I am sad, so very, very sad. Growing up, one of my favorite character actors was Bill Paxton. Paxton suffered a fatal stroke Feb. 25 following heart surgery in Los Angeles. He was an endearing person and a Fort Worth native.
Paxton was starring in the television series “Training Day” with co-star Justin Cromwell that launched last week. It is an offshoot of Antoine Fuqua’s Oscar-winning film that won Denzel Washington his second trophy.
I interviewed Paxton on three different occasions. The first was for “The Traveller,” an drama about con artists with Mark Wahlberg and “ER’s” Julianna Margulies.
The other interviews were in conjunction with “A Simple Plan” and “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” his sophomore effortdirectorial. In one interview, he referred to the movie industry as “an exercise in futility.”
Paxton was awesome as Hudson, the cynical marine in James Cameron’s “Aliens” in 1986. He had an endearing screen presence in many of his portrayals.
Paxton went on to work with Cameron in “True Lies” in 1994 and the multiple Best Picture Oscar-winning “Titanic” in 1997.
He spent time in the HBO slice-of-life drama “Big Love” (2006) in which he portrayed a husband with three wives living in a polygamist family. Paxton won awards for the series.
He seemed to love ensembles, having appeared in 1993’s “Tombstone” as Morgan Earp. Paxton portrayed Fred Haise as part of NASA’s astronaut crew in Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13.” The movie won two Oscars. He received another career boost headlining Jan De Bont’s “Twister” in 1996.
Paxton, who was 61, leaves behind a wife and two children.
Although there won't be any new movies from him, it's a comfort knowing his career included many memorable flicks that willentertain audiences for years to come.