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Bill Paxton

Bill Paxton

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Also Known As: William Paxton, Paxton (Wild Bill) Died:
Born: May 17, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Fort Worth, Texas, USA Profession: actor, producer, director, musician, screenwriter, singer, set dresser

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

ssentially decent man (Paxton), his wife (Bridget Fonda) and simple-minded brother (Thornton). Meanwhile, there was continued demand for his presence as a leading man in mainstream features, including the ill-advised remake of "Mighty Joe Young" (1998) and the WWII thriller "U-571" (2000). But by the early 2000s, Paxton's interest in pursuing a Hollywood career seemed to wane, as he devoted himself to smaller and more eclectic films while attempting to kick start a career as a director. His first effort towards that end was the gripping thriller "Frailty" (2001), in which he also starred as a fanatical father who led his two sons on a killing spree in Texas. The feature, which also starred fellow Lone Star State thespians Matthew McConaghey and Powers Boothe, received positive reviews and several critic association award nominations (as well as a Saturn Award in 2003), but fared anemically at the box office.Paxton continued to be visible in a variety of features into the new millennium. He returned to his broad comic roots as cowboy-styled amusement park owner Dinky Winks in Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams" (2002) and "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" (2003), and donned faux dreadlocks...

ssentially decent man (Paxton), his wife (Bridget Fonda) and simple-minded brother (Thornton). Meanwhile, there was continued demand for his presence as a leading man in mainstream features, including the ill-advised remake of "Mighty Joe Young" (1998) and the WWII thriller "U-571" (2000). But by the early 2000s, Paxton's interest in pursuing a Hollywood career seemed to wane, as he devoted himself to smaller and more eclectic films while attempting to kick start a career as a director. His first effort towards that end was the gripping thriller "Frailty" (2001), in which he also starred as a fanatical father who led his two sons on a killing spree in Texas. The feature, which also starred fellow Lone Star State thespians Matthew McConaghey and Powers Boothe, received positive reviews and several critic association award nominations (as well as a Saturn Award in 2003), but fared anemically at the box office.

Paxton continued to be visible in a variety of features into the new millennium. He returned to his broad comic roots as cowboy-styled amusement park owner Dinky Winks in Robert Rodriguez's "Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams" (2002) and "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over" (2003), and donned faux dreadlocks as Coconut Pete, a failed rock star who operates a hedonistic island getaway in "Club Dread" (2004) by the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (Paxton even crooned a handful of tunes for the film's soundtrack). A stab at action hero in the kids' adventure "Thunderbirds" (2004), based on the Gerry Anderson marionette TV series, failed to connect with viewers, but more showed up to enjoy his sophomore directing effort, "The Greatest Game Ever Played" (2006), about a fabled match between an amateur player (Shia LaBouef) and the top ranked golfer in 1913. A likable effort for Disney Studios, it confirmed Paxton's skill as a capable filmmaker.

That same year, Paxton was cast in the HBO series "Big Love" as Utah businessman Bill Hendrickson, whose professional façade and successful chain of home improvement stores served as a front for his home life as a polygamist with three wives. Much of the show's drama was derived from Hendrickson's life as high-wire juggling act; not only was he forced to contend with three spouses of very different temperaments and tastes, but there was also the issue of Roman Grant (Harry Dean Stanton), father to his wife Nicki (Chloe Seivgny), whose Old Testament approach to polygamy presented a serious threat to Hendrickson's standing in the community. Critics and audiences alike gravitated towards the unusual series by its second season, and Paxton's subtle work in his role led to a Satellite Award nomination in 2006 and Golden Globe nods in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Oddly, Paxton never received a nomination for an Emmy for his "Big Love" role during his five seasons on the show. After the series ended in 2011, Paxton went on to play patriarch Randolph McCoy, who feuds with William Hatfield (Kevin Costner) and his family in the highly-praised miniseries, "Hatfields & McCoys" (History Channel, 2012). Not only did the miniseries deliver the cable station's highest-ever ratings, but it also allowed Paxton to collect his career's first Emmy Award nomination. Paxton next appeared on television in "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." (ABC 2013- ), a TV expansion of the Marvel universe executive produced by Joss Whedon. On the big screen, Paxton took on supporting roles in films ranging from the violent buddy comedy-drama "2 Guns" (2013) through the Disney-produced baseball story "Million Dollar Arm" (2014), to the futuristic science-fiction thriller "Edge of Tomorrow" (2014) starring Tom Cruise.

as the beyond jittery Pvt. Hicks in the smash hit "Aliens" (1986). As Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and Cpl. Hicks (Michael Biehn) effectively took charge of their dire situation as sitting ducks for the lurking aliens, the audience found an outlet for their stress and comic relief with Paxton's lovable character, the one scaredy cat in the group who people could relate to. While he did not become a major star after "Aliens," there was no doubt that it was the very definition of a star-making performance and earned the unknown actor a Saturn Award.

During this period, Paxton also continued to dabble in directing; among his numerous short film projects was the video for "Fish Heads," a bizarre novelty song by cult music act Barnes and Barnes. The video later aired on "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ) to much acclaim. Paxton also sang and performed in an alternate rock group called Martini Ranch, which released a single album, Holy Cow, in 1988. Among the collaborators on the LP were members of Devo and the B-52s. As the 1980s came to close, Paxton began to field larger and more significant roles, though the pictures themselves continued to be low-budget independents with limited audiences. He impressed horror fans as a road-tripping vampire in "Near Dark" (1987) for the ever loyal Cameron's then-wife Kathryn Bigelow, but he was largely wasted in cardboard action films like "Back to Back" (1990), "Navy Seals" (1990) and "Predator 2" (1990). "The Dark Backward" (1991), Adam Rifkin's perverse black comedy, gave him plenty of scenery to chew as the accordion-playing pal of a comic (Judd Nelson) with three arms, but few moviegoers felt the need to expose themselves to the film. It took a small thriller by Corman veteran Carl Franklin to give Paxton the critical boost he needed. "One False Move" (1992) top-billed Paxton as an over-eager, small-town sheriff who comes up against a trio of amoral killers (among them Billy Bob Thornton, who co-penned the script), and won critical acclaim for its noir-ish atmosphere and scripting.

The critical reception to "Move" gave Paxton's career a further boost, and after a slow start in the mid-1990s ¿ leads in "Trespass" (1992), "Indian Summer" (1993), and "Boxing Helena" (1993) failed to generate much heat ¿ he was cast as famed lawman Wyatt Earp's brother Morgan in "Tombstone" (1993), which despite numerous behind-the-scenes troubles, managed to land a hit with audiences. Cameron tapped him again to play a sleazy car dealer in his Arnold Schwarzenegger actioner "True Lies" (1994), and by 1995, Paxton was co-starring with Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon in "Apollo 13" (1995), based on the harrowing lunar mission in 1969. The tense drama, directed by Ron Howard, added another blockbuster to Paxton's steadily growing career. Thanks to the exposure of "True Lies" and "Apollo 13," Paxton received his shot as a leading man in a major theatrical release. "Twister" (1996), which featured him as a reckless tornado chaser, scored mightily at the summer box office that year. Its success, however, paled in comparison to the global phenomenon that was "Titanic" (1997), which reunited Paxton with Cameron for a small role as the treasure hunter seeking a fabled diamond in the wreckage of the doomed ocean liner. Paxton would later join his buddy Cameron for a trip to the real "Titanic" in "Ghosts of the Abyss" (2003), with the actor providing narration for the documentary and traveling miles under the sea with Cameron to the fabled wreck for a glimpse into its mysteries. It said a lot for the friendship and trust between the two men that Cameron picked Paxton to journey with him to the wreck, instead of any one of his stable of actors he had continually cast in his films for the last decade or more.

In the middle of all the "Titanic" hoopla, Paxton also found time to return to his indie roots in two critically acclaimed though little seen movies. He made his debut as producer for the independent feature "Traveller" (1997), in which he also starred as an Irish gypsy and con man. Paxton also made an impression with a subdued and thoughtful turn in Sam Raimi's psychological drama "A Simple Plan" (1998), which reunited him with his "One False Move" co-star Billy Bob Thornton in an effective story of greed corrupting an e

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Frailty (2002) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Mean Dreams (2016)
2.
 Pixies (2015)
3.
 Term Life (2015)
4.
 Dawn Patrol (2015)
5.
 Strange But True (2014)
6.
 Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
7.
 Nightcrawler (2014)
9.
 Two Guns (2013)
10.
 Red Wing (2013)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1974:
Worked as a set decorator for Roger Corman's New World Pictures
1975:
Feature debut as an extra in Jonathan Demme's "Crazy Mama"
:
Left Los Angeles to study acting in New York
1980:
Directed and starred in the cult short "Fish Heads" for "Saturday Night Live" (NBC)
1981:
Made film debut in the slasher film, "Mortuary" (released in 1983)
1981:
First released film, Ivan Reitman's "Stripes"
1983:
Made his TV debut on the unsold CBS pilot "Great Day"
1984:
First worked for director James Cameron, playing a small role in "The Terminator"
1985:
Cast in a memorable role as the sneering older brother Chet in John Hughes' "Weird Science"
1986:
Played the loud-mouthed Private William Hudson in Cameron's "Aliens"
1990:
Co-starred in "Predator 2" with Danny Glover and Gary Busey
1992:
First lead role in a feature, "One False Move"; co-written by Billy Bob Thornton
1993:
Co-starred in "Indian Summer," written and directed by Mike Binder
1994:
Re-teamed with Cameron for a supporting role in "True Lies"
1995:
Co-starred with Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon in the Ron Howard directed "Apollo 13," about the ill-fated lunar mission of the same name in 1970
1996:
Co-starred with Helen Hunt, as 'storm chasers' researching tornadoes, in "Twister"
1997:
Feature producing debut, "Traveler"; also starred
1997:
Appeared in the modern-day wraparound sequences of Cameron's Oscar-winning blockbuster "Titanic"
1998:
Portrayed John Paul Vann in the HBO movie "A Bright Shining Lie"
1998:
Co-starred with Billy Bob Thornton in "A Simple Plan"
2000:
Portrayed the captain of an American submarine in the WWII thriller "U-571"
2001:
Made feature directorial debut with "Frailty"
2002:
Cast in "Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams"
2004:
Cast in the comedy "Broken Lizard's Club Dread"
2004:
Starred in "Thunderbirds," based on the cult British television show from the 1960s; directed by Jonathan Frakes
2005:
Directed "The Greatest Game Ever Played," a golf drama based on the true story of the 1913 U.S. Open
2006:
Starred in the HBO drama "Big Love" as a Utah man who practiced polygamy; earned Golden Globe (2007, 2008, 2009) nominations for Best Actor in a Drama Series
2006:
Played a corrupt Miami businessman in "Haven"
2012:
Joined an all-star cast including Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas in the action thriller "Haywire," directed by Steven Soderbergh
2012:
Co-starred with Kevin Costner in The History Channel miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys"
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Education

Southwest Texas State University: San Marcos , Texas -
New York University: New York , New York -
Arlington Heights High School: Fort Worth , Texas -

Notes

"In this business, it's winner-take-all. There is no second place. But it's also a waiting game, and you figure your number has got to come up at some point" --Paxton on working in the entertainment industry, USA TODAY, July 7, 1995

Paxton is one half of the musical group Martini Ranch. They received some airplay with the song "How Can the Laboring Man Find Time For Self-Culture?" James Cameron directed their video for a song entitled "Reach".

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Louise Paxton. British.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Lane Paxton. Businessman.
mother:
Mary Lou Paxton.
son:
James Paxton. Born on February 23, 1994.
daughter:
Lydia Paxton. Born on December 19, 1997.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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