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William "Bill" Paxton (born May 17, 1955) is an American actor and film director. He gained in popularity after his starring roles in the movies Apollo 13, Twister, and True Lies. Paxton is currently working on the fourth season of the HBO series Big Love which is set to premiere in 2010.


Early life

Bill Paxton grew up in Fort Worth, Texasmarker, the son of Mary Lou Gray and John Lane Paxton, who was a businessman, a lumber wholesaler, a museum executive, and occasionally an actor. Paxton was raised in his mother's Catholic religion. Paxton attended Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, Texas, and then Texas State Universitymarker (then called Southwest Texas State Univ.) in San Marcos, Texasmarker, and then moved to Los Angeles, Californiamarker, and began working for the movie director Roger Corman as a set designer on his movies. Exposure to movies and actors at that age influenced Paxton's decision to pursue acting, which lead him to relocate to New York Citymarker, where he studied under Stella Adler.


Bill Paxton has played many distinctive and memorable characters including the sneering older brother Chet in John Hughes' Weird Science; the loud-mouthed Colonial Marine Private William Hudson in James Cameron's Aliens; astronaut Fred Haise in Ron Howard's Apollo 13; the sadistic vampire Severen in Kathryn Bigelow's film Near Dark; tornado researcher Bill Harding with Helen Hunt in the blockbuster Twister; the treasure hunter to whom Rose's story is told in Titanic and the sleazy car salesman in True Lies. Notable is the performance Paxton delivered in Carl Franklin's critically acclaimed One False Move. Paxton has the unique distinction of being one of only two actors (along with Lance Henriksen) who has played characters killed by an Alien (as Private Hudson in Aliens), a Predator (as Jerry Lambert in Predator 2), and a Terminator (as the punk leader in The Terminator. He also had a cameo role in Terminator 2 as a resistance soldier but was not killed in this one) in the respective science fiction film franchises.

Paxton appeared as a treasure hunter searching for a diamond in the wreckage of the RMS Titanicmarker in the 1997 film. Four years later, he joined James Cameron on an expedition to the actual Titanic, A movie about this trip, Ghosts of the Abyss, was released in 2003.

In 1988, Paxton and the vocalist/guitarist Andrew Todd Rosenthal formed a short-lived rock duo Martini Ranch. They recorded and released just one album entitled Holy Cow, which included inputs from Devo members Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Casale and Alan Myers (all of whom contributed to the album's modest hit "How Can the Labouring Man Find Time For Self-Culture?"), along with Cindy Wilson of the B-52's as a back-up vocalist and actor Judge Reinhold is credited as a whistler on "Reach". Paxton has also directed a number of short films, including Fish Heads, which aired during Saturday Night Live's low-rated 1980-1981 season on the episode hosted by Ellen Burstyn (with musical guests Aretha Franklin and Keith Sykes). He has also directed feature films: Frailty and The Greatest Game Ever Played.

Paxton is often confused with Bill Pullman, an actor known for similar roles as Paxton. This is parodied in both the Simpsons when the audience at the cinema confuse them and Homer corrects them on the matter and when Paxton hosted Saturday Night Live in 1999.

In 1980, Paxton is credited with directing and starring in the Barnes and Barnes song video titled, "Fish Heads" Starring alongside Barnes and Barnes as well as Dr. Demento himself. This song was featured on The Dr. Demento show, and still gets airplay today.

Paxton was cast in a music video for the 1982 Pat Benatar song "Shadows Of the Night," in which he appeared as a German Nazi radio officer.

James Cameron gave Paxton the nickname "Knuckles." In a local bar during the filming of True Lies, Paxton warned off a disgruntled local by donning an iron knuckleduster given to him by Lance Henriksen.

Paxton is performing in the HBO drama Big Love as Bill Henrickson, the head of a polygamous family in Utah. He was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Drama in 2007 for the role.

Personal life

Paxton is distantly related to actress Sara Paxton.

Paxton married Louise Newbury in 1987, and they have two children, James (born 1994) and Lydia (born December 19, 1997).

As an eight-year-old, Bill Paxton was in the crowd waving when President John F. Kennedy emerged from the Hotel Texas in Ft.marker Worth, Texasmarker, on the morning of Nov. 22, 1963. There are pictures at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallasmarker where the young Paxton can clearly be seen astride the shoulders of an unidentified man.


Back to Back with Todd Fisher and Appalonia

Films directed


  1. Bill Paxton Biography (1955-)
  2. Unfair Park - The Day Bill Paxton Saw John F. Kennedy

External links

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