Actor Bill Paxton of Titanic, Apollo 13, Aliens fame dies at age 61

American actor Bill Paxton, known for his roles in "Aliens" and "Titanic" has died at age 61 after complications from surgery.
Actor Bill Paxton dead at 61.VIDEO: REUTERS
Bill Paxton poses during a photocall for the TV series Texas Rising  in Cannes, France,  in 2015.
Bill Paxton poses during a photocall for the TV series Texas Rising in Cannes, France, in 2015.PHOTO: EPA

LOS ANGELES (NYTIMES) - Bill Paxton, the affable actor who co-starred in a string of 1990s blockbusters including Twister, Titanic and Apollo 13 and later starred in the critically acclaimed television drama Big Love, has died. He was 61.

His death, from complications of surgery, was announced on Sunday (Feb 26) in a statement from a representative for his family. It did not elaborate on when and where Paxton died. But Rolling Stone reported that he died on Saturday.

Early in his career, Paxton had small parts in The Terminator in 1984 and Aliens in 1986. Both films were directed by James Cameron, who later featured the actor in more high-profile roles: as a used-car salesman who ripped off Jamie Lee Curtis' character in True Lies in 1994, and as the treasure-hunting scientist who discovered the wreck of the ocean liner in Titanic in 1997.

In the 1990s, he also starred in Ron Howard's Oscar-nominated film Apollo 13, portraying Fred Haise, one of three men trapped orbiting above Earth, and in Twister, as a storm-chaser.

Over the last decade, Paxton appeared regularly on TV.

From 2006 to 2011, he played Bill Henrickson, the patriarch of a polygamist family in Utah, on the HBO series Big Love. He received three Golden Globe nominations for his acting on the show.

In 2012, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for playing Randolph McCoy in the three-part miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, on the History channel. And in 2014, he appeared in six episodes of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., on ABC.

Paxton returned to TV as the star of CBS' new police drama, Training Day. A spin-off of the 2001 movie starring Denzel Washington, the series premiered earlier this month and only four episodes have been broadcast. In total, 13 episodes of Training Day have been filmed, and Paxton appears in all of them.

In the near term, the show will continue to be shown on Thursday nights, but its future is not certain: Reviews have been mixed - though Paxton's performance as a rogue cop has been praised - and it averages little more than 4 million viewers.

Tributes to Paxton poured in on social media.

"Bill Paxton was, simply, a wonderful man. A wonderful man," Tom Hanks, a co-star in Apollo 13, wrote on Twitter.

Cary Elwes, one of his co-stars in Twister, shared a photograph of the two men on set and said he was very sad to hear of Paxton's death.

Curtis called him "a funny, talented, loving human". Howard called the news "crushing".

Paxton was born on May 17, 1955, in Fort Worth, Texas. Survivors include his wife of more than 30 years, Louise Newbury; and two children, James and Lydia.