A voice for Fort Worth
I can’t let the week go by without mentioning the passing of Bill Paxton. Fort Worth lost a friend and champion on Feb. 25 when actor Paxton passed away, reportedly from complications of heart surgery. Paxton was a great presence on screen with many, many memorable roles to his credit. His Chet Donnelly in Weird Science was the big brother that struck fear and loathing into little brothers everywhere: “Boys, I detect a slight character flaw: you’re morons!” and “I’m gonna tell mom and dad everthing. I’m even considering making some stuff up!” And recall his cracked voice portrayal of Private Hudson in 1986’s Aliens: “…and they’re gonna come in here AND THEY’RE GONNA GET US!” And they did.
Successful as Paxton was – and he was a prolific actor, producer, writer and director – the Arlington Heights High School graduate never forgot his roots, contributing plenty locally. He helped out at area film festivals, supporting the local and state film community and never failed to mention his hometown when doing publicity tours. Growing up in Fort Worth, an 8-year-old Paxton was in the crowd when Kennedy greeted people outside the then-Hotel Texas in downtown Fort Worth. Fifty years later, he narrated a well-received documentary, JFK: The Final Hours, on that historic event.
Paxton is quoted as saying: “You have to be a self-starter out here at a certain point. It’s important to take the reins or, otherwise, you can be regaled to obscurity so quickly.” He certainly took the reins and we should thank him for it, usually while we’re laughing at one of his great performances.