's miniseries Hatfields & McCoys (2012), for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award, alongside co-star Kevin Costner.

In 2014, he played the role of the villainous John Garrett in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and a supporting role in Edge of Tomorrow (2014).[11] He starred alongside Jon Bernthal, Rose McGowan, and John Malkovich as a playable character in the 2014 video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (downloadable "Exo Zombies" mode).[12] In February 2016, Paxton was cast as Detective Frank Roarke for Training Day, a crime-thriller television series set 15 years after the events of the eponymous 2001 movie; it premiered a year later.[13]

Personal life

Paxton was married from 1979 to 1980 to Kelly Rowan. In 1987, he married Louise Newbury; together, they had two children, James and Lydia.[14]

In February 2017, a few weeks prior to having cardiac surgery, and ultimately his death, Paxton stated in an interview with Marc Maron that he had a damaged heart valve, the result of suffering from rheumatic fever in his youth.[15]


On February 25, 2017, Paxton died at the age of 61 from complications following heart surgery.[16][17] A representative for the family released the following statement to the press on February 26:

It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery. 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.[18]

Paxton's cause of death was a stroke resulting from complications from his heart and aorta surgery that he underwent on February 14, 2017.[19]

He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park.



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1975 Crazy Mama John Uncredited [20]
1981 Stripes Soldier [11]
1982 Night Warning Eddie [21]
1983 Taking Tiger Mountain Billy Hampton [22]
1983 Lords of Discipline, TheThe Lords of Discipline Gilbreath [11]
1983 Mortuary Paul Andrews [11]
1984 Streets of Fire Clyde the Bartender [11]
1984 Impulse Eddie [11]
1984 Terminator, TheThe Terminator Punk Leader [11]
1985 Weird Science Chet Donnelly [11]
1985 Commando Intercept Officer [11]
1986 Aliens Private William Hudson [11]
1987 Near Dark Severen [11]
1988 Pass the Ammo Jesse Wilkes [11]
1989 Slipstream Matt Owens [11]
1989 Next of Kin Gerald Gates [11]
1989 Back to Back Bo Brand [11]
1990 Brain Dead Jim Reston [11]
1990 Last of the Finest, TheThe Last of the Finest Howard 'Hojo' Jones [11]
1990 Navy SEALs Dane [11]
1990 Predator 2 Jerry Lambert [11]
1991 Dark Backward, TheThe Dark Backward Gus [11]
1992 Vagrant, TheThe Vagrant Graham Krakowski [11]
1992 One False Move Dale 'Hurricane' Dixon [11]
1992 Trespass Vince [11]
1993 Monolith Tucker [11]
1993 Indian Summer Jack Belston [11]
1993 Boxing Helena Ray O'Malley [11]
1993 Tombstone Morgan Earp [11]
1994 True Lies Simon [11]
1994 Frank and Jesse Frank James [11]
1994 Future Shock Vince [11]
1995 Last Supper, TheThe Last Supper Zachary Cody [11]
1995 Apollo 13 Fred Haise [11]
1996 Twister Bill "The Extreme" Harding [11]
1996 Evening Star, TheThe Evening Star Jerry Bruckner [11]
1997 Traveller Bokky [11]
1997 Titanic Brock Lovett [11]
1998 Simple Plan, AA Simple Plan Hank [11]
1998 Mighty Joe Young Professor Gregory O'Hara [11]
2000 U-571 Lieutenant Commander Mike Dahlgren [11]
2000 Vertical Limit Elliot Vaughn [11]
2001 Frailty Dad Meiks Also director [11]
2002 Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams Dinky Winks [11]
2003 Ghosts of the Abyss Himself/Narrator [11]
2003 Resistance Major Theodore 'Ted' Brice [23]
2003 Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Dinky Winks [11]
2004 Club Dread Coconut Pete [11]
2004 Thunderbirds Jeff Tracy [11]
2004 Haven Carl Ridley [24]
2005 Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Edgar Mitchell Short film [25]
2005 Greatest Game Ever Played, TheThe Greatest Game Ever Played Director [11]
2007 Good Life, TheThe Good Life Robbie [11]
2011 Haywire John Kane [11]
2012 Shanghai Calling Donald [26]
2013 The Colony Mason [11]
2013 2 Guns Earl [11]
2013 Red Wing Jim Verret [11]
2014 Million Dollar Arm Tom House [11]
2014 Edge of Tomorrow Master Sergeant Farell [11]
2014 Nightcrawler Joe Loder [11]
2015 Pixies Eddie Beck Voice role
2016 Term Life Detective Keenan [11]
2016 Mean Dreams Wayne Caraway [11]
2017 The Circle Vinnie Posthumous release [11]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1983 Deadly Lessons Eddie Fox Movie [11]
1985 Early Frost, AnAn Early Frost Bob Maracek Movie [11]
1985 The Atlanta Child Murders Campbell Movie [11]
1986 Fresno Billy Joe Bobb Miniseries (4 episodes) [11]
1986 Miami Vice Detective Vic Romano Episode: "Streetwise" [27]
1987 The Hitchhiker Trout Episode: "Made for Each Other" [1]
1993 Tales from the Crypt Billy DeLuca Episode: "People Who Live in Brass Hearses" [27]
1998 Bright Shining Lie, AA Bright Shining Lie John Paul Vann Movie [11]
2003 Frasier Ernie Episode: "Analyzed Kiss" [27]
2006–11 Big Love Bill Henrickson Lead role (53 episodes) [28]
2012 Hatfields & McCoys Randolph McCoy 3 episodes [28]
2013 JFK: The Day That Changed Everything Narrator Documentary [29]
2014 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 1 John Garrett 6 episodes [27]
2015 Texas Rising Sam Houston Miniseries [30][31]
2015 The Gamechangers Jack Thompson Movie [32]
2017 Training Day Detective Frank Roarke Lead role (7 episodes) [27]
2017 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. - Season 4 John Garrett Photograph;
Episode: "All the Madame's Men";
Poshumous Role.

Music videos

Year Title Artist Role Notes Ref.
1980 "Fish Heads" Barnes & Barnes Main character Director [34]
1982 "Shadows of the Night" Pat Benatar Nazi officer [1]
1987 "Touched by the Hand of God" New Order [35]
1988 "Reach" Martini Ranch Main character [1]
2003 "Eat You Alive" Limp Bizkit Sheriff [1]

Video game

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Kahn Exo Zombies [12]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Title Result Ref.
1987 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Aliens Won [36]
1995 CableACE Awards Best Actor in a Dramatic Series Tales from the Crypt Nominated [37]
1996 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Apollo 13 Won [38]
1998 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Titanic Nominated [39]
1999 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film A Bright Shining Lie Nominated [40]
2003 Saturn Awards Best Director Frailty Nominated [41]
2006 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Big Love Nominated [42]
2007 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Big Love Nominated [43]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Big Love Nominated [40]
2008 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Big Love Nominated [40]
2009 Satellite Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Big Love Nominated [44]
2010 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Big Love Nominated [40]
2012 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie Hatfields & McCoys Nominated [45]
2013 Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Hatfields & McCoys Nominated [46]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Bill Paxton Biography". Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ Spitznagel, Eric (January 8, 2010). "Bill Paxton Can Defend Polygamy, But He Can't Defend Sarah Palin". Retrieved July 19, 2015. 
  3. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (March 28, 2007). "The Day Bill Paxton Saw John F. Kennedy". Dallas Observer Blogs. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  4. ^ DiBlasi, Loren (May 25, 2012). "Live With Kelly: Bill Paxton 'Hatfields & McCoys' Interview". Recapo. Retrieved May 27, 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Pearis, Bill. "Bill Paxton, RIP". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  9. ^ "Holy Cow – Martini Ranch | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  10. ^ Peters, Mitchell. "Remembering Bill Paxton's 1980s New Wave Band Martini Ranch". Billboard. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm "Filmography for Bill Paxton". 
  12. ^ a b "Zadzooks: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Havoc – Exo Zombies review". The Washington Times. Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  13. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 26, 2016). "Bill Paxton To Star In 'Training Day' Pilot". Deadline. Retrieved January 6, 2017. 
  14. ^ McCann, Erin (26 February 2017). "Bill Paxton, Star of 'Big Love' and Action Blockbusters, Dies at 61". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "Bill Paxton's Secret Health Battle — What Was Wrong with His Heart?". 
  16. ^ "Actor Bill Paxton Dead at 61 Due to Complications from Surgery". Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  17. ^ Gilbey, Ryan (February 27, 2017). "Bill Paxton obituary" – via The Guardian. 
  18. ^ CNN, Holly Yan and Amanda Jackson. "Bill Paxton, actor in 'Twister' and 'Aliens,' dies at 61". Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  19. ^ Bill Paxton Died Of Stroke Following Surgery – Update March 6, 2017.
  20. ^ Saperstein, Pat; Lang, Brent (February 26, 2017). "Bill Paxton, 'Titanic' and 'Big Love' Star, Dies at 61". 
  21. ^ Night Warning (cast & crew) at AllMovie
  22. ^ Lin, Kristian (September 28, 2011). ""Taking Tiger Mountain" in Dallas". 
  23. ^ Resistance (cast & crew) at AllMovie
  24. ^ "Plots and Personalities Collide on a Tropical Island". The New York Times. September 15, 2006. 
  25. ^ Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D (cast & crew) at AllMovie
  26. ^ Lee, Maggie. "Shanghai Calling". Variety
  27. ^ a b c d e Campbell, Tina (February 26, 2017). "Aliens actor Bill Paxton dead at 61 from heart failure". 
  28. ^ a b Mccann, Erin (February 26, 2017). "Bill Paxton, Star of 'Big Love' and Action Blockbusters, Dies at 61" – via 
  29. ^ "Muere el actor Bill Paxton tras ser operado del corazón". Univision. 
  30. ^ "Cynthia Addai-Robinson Lands Lead In History's Texas Rangers Miniseries". Deadline. Retrieved March 18, 2014. 
  31. ^ Goldberg, Lesley. "Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser Among History's All-Star 'Texas Rising' Cast". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 12, 2014. 
  32. ^ Makuch, Eddie (April 22, 2015). "GTA Drama Casts Daniel Radcliffe and Bill Paxton". Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  33. ^ [1][2]
  34. ^ Adams, Sam (February 26, 2017). "Aliens, Big Love Actor Bill Paxton Is Dead at 61" – via Slate. 
  35. ^ "New Order + Joy Division". 
  36. ^ "Saturn Awards". Archived from the original on October 12, 2004. 
  37. ^ Carmody, John (1994-11-04). "The TV Column: [Final Edition]". The Washington Post. p. F06. 
  38. ^ Kagan, Jeremy, ed. (2013). "Appendix B". Directors close up 2 : interviews with directors nominated for best film by the Directors Guild of America : 2006–2012 (illustrated ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 348. ISBN 9780810883918. 
  39. ^ "The 4th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards — Screen Actors Guild Awards". 
  40. ^ a b c d "Bill Paxton". Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Retrieved February 26, 2017. 
  41. ^ "Saturn Awards Nominations". Archived from the original on October 12, 2004. 
  42. ^ "11th Satellite Awards — FilmAffinity". 
  43. ^ "12th Satellite Awards — FilmAffinity". 
  44. ^ "2009 — Categories — International Press Academy". 
  45. ^ "Nominations Search". 
  46. ^ "Nominations Announced for the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® — Screen Actors Guild Awards". 

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