10 Essential Bill Paxton Roles, From 'Aliens' to 'Big Love'
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From the 'Aliens' space marine to the polygamist patriarch of 'Big Love' – 10 essential Bill Paxton movie and TV roles. Photofest

Whether you knew him as the "Game over, man!" grunt from Aliens, the sadistic older brother of Weird Science, the polygamist patriarch on HBO's Big Love or any of his dozens of compelling cameos or clutch supporting roles, Bill Paxton was always a reliable presence – a Texas-born utility player who could go from sleazy to sympathetic, simpering to morally sound in seconds flat. The news of the 61-year-old actor's passing this morning filled social media feeds with fans quoting lines and namedropping their personal-best Paxton moments (who knew there were so many Hatfields & McCoys advocates out there?); frankly, boiling down a list of his most essential movie and TV roles to a mere 10 is tougher than you'd think. We've singled out these beyond-memorable turns, however, as our favorites of the gone-way-too-soon star.