Facts about Bill Paxton
Bill Paxton Biography
Bill Paxton was a popular character actor and then leading man in a four-decade career that lasted until his untimely death in 2017.
Born and raised in Texas, Bill Paxton took an unusual career path: he moved to Hollywood in 1973, at age 18, and began working as a gofer and art department assistant. (An early employer was James Cameron, then a production designer but later an Oscar-winning director.) But in 1976 he moved to New York City to take classes from famed acting coach Stella Adler; two years later he returned to Hollywood determined to make it as an actor.
Sturdy and good-looking, but never exactly leading-man handsome, Paxton built a career as a character actor and villain, starting with his role as the evil older brother in the 1985 sci-fi comedy Weird Science. 10 years later he played astronaut Fred Haise in Apollo 13 (1995) and had a leading man role in the tornado-loving action film Twister (1996, with Helen Hunt). Other key films included Predator 2 (1990) and Tombstone (1993, with Kurt Russell).
He remained friends with James Cameron and appeared in Cameron’s films The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986, with Sigourney Weaver), True Lies (1994, with Arnold Schwarzenegger), Titanic (1996) and Ghosts of the Abyss (2003).
Paxton was 51 when he won the lead in the HBO series Big Love. He played Bill Henrickson, a polygamist trying to juggle life with three wives (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ginnifer Goodwin and Chloë Sevigny). The highly-praised series ran from 2006-2011 and gave Paxton a long run in a starring role. He was later Emmy-nominated for the miniseries The Hatfields and the McCoys (he was a McCoy), and at the time of his death in 2017 he had just completed filming on the first season of the TV series Training Day.
“It is with heavy hearts we share the news that Bill Paxton has passed away due to complications from surgery,” his family said in a statement shortly after his death.
Bill Paxton was married twice: first to Kelly Rowan beginning about 1979, and then to Louise Newbury from 1987 until his death. According to a 1998 profile of Paxton in The Los Angeles Times, “When he was 24, he ran into a girlfriend from Texas he hadn’t seen in five years and asked her to marry him. The marriage ended fewer than three years later, according to Paxton, when his wife got tired of waiting for his Hollywood dreams to come true.” According to the same profile: “He also met his current wife, Louise, while the film was shooting in London. She was 17 and headed to the orthodontist. He chased the bus she was riding on until he caught her.” He had two children with Louise; one is the actor James Paxton (b. 1994)… As an 8-year-old, Bill Paxton went to see President John F. Kennedy speak in Fort Worth, hours before Kennedy was killed in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
Something in Common with Bill Paxton
- Actors born in Texas (42)