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R.I.P.: Bill Paxton has passed away at age 61

02.27.2017by: Cody Hamman

Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton is known and loved for his roles in such films as THE TERMINATOR, WEIRD SCIENCE, ALIENS, NEAR DARK, PREDATOR 2, TOMBSTONE, TRUE LIES, APOLLO 13, TWISTER, TITANIC, A SIMPLE PLAN, FRAILTY, and CLUB DREAD (among many others), and the deeply troubling news that he passed away over the weekend has left the film fan community shaken. It's news that I didn't want to have to hear for decades. 

Paxton passed away from complications following heart surgery at the age of 61. There was little indication he was having health issues before the surgery, he was still working, having wrapped production on the thirteen episode debut season of the Training Day TV series in December, he still seemed as happy and vibrant as ever when making public appearances or doing interviews. However, during a recent chat with Marc Maron for the WTF podcast there was brief mention of heart troubles. While telling the story of when he had rheumatic fever in seventh grade, Paxton said the fever often causes damage to the heart valves. Asked if the fever did damage to his heart, Paxton seems sad to admit, "Well, yeah..."

The actor was nervous in the days before the surgery, as you would expect, but in an email sent on January 29th had assured director Doug Liman that he would "be ready to report for duty" to work on a sequel to their 2014 collaboration EDGE OF TOMORROW.

Paxton got his career started by working in the art department, helping build sets and earning set dresser and set decorator credits on Roger Corman movies in the '70s and into the '80s. He then started to get the chance to step in front of the camera, and began building the filmography we know him for. In 2001, he made his feature directorial debut with the horror thriller FRAILTY, following that up with the sports drama THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED. In recent years, Paxton had been hoping to direct an adaptation of the Joe R. Lansdale novel The Bottoms. Frustrated when he couldn't get that project off the ground, he went back to construction for a while - this time helping build houses with Habitat for Humanity.

His acting career began taking off right around the time I was born, so I have no memory of a time when Bill Paxton wasn't in movies. I've always been a fan of his, and it was always a joy to see him show up on the screen. I would have been glad to see him in the EDGE OF TOMORROW sequel, and many more movies beyond that. Both of his parents made it into their nineties, so I was looking forward to watching him deliver thirty more years of performances.

We don't have those Paxton performances to look forward to now, but we do have more than thirty years of his work to look back on and continue enjoying.

Bill Paxton Near Dark

NEAR DARK

Extra Tidbit: Our sincere condolences go out to Bill Paxton's family, friends, and fans.

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