Character Actor of the Day: Bill Paxton

I thought I would take some time every now and then and talk about some great actors that sometimes go under the radar because they never really get the full attention they deserve. There are a lot of great character actors out there today and I always get a little bit of joy in seeing them pop up in any film regardless of the size of their role.

Bill Paxton had a very long career and appeared in more big movie than most people really notice. Paxton also seems to have a reputation for being a really solid guy in general. I’ve heard on podcasts and other media and several people have met him and he would just take a half hour out of his day to talk to one fan.

Paxton started to gain attention in the mid 80s. He was in a short lived band with a friend in the early 80s named Martini Ranch. James Cameron happened to direct one of their videos and it was the first of several collaborations between Paxton and Cameron. Paxton had supporting roles in The Terminator, Aliens, True Lies and Titanic. He most notable of the pack was probably Aliens where his line “game over man, game over” became an insanely quotable line.

He continued some success in the 90s with memorable roles in Tombstone and Apollo 13 and which lead to some leading roles, most famously in the disaster classic Twister.

In a few interviews that came shortly before his death Paxton has said that directing was always what he wanted to most in the movie business. He did get two kicks at the can in the directors chair. He directed and starred in Frailty which is a bit of an underrated film that reminds me a lot of The Shining. He directed a golf film The Greatest Game on Earth for Disney a few years later. Frailty was a moderate success, but The Greatest Game on Earth was not.

Paxton took the lead role in HBO’s Big Love which ran for 5 seasons. Paxton played a Mormon who practiced polygamy. The role won him some Golden Globe nominations and overall critical acclaim. After the conclusion of that series he starred alongside Kevin Costner in a miniseries about the Hatfields and McCoys that aired on the History Channel.

The tail end of his career saw Paxton returning to more movie roles he had supporting roles in successful films like Million Dollar Arm, Nightcrawler and Edge of Tomorrow. Unfortunately he died earlier this year in complications surrounding a heart surgery. His final appearance in the critically panned The Circle was released a few months after he died playing the father to Emma Watson’s lead character. A role that sill stood out and an undoubtedly bad movie.

What is your favorite Bill Paxton performance or movie?

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