Versatile Texas actor Bill Paxton’s career was all over the place in the best way

Bill Paxton, looking concerned, as Fred Haise in "Apollo 13"

Bill Paxton, looking concerned, as Fred Haise in “Apollo 13”

Fort Worth-born actor Bill Paxton, he of “Aliens,” “Big Love” and “Apollo 13” fame (among many, many other roles) has died from complications during surgery. He was 61.

Paxton was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2007 and given a Texas Medal of Arts award in 2011.

Several folks on Twitter noted that he was one of the only people ever killed by an Alien, a Terminator and a Predator, a distinction he disputed in a 2011 interview with the American-Statesman. (“That’s not technically correct,” the actor (said). “I was only maimed by the Terminator. I only had what I call a traumatic encounter with the Terminator.”)

Paxton started appearing in films in 1975 but came to public prominence in 1986 as the cowardly Private Hudson in James Cameron’s “Aliens.”

Bill Paxton as Pvt. Hudson in "Aliens," extremely scared of getting stabbed by Bishop.

Bill Paxton as Pvt. Hudson in “Aliens,” extremely scared of getting stabbed by Bishop.

In a brilliantly paced film full of ground-breaking action and serious terror, Paxton was impossible to forget. His hysteria was visceral, and it helped that he was blessed with the most quotable lines: “Game over, man! Game over!” and “Seventeen *days*? Hey man, I don’t wanna rain on your parade, but we’re not gonna last seventeen hours!” He was incredibly annoying and completely fantastic.

Paxton’s career was all over the place in the best possible way.

He showed up in the cult favorite “Near Dark,” the video for New Order’s “Touched By the Hand of God” and was critically acclaimed in the still-underrated “A Simple Plan.”

He was astronaut Fred Haise in “Apollo 13,” starred as the complicated polygamist patriarch in HBO’s weird and excellent series “Big Love” and directed a very strong Matthew McConaughey in the 2001 thriller “Frailty.”

He played a soulless killer on “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” a nasty fellow cameraman opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in “Nightcrawler” and was currently filming the show “Training Day” for CBS when he died.

The guy was everywhere for 40 years. Hollywood will miss him a lot.


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