Bill Paxton's most memorable film roles
Bill Paxton appeared in some of the best-loved films of the 1980s and 1990s, having the rare distinction of being killed by the Terminator, a Predator and an alien.
Here are some of his most memorable roles:
The Terminator, 1984
It was the film that catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger to superstardom, but Bill Paxton also had a memorable cameo at the beginning of The Terminator.
Playing the spiky blue-haired leader of a trio of young punks, Paxton and his gang confront a naked Schwarzenegger – the Terminator sent back from the future to prevent the birth of mankind’s saviour, John Connor.
When a muscle-bound Arnie demands their clothes, Paxton’s character accuses him of being “a couple of cans short of a six-pack”. It is an unwise move – the Terminator ignores his flick knife and hurls him against a metal railing, before punching his fist through a fellow punk and ripping out his innards.
He may not have lasted long but it was a memorable appearance.
Weird Science, 1985
In John Hughes’s cult classic, two nerdish American high school friends attempt to create the perfect woman, only to find she is a little more than they can handle.
Fans of the film will always remember Kelly Le Brock as the object of the young men’s desires, but Paxton was on hand again with a brilliant bit-part as Chet, the older brother of the libidinous Wyatt Donnelly.
Paxton is brilliant as the army camo-clad, bullying sibling – before he gets turned into a giant, talking turd. Unforgettable.
Paxton was perfectly cast as the sarcastic, quick-quipping space soldier Private Hudson in the sequel to Alien.
Starring alongside Sigourney Weaver as the hard-as-nails Ellen Ripley, Hudson brought cocksure bravado to the film, the classic arrogant joker who thinks he is untouchable.
Paxton’s character was brought down to earth with a bump when the spaceship the soldiers are on crashes, spawning his immortal line: “That’s it, man. Game over, man. Game over!”, before being torn to pieces by an alien that appears through the grated floor of a space station.
True Lies, 1994
Reunited with Schwarzenegger and Terminator director James Cameron, Paxton absolutely stole the show in the comedy thriller True Lies as Simon, the sleazy car salesman who fantasises about being a secret agent.
The smooth-talking lothario schmoozes Jamie Lee Curtis as the unfulfilled wife Helen Tasker, whisking her into an adrenaline-inducing world of espionage and daring.
But when her husband Harry (Schwarzenegger) – who she has no idea is actually a real spy – finds out, he and his partner teach Simon a lesson, culminating in him wetting himself and begging for forgiveness.
Apollo 13, 1995
In his first major starring role, Paxton was cast as astronaut Fred Haise alongside Tom Hanks’s Jim Lovell and Kevin Bacon’s Jack Swigert for Apollo 13, the Ron Howard space drama about the mission’s famous disaster.
The three actors trained with Lovell and David Scott, the commander of Apollo 15, at the US Space Camp in preparation for the film, doing exercises inside simulated lunar and command modules.
Their hard work paid off – Apollo 13 was nominated for nine Academy Awards.
His first role as a leading man, Paxton starred alongside Helen Hunt as a storm chaser always searching the horizon for the next tornado in Jan de Bont’s disaster film.
The film was typically Hollywood in its saccharine, escapist entertainment, but cemented Paxton’s position among the A-list of the 1990s.
Titanic will always belong to Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as the star-crossed lovers Jack and Rose, but it was Paxton’s egotistical treasure hunter Brock Lovett who allowed the story to be told.
After pressuring the 100-year-old Rose Dawson to retell her tale in the present day, Lovett got more than he bargained for.
Three hours later (it was a long film) and after one of the weepiest stories in Hollywood history, he was a changed man: “Three years, I’ve thought of nothing except Titanic; but I never got it … I never let it in.”