It’s been just over a week since the world lost an amazing talent, actor Bill Paxton. I had tried to write something about it a couple of times over last week, but just couldn’t get it out. He’d been a favorite mine, as well as many genre fans, mainly since his performances as the cowardly yet heroic Hudson in James Cameron’s Aliens (1986). But like his portrayal of the marine Hudson, Paxton gave so many levels of character to all his roles, and he was always such fun to watch on screen. Even his cut-throat killer Severen in Near Dark (1987) was a treat to watch. Two of my favorite lines to quote from that movie were both from Paxton. “We keep odd hours” and anytime I walk out into the sunlight, I always remember him shouting “Fucking daylight!”
But as we all know, Paxton passed away Saturday, Feb. 25th due to complications during surgery. He was only 61 years old.
Paxton’s work in the horror genre has been their right from the beginning. Working with James Cameron in the art department on some early Roger Corman films, they became friends that would last for decades. After the news of Paxton’s death got to Cameron, he stated that “the world is a lesser place”. And even though he had appeared in some huge Hollywood pictures, he never turned his back on the horror genre, even when reminded of his role in the 1983 film Morturary.
He was an incredible talent that will be deeply missed. But we have plenty of great memories of him in the countless movies and roles that he left us. I know many fans broke out a lot of these over this last week in tribute to him, which I think is not only a great think to do, but to continue to do, always honoring the hard work these actors put into this characters, giving us fans hours and hours of entertainment. Thank you, Mr. Paxton.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this sorrowful time.