Actor Bill Paxton, who was best known for his role in the sci-fi classic Aliens, has died at the age of 61, US media report.
Paxton had reportedly suffered from complications following surgery.
Paxton, who has a costarring role in the upcoming Tom Hanks sci-fi drama The Circle (due in theaters April 28), was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his front-of-camera “debut” at age 8 on the morning of November 22, 1963, when he was photographed in a Texas crowd greeting President John F. Kennedy on the morning of the Kennedy assassination.
The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas displays the picture.
After small roles in the 1970s, Paxton’s visibility blossomed during the 1980s with notable small or supporting film and TV roles in Stripes, The Lords of Discipline, The Terminator, The Atlanta Child Murders, Weird Silence, An Early Frost and Aliens.
In 1987, Paxton commanded attention as a sadistic but charming vampire in Kathryn Bigelow’s moody Near Dark, and the actor then gave one memorable performance after another, often in projects recalled now for few reasons other than his presence.
He was in One False Move and Boxing Helena, Indian Summer and Tombstone.
The bigger movies and roles soon arrived: 1994’s True Lies, ’95’s Apollo 13 and the starring role in 1996 blockbuster Twister.
He played a treasure hunter in ’97’s Titanic and a professor in Mighty Joe Young (’98).
But it was television that would bring some of his best, highest-profile roles, notably the lead of HBO’s Big Love (2006-11).
As the much-married polygamist Bill Henrickson, Paxton brought both charm and sex appeal to a role that could have been extremely unsympathetic, and indeed was crucial to giving the series a credible, likable center, if not quite a hero then at least a flawed, kind man who viewers (and Henrickson’s devoted “sister-wives”) could embrace.
Here is HBO’s statement on Paxton’s passing:
“We are extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Bill Paxton.
Big Love was a seminal series for HBO for many years due to Bill’s extraordinary talent and grace.
Off screen, he was as warm, smart and fun as one could be.
A true friend to so many at HBO. He will be greatly missed.”