One of Hollywood's most notable film legends -- and a true Texas gentleman -- Bill Paxton, has passed away.

According to news reports, the Emmy-Award winning actor died from a stroke following heart surgery. He was 61.

His death comes just two days prior to the 89th annual Academy Awards telecast on Feb, 26.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1955, Paxton created over 60 films during his career that spanned over 40 years. He starred in several popular TV productions, including the "Hatfields & McCoys." Through his memorable leading and supporting roles, both on and off the silver screen, Paxton gave voice to a unique talent gifted with remarkable force and depth.

In the blockbuster movie "Twister" Paxton battled a F5 tornado and lived to tell about it and fought extraterrestrial man-eaters in "Aliens." But it was his commanding role as the astronaut Fred Haise in Apollo 13 that defined Paxton as an actor Americans could be proud of.

The reaction in Hollywood to the news of Paxton's untimely death was shock.

"Devastated by the sudden loss of my close friend and one of the finest actors in the business, Bill Paxton," Tweeted actor Rob Lowe. "Renaissance man, raconteur and unique American national treasure."

Jordan Peele Tweeted, "Bill Paxton was notoriously one of the nicest people in the industry. He also gave us some of the all-time most iconic movie moments."

Paxton, however, did not fit easily into the stereotypical mold of Hollywood political activists like Michael Moore, Jodie Foster, or Leonardo DiCaprio. Which was probably a good thing, as the line that separates art from propaganda is becoming increasingly blurred in the movie industry.

Every time a legendary Hollywood actor dies, a small piece of America dies with them. The popular culture that they help to create ultimately reflects and defines the broader American cultural experience, for good or bad.

Bill Paxton, through his classic cinema and television roles, represented what was good about America as the embodiment of time-honored values such as bravery, honesty, integrity, and patriotism -- rare commodities in today's Hollywood that finds itself firmly in the McCarthyesque grip of anti-Trump hysteria.

Houston, we have a problem, and it's Hollywood.

Please share this on Facebook if you loved Bill Paxton in Apollo 13.

Source: Dennis Michael Lynch

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