The shocking news of Bill Paxton’s death at just 61 has left the cinematic community in shock. On Sunday it was revealed that The Terminator, Aliens, True Lies, and Titanic actor had died after complications from heart surgery, and now James Cameron, the man who directed Bill Paxton in these films, has come out and paid an emotional tribute to the actor.
James Cameron released his statement to Vanity Fair, detailing how their friendship began when the director was working on a Roger Corman film, and Bill Paxton arrived on set. The duo quickly struck up a close friendship, and after James Cameron was given the opportunity to direct his very own Roger Corman film in the shape of Piranha Part Two: The Spawning, which launched his hugely successful career as a filmmaker, he repeatedly turned to Bill Patton.
And clearly, the duo struck up a close friendship during this time, because in his statement James Cameron revealed that he was “reeling” from the news of Paxton’s death.
“I’ve been reeling from this for the past half hour, trying to wrap my mind and heart around it. Bill leaves such a void. He and I were close friends for 36 years, since we met on the set of a Roger Corman ultra-low budget movie. He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying ‘Paint that!’ We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends.
“What followed was 36 years of making films together, helping develop each others projects, going on scuba diving trips together, watching each others kids growing up, even diving the Titanic wreck together in Russian subs. It was a friendship of laughter, adventure, love of cinema, and mutual respect. Bill wrote beautiful heartfelt and thoughtful letters, an anachronism in this age of digital shorthand.
“He took good care of his relationships with people, always caring and present for others. He was a good man, a great actor, and a creative dynamo. I hope that amid the gaudy din of Oscar night, people will take a moment to remember this wonderful man, not just for all the hours of joy he brought to us with his vivid screen presence, but for the great human that he was.
“The world is a lesser place for his passing, and I will profoundly miss him.”
James Cameron wasn’t the only member of the Hollywood glitterati to respond to the shocking news of Bill Paxton’s death. Tom Hanks, who co-starred with Paxton in Apollo 13, took to his Twitter account to post a simple but eloquent tribute to Paxton.
Charlize Theron, who starred alongside Bill Paxton in Mighty Joe Young, also posted her own glowing tribute to the actor, calling him “a great friend” and “one of the finest actors to share a set with.” Rob Lowe, Dwayne Johnson, Edgar Wright, and Jamie Lee Curtis were just as emotional in their own tributes to the actor, too.
Bill Paxton’s family, which included his second wife Louis Newbury and their two children James and Lydia, released a statement, via the Guardian, confirming the sad news of Bill Paxton’s death on Sunday.
“A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker. Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable. We ask to please respect the family’s wish for privacy as they mourn the loss of their adored husband and father.”
[Featured Image by Mark Mainz/Getty Images]