Ron Howard Remembers Bill Paxton’s ‘Admirable Joie de Vivre’ on the Apollo 13 Set

Paxton died on Sunday. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Following the news that Bill Paxton had died at the age of 61, many of his co-workers and admirers in Hollywood shared their memories of the venerated actor. Among Paxton’s biggest fans were his bosses, the directors who captured the film performances that would become Paxton’s most famous parts. James Cameron, who worked with Paxton on The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic, and more, called Paxton a “creative dynamo,” while Ron Howard, Paxton’s director on Apollo 13, compared the actor to a friendly tornado that could be a good sport in trying circumstances. Howard wrote in a tribute for The Hollywood Reporter, “Unlike the Twisters he famously chased in the movies, Bill Paxton was the kind of force of nature you ran toward and never away from.” The director went on to explain Paxton’s “charm” and “admirable joie de vivre” on the set of Apollo 13.

He loved adventure, and no one was happier than Bill when we were filming our zero-G scenes for Apollo 13 out over the Gulf of Mexico in NASA’s KC-135, nicknamed The Vomit Comet. For the record, Bill never lost his lunch through all those weightless scenes. But when a floating camera operator shooting a close up of Bill got sick and projectiled, Bill floated over to me at my director’s monitor wearing an unimaginably huge grin and said, “You gotta see this, Ron. I got puke in my hair, man! Cool!”

Read the rest of the tribute here.

Ron Howard Remembers Bill Paxton’s ‘Admirable Joie de Vivre’