Bill Paxton died this Saturday at the age of 61. The actor starred in several movies throughout the 80s and 90s, but his role in Twister particularly stuck in the collective memory. Storm chasers paid tribute to Paxton on Sunday in a very special way.
Roughly 200 storm spotters and meteorology enthusiasts got together in a synced effort to spell out the actor’s initials in the Tornado Alley in the state of Oklahoma.
CBS will roll a dedication message before Tuesday’s episode of Training Day, the spinoff drama based on the 2001 film starring Bill Paxton and Justin Cornwell. The series finished shooting its first season last December, and four of eleven episodes have aired.
Spotter Network honored Bill Paxton on Sunday
— Aaron Brackett (@Aaron_Brackett) February 26, 2017
After learning of his passing, John Wetter of Spotter Network started getting in touch with other storm chasers to plan something very special for Bill Paxton.
Spotter Network is a non-profit association of meteorology enthusiasts that helps with tornado tracking and other climate phenomena in partnership with the National Weather Service.
Storm spotters and chasers help the government entity track tornados with more accuracy and, from time to time, the community gathers to honor people who have made significant contributions to the field. This has happened only four or five times before.
“THIS IS THE FIRS TIME WE’VE GONE WAY OUTSIDE OF THAT. THERE ARE PROBABLY HUNDREDS, IF NOT THOUSANDS, OF METEOROLOGISTS TODAY WHO WERE IMPACTED BY ‘TWISTER’ AND THE ROLE BILL PLAYED ON THAT,” Wetter told The Associated Press.
So on Sunday, approximately 200 enthusiasts coordinated their GPS signals across hundreds of miles of the southern plains of Oklahoma to spell ‘BP’ for the late actor. The initials could be seen in weather satellite maps and services.
Bill Paxton left a mark on more than weather science
In the world of acting, Bill Paxton never really received critical acclaim in spite of having an impressive trajectory. He took mostly character roles to kickstart his career, and later on transitioned to more serious performances in both the big and the small screen.
The actor is widely remembered as a sci-fi icon for his appearances in The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), Predator 2 (1990), and Apollo 13 (1995). Twister (1996) came after those films and left a lasting mark in the meteorology community for bringing the field to the spotlight in a Hollywood film.
Paxton would later take TV roles that would mark a new chapter in his career, starring in HBO’s drama Big Love from 2001 to 2006. He also had a lead role in History’s Hatfields & McCoys and most recently on CBS’ Training Day reboot.
The veteran star passed away due to complications after heart surgery on Saturday afternoon at the age of 61. He is survived by his wife and his two children.
Source: Entertainment Weekly