The entire film community was rocked when Bill Paxton passed away on February 25th, 2017 at the too-soon age of 61. The lauded actor and filmmaker died from complications following heart surgery. Not long after, we spoke to Adam Rifkin, who directed Paxton in his film The Dark Backward where they developed an enduring friendship.
“Working with Bill was absolutely one of the greatest joys of my life,” Rifkin told us in 2018. “We became very close friends on that movie and remained friends for all these years. In fact, a week before he tragically passed, I had just gone over to his place and to show him a rough cut of the film I’d just done with Burt Reynolds called The Last Movie Star. I showed him the rough cut and he really liked it. We had lunch that day and he actually told me that he had to go into surgery and he was nervous about it. Those words will haunt me forever.“
Today, on what would have been the actor’s 65th birthday, we wanted to take a look back at some of what made Paxton so outstanding.
Most of us first met Paxton when he played Chet in Weird Science, but he became a horror icon for turns in Aliens in 1986 and Near Dark in 1987. His opus was Frailty, a film he both starred in and directed. Released in 2001, Frailty has since become a cult hit.
One day, a widowed blue-collar worker has a revelation: he must destroy those revealed to him as demons. He then begins the serial killings of `God’s Hand Killer’ across Texas, but he also has two young sons, the younger of whom idolises him and believes in the cause, while his older brother is revolted but cannot bring himself to stop his father. Twenty years later, the elder son walks into a police station and confesses.
Inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame during their annual induction gala at Austin Studios in Austin, Texas on March 9, 2007 for his career achievement in the motion picture film industry. The Texas Film Hall of Fame inductees are native-born Texans who have achieved excellence in their film career. (Source)
He was the only other actor, along with Lance Henriksen, to appear in the Alien, Predator, and Terminator film series. (Source)
“I want people to re-evaluate me. My dream would be to make films like Clint Eastwood did… You have to be a self-starter out here at a certain point. It’s important to take the reigns or, otherwise, you can be regaled to obscurity so quickly.” (Source)
Bill Paxton may have left us too soon, but he will never be relegated to obscurity. Happy Birthday, where ever you are.
What are some of your favorite Bill Paxton memories? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.