William "Bill" Paxton (May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017) was an American actor and film director.

The films in which he appeared include The Terminator (1984), Weird Science (1985), Aliens (1986), Predator 2 (1990), Tombstone (1993), True Lies (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), Twister (1996), Titanic (1997), U-571 (2000), Vertical Limit (2000), Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and Nightcrawler (2014). Paxton also starred in the HBO drama series Big Love (2006–11), earning three Golden Globe Award nominations during the show's run.[33] He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for portraying Randolph "Randall" McCoy in the History channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys (2012).[34][35] Paxton's final film appearance was in The Circle (2017), released two months after his death.[36]

Early life

Paxton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of Mary Lou (née Gray) and John Lane Paxton. His father was a businessman, lumber wholesaler, museum executive, and occasional actor, most notably appearing in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man films.[2] His mother was Roman Catholic, and he and his siblings were raised in her faith.[3] Paxton was in the crowd when President John F. Kennedy emerged from the Hotel Texas on the morning of his assassination on November 22, 1963. Photographs of an 8-year-old Paxton being lifted above the crowd are on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas.[4][5] On the Marc Maron podcast, Paxton revealed that at the age of 13 he contracted rheumatic fever which had damaged his heart. During his teens, Paxton worked as a paper delivery boy with Mike Muir.[37]


Among Paxton's earliest roles were a minor role as a punk thug in The Terminator (1984), a supporting role as the lead protagonist's bullying older brother Chet in John Hughes' Weird Science (1985), and the melodramatic Private Hudson in Aliens (1986).

He directed several short films, including the music video for Barnes & Barnes' novelty song "Fish Heads", which aired during Saturday Night Live's low-rated 1980–81 season. He was cast in a music video for the 1982 Pat Benatar song "Shadows of the Night", in which he appeared as a Nazi radio officer.

Music career

In 1982, Paxton and his friend Andrew Todd Rosenthal formed a new wave musical band called Martini Ranch. The band released its only full-length album, Holy Cow, in 1988, on Sire Records.[33] The album was produced by Devo member Bob Casale and featured guest appearances by two other members of that band.[33] The music video for the band's single "Reach" was directed by James Cameron.[33]


Paxton reunited with Cameron on The Terminator (1984) and Aliens (1986). His performance in the latter, as Private William Hudson, earned him the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.[33]


He and Cameron collaborated again on True Lies (1994) and Titanic (1997), the latter of which was the highest-grossing film of all time at its release. In his other roles, Paxton played Morgan Earp in Tombstone (1993), Fred Haise in Apollo 13 (1995), the lead in Twister (1996), and lead roles in dark dramas such as One False Move (1992) and A Simple Plan (1998).


Paxton directed the feature films Frailty (2001), in which he starred, and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005).[42] Four years after appearing in Titanic, he joined Cameron on an expedition to the actual Titanic. A film about this trip, Ghosts of the Abyss, was released in 2003.[42] He also appeared in the music video for Limp Bizkit's 2003 song "Eat You Alive" as a sheriff.

His highest profile television performances received much positive attention, including his lead role in HBO's Big Love (2006–2011), for which Paxton received three Golden Globe Award nominations. Paxton also received good reviews for his performance in the History Channel's miniseries Hatfields & McCoys (2012), for which he was nominated for an Emmy Award, alongside co-star Kevin Costner.

In 2014, he played the role of the villainous John Garrett in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and a supporting role in Edge of Tomorrow (2014).[42] He starred alongside Jon Bernthal, Rose McGowan, and John Malkovich as a playable character in the 2014 video game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (downloadable "Exo Zombies" mode).[43] In February 2016, Paxton was cast as Detective Frank Roarke for Training Day, a crime-thriller television series set 15 years after the events of the eponymous 2001 movie; it premiered a year later.[33]

Personal life

Paxton was married from 1979 to 1980 to Kelly Rowan. In 1987, he married Louise Newbury; together, they had two children, James and Lydia.[33]

In February 2017, a few weeks prior to having cardiac surgery, and ultimately his death, Paxton stated in an interview with Marc Maron that he had a damaged heart valve, the result of suffering from rheumatic fever in his youth.[33]


On February 25, 2017, Paxton died at the age of 61 from complications following heart surgery.[24][34] A representative for the family released the following statement to the press on February 26:

Paxton's cause of death was a stroke resulting from complications from his heart and aorta surgery that he underwent on February 14, 2017.[34]

He is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Upon learning of his death, a number of storm chasers paid tribute to his Twister role by spelling his initials across Kansas and Oklahoma via the Spotter Network.[34]



1975Crazy MamaJohnUncredited[34]
1982Night WarningEddie[34]
1983Taking Tiger MountainBilly Hampton[34]
1983Lords of Discipline, TheThe Lords of DisciplineGilbreath[42]
1983MortuaryPaul Andrews[42]
1984Streets of FireClyde the Bartender[42]
1984Terminator, TheThe TerminatorPunk Leader[42]
1985Weird ScienceChet Donnelly[42]
1985CommandoIntercept Officer[42]
1986AliensPrivate William Hudson[42]
1987Near DarkSeveren[42]
1988Pass the AmmoJesse Wilkes[42]
1989SlipstreamMatt Owens[42]
1989Next of KinGerald Gates[42]
1989Back to BackBo Brand[42]
1990Brain DeadJim Reston[42]
1990Last of the Finest, TheThe Last of the FinestHoward 'Hojo' Jones[42]
1990Navy SEALsDane[42]
1990Predator 2Jerry Lambert[42]
1991Dark Backward, TheThe Dark BackwardGus[42]
1992Vagrant, TheThe VagrantGraham Krakowski[42]
1992One False MoveDale 'Hurricane' Dixon[42]
1993Indian SummerJack Belston[42]
1993Boxing HelenaRay O'Malley[42]
1993TombstoneMorgan Earp[42]
1994True LiesSimon[42]
1994Frank and JesseFrank James[42]
1994Future ShockVince[42]
1995Last Supper, TheThe Last SupperZachary Cody[42]
1995Apollo 13Fred Haise[42]
1996TwisterBill "The Extreme" Harding[42]
1996Evening Star, TheThe Evening StarJerry Bruckner[42]
1997TitanicBrock Lovett[42]
1998Simple Plan, AA Simple PlanHank[42]
1998Mighty Joe YoungProfessor Gregory O'Hara[42]
2000U-571Lieutenant Commander Mike Dahlgren[42]
2000Vertical LimitElliot Vaughn[42]
2001FrailtyDad MeiksAlso director[42]
2002Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost DreamsDinky Winks[42]
2003Ghosts of the AbyssHimself/Narrator[42]
2003ResistanceMajor Theodore 'Ted' Brice[34]
2003Spy Kids 3-D: Game OverDinky Winks[42]
2004Club DreadCoconut Pete[42]
2004ThunderbirdsJeff Tracy[42]
2004HavenCarl Ridley[34]
2005Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3DEdgar MitchellShort film[34]
2005Greatest Game Ever Played, TheThe Greatest Game Ever PlayedDirector[42]
2007Good Life, TheThe Good LifeRobbie[42]
2011HaywireJohn Kane
2011Tornado AlleyNarrator
2012Shanghai CallingDonald[35]
2013The ColonyMason[42]
20132 GunsEarl[42]
2013Red WingJim Verret[42]
2014Million Dollar ArmTom House[42]
2014Edge of TomorrowMaster Sergeant Farell[42]
2014NightcrawlerJoe Loder[42]
2015PixiesEddie BeckVoice role
2016Term LifeDetective Keenan[42]
2016Mean DreamsWayne Caraway[42]
2017The CircleVinnie HollandPosthumous release[42]


1983Deadly LessonsEddie FoxMovie[42]
1985Early Frost, AnAn Early FrostBob MaracekMovie[42]
1985The Atlanta Child MurdersCampbellMovie[42]
1986FresnoBilly Joe BobbMiniseries (4 episodes)[42]
1986Miami ViceDetective Vic RomanoEpisode: "Streetwise"[57]
1987The HitchhikerTroutEpisode: "Made for Each Other"[2]
1993Tales from the CryptBilly DeLucaEpisode: "People Who Live in Brass Hearses"[57]
1998Bright Shining Lie, AA Bright Shining LieJohn Paul VannMovie[42]
2003FrasierErnieEpisode: "Analyzed Kiss"[57]
2006–11Big LoveBill HenricksonLead role (53 episodes)[14]
2012Hatfields & McCoysRandolph McCoy3 episodes[14]
2013JFK: The Day That Changed EverythingNarratorDocumentary[35]
2014Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.John Garrett6 episodes[57]
2015Texas RisingSam HoustonMiniseries[59][35]
2015The GamechangersJack ThompsonMovie[35]
2017Training DayDetective Frank RoarkeLead role (13 episodes)[57]

Music videos

1980"Fish Heads"Barnes & BarnesMain characterDirector[35]
1982"Shadows of the Night"Pat BenatarWehrmacht-Unteroffizier[2]
1987"Touched by the Hand of God"New Order[35]
1988"Reach"Martini RanchMain character[2]
2003"Eat You Alive"Limp BizkitSheriff[2]

Video game

2015Call of Duty: Advanced WarfareKahnExo Zombies[43]

Awards and nominations

1987Saturn AwardsBest Supporting ActorAliensWon[35]
1995CableACE AwardsBest Actor in a Dramatic SeriesTales from the CryptNominated[36]
1996Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureApollo 13Won[36]
1997Saturn AwardsBest ActorTwisterNominated
1998Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureTitanicNominated[36]
1999Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmA Bright Shining LieNominated
2003Saturn AwardsBest DirectorFrailtyNominated[36]
2006Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaBig LoveNominated[36]
2007Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaBig LoveNominated[36]
Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaBig LoveNominated
2008Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaBig LoveNominated
2009Satellite AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaBig LoveNominated[36]
2010Golden Globe AwardsBest Actor – Television Series DramaBig LoveNominated
2012Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a MovieHatfields & McCoysNominated[36]
2013Screen Actors GuildOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television MovieHatfields & McCoysNominated[36]