William "Bill" Paxton (born May 17, 1955) is an American actor and film director. He gained popularity after starring roles in the films Apollo 13, Twister, Aliens, True Lies, and Titanic. Paxton starred in the HBO series Big Love (2006-2011).
Paxton was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, to Mary Lou (née Gray) and John Lane Paxton, a businessman, lumber wholesaler, museum executive, and occasional actor. He was raised Roman Catholic, his mother's religion. He attended St. Anne's Catholic School, and Arlington Heights High School (Fort Worth, Texas), and Southwest Texas State University (San Marcos, Texas).
After graduation, Paxton moved to Los Angeles and began working for the film director Roger Corman as a set designer. His experiences working behind the camera influenced Paxton's decision to pursue acting, which led him to relocate to New York City where he studied under Stella Adler.
Paxton has appeared in such films as Weird Science, Aliens, Apollo 13, Near Dark, Twister, Titanic and True Lies. Four years after appearing in Titanic, he joined James Cameron on an expedition to the actual Titanic. A film about this trip, Ghosts of the Abyss, was released in 2003.
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