I had always seen Bill Paxton in Hollywood movies, and remember him best alongside Helen Hunt in Twister. But his real star turn came with the HBO show Big Love. The network was always trying to build family dramas around atypical families, from the crime family in The Sopranos to Bill Paxton's polygamist family in Big Love. And in this show, we finally got to see the best of his acting abilities for an extended period.
Here's what Vox had to say:
The series might have been the best use of Paxton’s inherent screen persona, as it presented him (somewhat convincingly) as an upstanding pillar of his community — who nevertheless was keeping two of his three wives hidden from the world. The role in the series, which ran for five seasons from 2006 to 2011, earned him three of his four Golden Globe nominations.
Bill Paxton went on to do a lot more TV, and had just finished up a season of Training Day for CBS. But complications took him from us all too young. He was a terrific actor, and by all accounts, one of Hollywood's good guys.
I'd recommend you take a look at Big Love on HBO, it's a terrific show. His 4th Golden Globe nomination was for an HBO movie called A Bright Shining Lie, which tells the story of American involvement in Vietnam through the eyes of Bill Paxton's character.
There's Apollo 13, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild award, and Aliens, for which he won a Saturn award. Most of his film work was in supporting or ensemble roles, but Bill Paxton proved he had the acting chops to take starring roles, too.
Bill Paxton died much too young. He was just 61-years-old.