James Cameron & Bill Paxton

Ever since I heard the announcement of Bill Paxton’s death on Sunday morning, I’ve realized that there’s a whole lot I didn’t know about the talented actor. For example, I didn’t realize director James Cameron and Bill Paxton had been friends for several decades until I read Cameron’s touching response to Paxton’s death, which he shared in an email to Vanity Fair on Sunday afternoon. According to Cameron, the two started working together on someone else’s films, building sets for director Roger Corman. From there, they became not only collaborators, on films like Titanic, but also close friends.

TMZ broke the story that Paxton died of surgery complications and in a statement, Paxton’s family shared, “A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker.”

Paxton’s above-mentioned decades of work were frequently spent alongside Cameron. Their first on-screen collaboration was Terminator, in which Paxton was given a small (but hilarious) role as a punk who is given the old one-two by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s robot self at Griffith Observatory. Later, Paxton would go on to appear as a supporting actor in Cameron’s most heralded films — Aliens, True Lies, and Titanic. He was also a part of Cameron’s undersea documentary, Ghosts of the Abyss, in which the duo and historians travel to the final resting place of the Titanic.

Source: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Cameron’s words about his late friend really pulls at the heart strings. The opening, — “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” — is totally a sentiment that can be shared by anyone who’s experienced a loss. The full statement is as follows:

What a beautiful tribute, shared by someone who clearly knew Paxton well and will miss him greatly.

Bill Paxton in the following video talks about him and Cameron being on PCP together…  Somebody spiked the on set clam chowder!  A case of beer saved the day…