Bill Paxton is well known to tornado buffs for his portrayal of Bill Harding, the intrepid tornado hunter, in the action adventure Twister. An aficionado of severe weather himself, Paxton recently tracked the trail of the Tri-State tornado of 1925, the deadliest in U.S. history, to research a possible Twister sequel. “I always thought the first Twister was an exciting ride,” he has said. “But I think a sequel could explore it in a more enthralling way, getting into more of the history and the lore.”
As one of Hollywood’s leading men, Bill Paxton continues to make quality films both in front of and behind the camera. He can currently be seen in the fifth and final season of HBO’s critically acclaimed series Big Love. His work on the show has garnered him three Golden Globe® nominations.
On the big screen, Paxton will next be seen in Stephen Soderbergh’s action thriller Haywire. He is also currently an executive producer, along with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, of a miniseries for HBO that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It is set to air on HBO in 2013.
Paxton began his career as a set dresser in the mid-1970s. After working in the art departments of several feature films, he moved to New York to study acting with Stella Adler. In 1980, he returned to Los Angeles and began landing acting jobs in such movies as Mortuary and Night Warning. After gaining critical attention in the John Hughes comedy Weird Science and James Cameron’s sci-fi thriller Aliens, Paxton’s performance in One False Move marked his emergence as a leading man. He went on to star in a host of blockbusters, including Tombstone, True Lies, Apollo 13, Mighty Joe Young, and Titanic. In 1998, Roger Ebert cited Paxton as his Best Actor choice for his turn in A Simple Plan. In addition, Paxton received a Golden Globe® nomination that same year for his performance in HBO’s A Bright Shining Lie.
Paxton used his on-camera experience to segue into feature film directing. In 2001, he helmed the gothic thriller Frailty, in which he also starred, and, in 2005, he directed the sports drama The Greatest Game Ever Played. Both films are considered modern classics of their respective genres, and Frailty was honored with the National Board of Review’s 2002 special mention for excellence in filmmaking.
In addition to his awards for acting and directing, Paxton holds the distinction of being the only actor to have visited the wreck site of the Titanic with James Cameron for the documentary Ghosts of the Abyss. Paxton completed four descents to the site, two and a half miles below the surface of the North Atlantic.
A native of Ft. Worth, Texas, Paxton now resides in California with his wife and children.