Barely noticed this week amidst the buzz and glitter of the film industry’s 89th Academy Awards, and the ‘craziest Oscar moment of all time’, was the passing of one of Hollywood’s finest supporting actors over the last 30 years, Bill Paxton.
Paxton appeared in more than 60 movies, mainly in supporting character roles. Beginning his Hollywood career working in the art department, Bill Paxton made his on-screen debut in 1982 with a small speaking part in the Bill Murray comedy STRIPES. He went on to be a regular face in movies throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. His final role was in the upcoming Tom Hanks movie THE CIRCLE, set for release later this year.
Bill Paxton reliably brought an honest, ‘down on the farm’ earthiness to his roles, which I found appealing. It came as no surprise to learn he was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bill Paxton featured in four of my favourite James Cameron films –
TRUE LIES (1994)
Four years after appearing in TITANIC, he joined James Cameron on an expedition to the actual Titanic. A film about this trip, GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS, was released in 2003. Paxton also directed two feature films himself – FRAILTY (2001) and THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED (2005).
He passed away on February 25 from complications following surgery.
R.I.P. Bill Paxton.
*** Bonus Fact*** Bill Paxton was in the crowd when President John F. Kennedy emerged from the Hotel Texas on the morning of his assassination on November 22nd, 1963. Photographs of an eight year old Paxton being lifted above the crowd are on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas.