Bill Paxton died from complications during surgery on Sunday, and now The Hollywood Reporter has shared a few brief, touching remembrances from some of the people who knew Paxton. First is Kurt Russell, who co-starred with him in the 1993 film Tombstone. In his post, Russell says “you won’t find anybody who didn’t like Bill Paxton,” noting that he never made things “about him or his problems,” choosing instead to focus on solving other people’s problems and working to help make scenes better. He also says Paxton was a “sneaky-good actor” and was “very subtle and effective” because of that.
Twister director Jan De Bont remembers that Paxton “loved the physical part of acting.” He says Paxton did his own stunts on Twister because “he would not let anyone that away from him,” and he tells a story about one scene in the film that required Paxton to stand on the back of a pickup truck while other trucks launched jagged chunks of ice at him with a big fan. “If you look at the movie, you can see the cuts on his face—those are real,” De Bont says, “but when the scene was over, he was so full of adrenaline.”
The third post is from James Cameron, who worked with Paxton many times and had been a close friend of his for decades. His post is understandably the most emotional of the bunch, and it opens with Cameron discussing the “700-pound stone head of Bacchus, the party god” that Paxton once sent to his house.
He got it from a hotel that was being demolished in New York and just figured his pal Cameron needed a 700-pound stone head. It has been in my living room for 15 years. That’s the kind of guy Bill was. An absolute original. He approached life at full throttle and with a childlike enthusiasm—for people, for stories, for history, for art.
Cameron notes that Paxton was “a highly accomplished feature film director” on top of his many memorable acting roles, and he says Paxton “understood every aspect of the creative process intimately and had a special respect for artists and the design process.” Cameron also says that Paxton’s “zany characters” often “belied a serious, thoughtful, and caring man,” and it’s “hard to fathom that such a force of nature could be snatched from the world in his prime.” He ends his post mourning his friend but remembering the good times they had together:
He leaves a void in my life that can never be filled. I mourn the work we will never do together and the laughs we will never share. But I’m grateful for, and celebrate, the time and the work and the adventures we did have.