Actor Bill Paxton, Who Starred in ‘Apollo 13,’ ‘Aliens’ and ‘Titanic’ Dies at 61

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Bill Paxton, the versatile actor who appeared in “Apollo 13,” “Twister” and “Titanic” has died from surgery complications, his family said in a statement.

Actor Bill Paxton arrives at the CBS, CW, Showtime Summer TCA Party at Pacific Design Center on Aug. 10, 2016 in West Hollywood. (Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)
Actor Bill Paxton arrives at the CBS, CW, Showtime Summer TCA Party at Pacific Design Center on Aug. 10, 2016 in West Hollywood. (Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

He was 61.

In a statement, a family representative called Paxton 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,” the statement reads. “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.”

Paxton was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1955. He accidentally entered the national spotlight at age 8, when he went to see President John F. Kennedy visit Dallas on November 22, 1963.

A photo of Paxton hoisted above the crowd became a famous photo from the day of Kennedy’s assassination.
Texas Supreme Court Judge Don Willett shared the photo and called Paxton a “good guy, great actor and proud Texan.”

Paxton to Los Angeles at 18, according to IMDB.

He appeared in his first film in 1975 and moved to New York where he studied acting.

Paxton landed a small role in James Cameron’s “The Terminator” in 1984 and followed that up with the memorable role as Private Hudson in “Aliens” two years later, according to IMDB.

He went on to appear in such movies as “Tombstone,” and “True Lies” before starring in “Apollo 13” in 1995 alongside Kevin Bacon and Tom Hanks.

Paxton played the head of a polygamous family in HBO’s “Big Love” for five seasons and his death came in the middle of his first season as Detective Frank Rourke in the TV adaptation of, “Training Day.”

But the entire season’s episodes were already completed in December, CBS said Sunday.

It was not immediately clear what will happen to the series.

“We are shocked and deeply saddened this morning by the news of Bill Paxton’s passing,” CBS and Warner Bros. Television said in a joint statement. “All of us here offer our deepest sympathy to his wife, Louise, and his two children.”

Paxton was also in the upcoming movie “The Circle,” which is in post-production, according to IMDB.

Paxton was nominated for several Golden Globes, an Emmy and won a Screen Actor’s Guild Award as part of the cast of “Apollo 13,” according to IMDB.

But Paxton said he always wanted to make films, not just act in them.

“I’ve kind of modeled myself as a filmmaker/actor,” he told CNN’s Larry King after directing “The Greatest Game Ever Played” in 2005. “That was always my dream, to make films.”

Paxton is survived by his wife and two children.

Moments after news of Paxton’s death broke, social media lit up with tributes to the prolific actor.

Tom Hanks tweeted that Paxton was “Simply a wonderful man.”

Ron Howard, who directed “Apollo 13,” tweeted “We’ll miss the hell out of U Bill.”

Jamie Lee Curtis, who co-starred in “True Lies” with Paxton shared that he was “such a funny, talented, loving human.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who famously starred in “The Terminator,” said his costar’s best role wasn’t actually on camera.

“Bill Paxton could play any role, but he was best at being Bill — a great human being with a huge heart,” Schwarzenegger tweeted.

Actor Rob Lowe called Paxton a dear friend and “Renaissance man.” “Devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business, Bill Paxton,” Lowe tweeted.

Screenwriter Brian Lynch said Paxton was also a talented director.

“RIP Bill Paxton. great in everything, was the highlight of every movie he was in,” Lynch tweeted. “Underrated director too.”

Actor Aaron Paul, who appeared with Paxton in “Big Love,” tweeted that his fellow actor was “one of the greatest guys that I have ever met.”

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