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Actor Bill Paxton Dies At 61

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Bill Paxton at the 48th NAACP Image Awards on February 11, 2017 (Getty Images)
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Actor Bill Paxton, whose everyman appeal saw him in a diverse range of roles from a treasure hunter in Titanic to a bigamist in Big Love, a fatalistic tech in Aliens to a veteran LAPD detective in the TV adaptation of Training Day, passed away yesterday at age 61. According to TMZ, he "underwent heart surgery and had complications post-op and suffered a fatal stroke."

His family issued a statement, “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."

Paxton was currently starring in Training Day on CBS. He had appeared at the NAACP Awards earlier this month with co-star Justin Cornwell. He was also on the Late Late Show with James Corden, revealing his celebrity crush:

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From Rolling Stone's obituary:

Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1955, Paxton's start in Hollywood came behind the camera as a filmmaker before appearing in small roles in films like Stripes, Commando and The Terminator in the first half of the Eighties. Before achieving marquee status in blockbusters like Apollo 13 and Twister, Paxton managed to transform his secondary roles into memorable turns, like his obnoxious older brother in Weird Science, his gabby police officer in Predator 2, the marine Hudson in Aliens and a sinister vampire in Near Dark.

After appearing in a bit part as a punk in The Terminator, Paxton became a favorite of director James Cameron, appearing in small-but-memorable roles in that filmmaker's Aliens, True Lies, Titanic and the documentary Ghosts in the Abyss.
Following roles in Tombstone, Trespass and Frank and Jesse, Paxton was cast to star in the 1995 blockbuster Twister, cementing his status from unforgettable character actor to leading man. Over the past two decades, the actor also starred in A Simple Plan, the Spy Kids series, Nightcrawler and Frailty, which he also directed.

Paxton will likely most be remembered for his starring role of Bill Henrickson, a modern-day polygamist living quietly in the suburbs, in the HBO drama Big Love, a role which earned Paxton three Best Actor Golden Globe nominations. The series ran for five seasons. In 2012, Paxton was nominated for an Emmy for his leading role in the miniseries Hatfields & McCoys.

Hollywood is mourning his loss. Rob Lowe, who co-starred with Paxton in Frank & Jesse, wrote:

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Others chimed in:

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Paxton leaves behind a wife and two children, as well as legacy of memorable roles.