Bill Paxton, as you might recall, shines in roles such films as Apollo 13, Aliens, Weird Science, Titanic, and Twister. Paxton gives a powerful performance in the series Big Love playing the lead Bill Henrickson from 2006 to 2011. For that role, he rightfully earned himself a Golden Globe nomination. It follows another award-winning performance in the 2012 History Channel miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, portraying the infamous clan patriarch Randall.
Bill was a dedicated family man who had two children with his wife Louise Newbury, whom he married in 1987. Paxton and his family live in Ojai, California, in relative peace until 2017. He reveals that he is suffering from a damaged aortic heart valve, the result of rheumatic fever.
In mid-February of that year, Bill underwent open-heart surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA. To repair the valve and attempt to correct an aortic aneurysm that is putting his life in jeopardy. The following day, he rushes into surgery once again to repair a damaged coronary artery.
Sadly, his condition steadily declined over the next week and a half. On February 25, Bill suffered a fatal stroke and died at 61. Losing a loved one’s always heartbreaking, Paxton’s family receives another devastating moment they realize Bill’s death is not necessary.
Join Facts Verse as we analyze this incredibly touchy situation. Fortunately, recent developments seem to indicate that Paxton’s family can finally breathe easy. Stay tuned to find out why. But first, let’s take a quick look back on Bill Paxton’s life and career.
Bill’s Early Life And Film Career
The ‘Near Dark’ star was born William Paxton on May 17, 1955, in Fort Worth, Texas. Bill’s father, John Lane Paxton, was a businessman, museum executive, lumber wholesaler, and later on in life, the occasional actor. After his son’s acting career took off, John appears alongside him in films such as Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy and Raimi’s 1998 crime thriller A Simple Plan.
He’s in the crowd of onlookers in Forth Worth the morning he was killed and he’s only eight years old. By his personal connection to that national tragedy, Paxton eventually co-produced the 2013 film Parkland, which dealt with Kennedy’s assassination.
After graduating from Fort Worth’s Arlington Heights High School, Bill enrolled at Richmond College in London. While studying there, he met a fellow Texan named Tom Huckabee. Bill and Tom both shared a love for cinema and began making short films with their Super 8 camera. One of Bill’s favorite things to make them feel more authentic is designing and building the sets by hand.
After getting a feel for set design, Paxton moves to LA where he began working with props. After setting back when he is rejected by film schools in Southern California, Bill switches from directing to acting.
Bill Paxton’s Early Roles
A couple of Paxton’s early roles are in 1983s Mortuary, in which he plays a mortuary assistant. In 1984s Terminator, where he receives a relatively minor role as a punk. In 1985, he scored a supporting role playing the older brother of the lead in Weird Science. The following year, he played Private William Hudson in James Cameron’s Aliens. For that role, he earned himself the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 1987, Paxton played a psychotic vampire named Severen in the neo-Western horror flick Near Dark. Three years later, he made an appearance in Predator 2. In 1993, Paxton played the character Morgan Earp in Tombstone
Joining forces with James Cameron again, Paxton next appeared in 1994s True Lies followed by 1997s Titanic. It turns out to become the highest-grossing film of all time for a period before Avatar in 2009. In between those two Cameron offerings, Paxton played Fred Haise in Ron Howard’s Apollo 13.
The last significant role that Paxton would play in the 90s was that of Hank in 1998s A Simple Plan.
Film Career During 2000s and 2010s
The 2000s and 2010s were good to Bill as well. Some of his noteworthy films during this period of his career include 2000s U-571 and Vertical Limit, 2001s Frality, 2004s Broken Lizard’s Club Dread and Thunderbirds, and 2014s Nightcrawler.
Paxton has directed a handful of films as well. In addition to starring in it, Bill also directed 2001s Frailty. Four years later, he sat behind the camera for the production of 2005s The Greatest Game Ever Played. Bill directs the 2003 documentary Ghosts of the Abyss. Their expedition to the actual Titanic four years after the release of the box-office smash they worked on together.
We already briefly covered Paxton’s television roles on offerings such as HBO’s Big Love and The History Channels Hatfields & McCoys, but Bill also played a villain in ABCs Agent’s of S.H.I.E.L.D in 2014. In 2016, he is cast in the CBS crime-thriller series Training Day. Paxton’s final film appearance was in James Pnsoldt’s 2017 techno-thriller The Circle.
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Paxton’s Family Filed A Wrongful-Death Lawsuit
A year after his death, Bill Paxton’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the surgeon that had performed his operations – a man by the name of Ali Khoynezhad. In that lawsuit, they alleged that Khoynezhad had used unconventional and high-risk methods that he had lacked the experience to attempt.
They further criticized him for not being present in the operating room when Bill started experiencing complications like ventricular dysfunction tachycardia – otherwise known as a compromised right coronary artery – which possibly could have contributed to the arterial damage that required his second operation and ultimately brought about his death.
Paxton’s Family Has Reached A Partial Settlement
While the previously mentioned lawsuit is set for trial in the Los Angles Superior Court in September of 2022, Paxton’s family reached a partial settlement with General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership, the medical group that oversaw aspects of Bill’s surgical care, in February of 2022.
According to court documents that were submitted to the Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, February 23rd, attorneys for the medical group are seeking approval for an agreed-upon $1 million settlement between the company and Paxton’s family.
General Anesthesia Specialists Partnership is still denying any direct responsibility for the actor’s death, but according to those court papers, their intention behind the settlement was to reach an agreement that would provide reasonable compensation to Paxton’s family while avoiding having to go through a lengthy and costly court proceedings.
At the moment, the settlement approves. Currently, it needs to undergo review by the court to ensure that it is made in good faith.
Another detail that we recently learned from court filings is Paxton’s family’s claim that Cedars-Sinai ‘misrepresented or concealed information’ pertaining to the risk of surgery and care that was going to be provided to Bill. They further insist that the doctors that oversaw his care failed to adequately explain the treatment and procedures that he needed.
The family’s attorney Bruce Broillet put out a statement not long after his death that stated that Bill and his Family had trusted the physicians and staff at the hospital, but instead Cedars-Sinai had betrayed their trust. The statement concluded by saying that the surgeon, Dr. Khoynezhad’s actions directly resulted in Bill’s ‘tragic and preventable death’.
While a million dollars might sound like a lot of money to most people, no amount of money could ever bring back a deceased loved one. And if the medical professionals at Cedars-Sinai did act negligently, throwing money at the situation hardly seems like justice.
Bill Paxton’s Net Worth at the Time of His Death
Bill Paxton’s net worth at the time of his death is somewhere in the ballpark of $25 million, so it’s unlikely that his family is taking these actions out of greed or need. They seem to truly believe that Bill’s death was preventable. What they probably want ultimately is for no other family to have to go through the pain and heartache that they have had to contend with.
Really, this lawsuit can be a noble deed. Medicine has definitely come a long way in the last century or so, but clearly, it’s still not a perfect science. Accidents happen, and mistakes still get made. Hopefully, however, in the future, these kinds of senseless mishaps will become less common.
Bill Paxton Cause of Death
Sadly, Bill Paxton wasn’t the first – nor will he likely be the last – celebrity to die presumably due to medical malpractice. Stars like Joan Rivers, John Ritter, and Freddie Prinze also had their lives cut short allegedly because of the incompetence of their care providers.
Doctors are the ones we turn to when we need help the most – and to be fair, most of them do a great job tending to our medical needs – but occasionally, they drop the ball just like everyone else. Unfortunately, when doctors make mistakes, the result can be disastrous.
Bill Paxton’s family might be able to breathe a bit easier by this recent victory, but their journey is far from over. We are all eagerly waiting to see what will happen in September when their wrongful-death lawsuit goes to trial. It’s conceivable, though, that yet another settlement will keep this case out of the courtroom entirely.
Anyway, now it’s your turn to let your voice be heard. Do you think that Bill Paxton’s death really could have been prevented, or do you think that his doctors likely did everything in their power to keep him alive? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.
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