James Cameron Honors ‘Creative Dynamo’ Bill Paxton in Touching Letter

Paxton appeared in four of Cameron’s films, including “Aliens”

In the wake of the sudden passing of Bill Paxton, director James Cameron memorialized the actor who collaborated with him on four of his most famous films: “Terminator,” “Aliens,” “True Lies” and “Titanic.”

“Bill leaves such a void,” Cameron wrote in a statement sent to Vanity Fair. “He and I were close friends for 36 years, since we met on the set of a Roger Corman ultra-low budget movie. He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying ‘Paint that!’ We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends.”

Paxton’ first role in a Cameron film was a short but memorable one. He played a spiky-haired punk who taunted a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator,” not knowing that the muscular man was actually the infamous killing machine sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor.

Two years after “Terminator,” Paxton and Cameron reunited to work on “Aliens,” the sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic film and the movie that turned Paxton into a star. As the panicky Private Hudson, he famously wailed “Game over, man! Game over!” as he and the rest of Ellen Ripley’s team struggled to survive against the Xenomorphs.

In the 90s, Paxton once again faced Schwarzenegger’s wrath in Cameron’s “True Lies,” as he played a seducer who pretends to be a secret agent. Lastly, in “Titanic,” Paxton played Brock Lovett, an undersea explorer who finds a drawing of a nude woman preserved among the sunken ruins of the Titanic. That woman turns out to be Rose Calvert, who joins Lovett’s expedition to tell the story of her tragic romance with Jack Dawson aboard the doomed ocean liner.

“I hope that amid the gaudy din of Oscar night, people will take a moment to remember this wonderful man, not just for all the hours of joy he brought to us with his vivid screen presence, but for the great human that he was,” Cameron wrote. “The world is a lesser place for his passing, and I will profoundly miss him.”

Paxton passed away Sunday morning from surgery complications. He was 61.

Read Cameron’s full statement below:

I’ve been reeling from this for the past half hour, trying to wrap my mind and heart around it. Bill leaves such a void. He and I were close friends for 36 years, since we met on the set of a Roger Corman ultra-low budget movie. He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying “Paint that!”

We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends. What followed was 36 years of making films together, helping develop each others projects, going on scuba diving trips together, watching each others kids growing up, even diving the Titanic wreck together in Russian subs. It was a friendship of laughter, adventure, love of cinema, and mutual respect.

Bill wrote beautiful heartfelt and thoughtful letters, an anachronism in this age of digital shorthand. He took good care of his relationships with people, always caring and present for others. He was a good man, a great actor, and a creative dynamo. I hope that amid the gaudy din of Oscar night, people will take a moment to remember this wonderful man, not just for all the hours of joy he brought to us with his vivid screen presence, but for the great human that he was. The world is a lesser place for his passing, and I will profoundly miss him.