Director James Cameron has written a touching tribute to actor Bill Paxton, who died over the weekend at age 61 due to surgery complications. In a piece for The Hollywood Reporter, Cameron, who cast Paxton in Aliens and Titanic, said Paxton was an “absolute original” and a wonderful actor.
Cameron revealed that Paxton sent him a 700-pound stone head of Bacchus, the party god, that the actor acquired from a hotel that was being demolished.
“It has been in my living room for 15 years. That’s the kind of guy Bill was. An absolute original. He approached life at full throttle and with a childlike enthusiasm–for people, for stories, for history, for art,” Cameron said. “We shared many adventures together–on boats, scuba diving with sharks and even diving together in a Russian research submersible 2.5 miles down to the Titanic wreck and exploring it together.”
Cameron added that he wants people to also remember Paxton as an accomplished director as well; Frailty and The Greatest Game Ever Played are two of Paxton’s directing credits. He understood “every aspect of the creative process intimately, and had a special respect for artists and the design process.”
“I’m still processing that he’s gone. It’s hard to fathom that such a force of nature could be snatched from the world in his prime,” Cameron said. “He leaves a void in my life that can never be filled. I mourn the work we will never do together and the laughs we will never share. But I’m grateful for, and celebrate, the time and the work and the adventures we did have.“
You can read Cameron’s full tribute to Paxton here at THR.