Bill Paxton, Star Of ‘Titanic,’ ‘Aliens,’ Dies At 61

By February 26, 2017

Bill Paxton may not have had the biggest roles in Hollywood, but he certainly had the most memorable ranging from The Terminator to Apollo 13. But the actor died Saturday following complications from surgery. He was 61.

Paxton’s family announced the news in a statement to CNN and other news outlets.

“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.”

Although Paxton was best known for his film work like Titanic and Aliens, most of his accolades came with television, primarily with the HBO series tackling polygamy Big Love, which earned Paxton three Golden Globe nominations between 2007 and 2010. He earned his first Golden Globe in 1999 for A Bright Shining Lie, a war drama based on the true story of soldier John Paul Vann.

Paxton also earned an Emmy nod in 2012 for History’s Hatfields & McCoys, playing family patriarch Randolph McCoy.

William Paxton was born May 17, 1955, in Fort Worth, Texas. Paxton’s first touch of fame came when he was just 8 years old, and was part of the crowd who had gathered in Dallas to see President John F. Kennedy roll through. One of the more memorable pictures from that day – which ended in the assassination of the president – was a young Paxton being held above the crowd in order to see the president.

It was an image shared Sunday morning after the news of Paxton’s death by Texas Supreme Court judge Don Willett.

He earned a small part as a punk leader in 1984’s The Terminator against Arnold Schwarzenegger, beginning a relationship with director James Cameron that would continue through Aliens in 1986, True Lies in 1994, and Titanic in 1997. In fact, Paxton would join Cameron at the site of the actual Titanic as part of a 2003 documentary, Ghosts of the Abyss.

Before ending up in Titanic – which would become, at the time, the largest grossing film of all time – Paxton starred in Twister opposite Helen Hunt, which grossed $241.7 million domestically, and finished second in 1996 only to Independence Day.

His later roles would include a stint as John Garrett in the Marvel series Agents of SHIELD on ABC, and a starring role as Det. Frank Rourke in the new CBS series Training Day. It’s not clear how Training Day will handle the loss of one of its stars, just debuting earlier this this month.

Paxton was briefly married to Kelly Rowan in the late 1970s, but married Louise Newbury in 1987, who survives. He is survived by two children, including up-and-coming actor James Paxton, one of the stars of Eyewitness on USA network.

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Michael Hinman

Michael Hinman

Managing Editor at GeekNation
Michael began what has become nearly 19 years of entertainment reporting as the founder of SyFy Portal, which would become Airlock Alpha after he sold the SyFy brand to NBC Universal. He's based out of New York City where he is the editor of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper in the Bronx.