Bill Paxton is a cult and genre legend; he’s the only actor to have faced off against all three of these iconic sci-fi killing machines.
Cult hero Bill Paxton has the honor of being the only actor to have been killed by sci-fi’s most famous predatory creatures:a Predator, a xenomorph, and a Terminator. Paxton may not be as recognizable a name as the A-list movie stars he often shared the screen with, but film geeks celebrate him as one of the most prolific character actors in genre cinema. From science-fiction to action to horror, the man appeared in enough high-profile hits throughout the 1980s and 1990s to become a victim of three of the most iconic killing machines in blockbuster history. He is still the only actor to have accomplished this impressive feat.
The actor’s versatility and ability to harness a certain blue-collar energy and sensibility made even Paxton’s brief movie roles stand out as especially lively and memorable. The actor followed a deeply impressive work ethic, never letting a year go by without taking a job on a film set. Oftentimes, he showed up in more than one feature in the same year, and there was a triumphant fifteen-year stretch from 1983 to 1998 in which he was acted in at least one movie per year. Even late into his age and approaching his death due to coronary failure in 2017, Paxton continued to work in film and television, always making an impression with his own brand of quotable charm.
The Terminator was one of Bill Paxton’s first blockbuster roles, albeit a small one as a punk ne’er-do-well who confronts the T-800 when the cyborg first arrives in 1984 Los Angeles. However, the brief part was enough to make an impression on director James Cameron, who worked with him once more on the set of the seminal sequel Aliens in the much more iconic role of Private William Hudson. As his genre credits grew over the years, Paxton returned to the City of Angels in 1990 to bring his comedic masculinity to the role of LAPD Detective Jerry Lambert in Predator 2.
Bill Paxton Is the Only Actor To Be Killed by a Predator, Terminator, and Xenomorph
In The Terminator, Paxton gets thrown against the wall and presumably dies on impact, although this fate isn’t as bloody as his co-star Brian Thompson’s stabbing. Private Hudson’s death scene in Aliens is satisfyingly tragic, as the macho marine knew for his emotional breakdown and his pitifully freaked out exclamations of “Game over, man!” finally gathers enough courage to go down in a blaze of glory while he attempts to massacre a group of xenomorphs with his pulse rifle. Likewise, Detective Lambert helps to evacuate a subway car in Predator 2 before foolishly but heroically rushing at the creature while he shouts “Let’s dance!” His bravery doesn’t save him, but the scene is a reminder of Paxton’s sheer ability to die like a pro.
Lance Henriksen is the only actor to come close to Bill Paxton’s record, having also gotten shot by the T-800 in The Terminator and stabbed by a Predator in Alien vs. Predator. His Aliens character Bishop gets violently ripped apart by the xenomorph queen, but since he is an android, he technically survives and lives on, only “dying” when he asks to get “deactivated” in Alien 3. For now and seemingly forever, Bill Paxton reigns supreme as the preeminent victim of sci-fi’s most famous monsters.
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