Bill Paxton remembered by Tucson studio preserving 'Tombstone' l - Tucson News Now

Bill Paxton remembered by Tucson studio preserving 'Tombstone' legacy

SOURCE: Old Tucson Archives SOURCE: Old Tucson Archives
SOURCE: Old Tucson Archives SOURCE: Old Tucson Archives
SOURCE: Old Tucson Archives SOURCE: Old Tucson Archives
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The film "Tombstone" captured the nostalgia for the old west with a legendary story, and a legendary cast, that brought people back to a legendary time. It's a period that is still in existence at Old Tucson Studios. Preservation remains one of the goals for Entertainment Director Rob Jensen. 

Jensen sat in his office Sunday, Feb. 26, scrolling through the archives, remembering his time when the "Tombstone" film crew took over in 1993. It was a year when Jensen was a fellow actor in the various productions at the theme park. He remembered his encounters with actor Bill Paxton.

"Bill was on a break from filming. In his full Morgan Earp costume he stood by the bleachers with the crowd and watched (our) whole show," Jensen said.

A Paxton family representative said the charismatic actor died from complications from surgery. He was 61. The Texas native's credits included notable movies of the past 40 years, from "Titanic" and "Apollo 13" to "The Terminator" and "Aliens." But the one hitting close to home is his performance in "Tombstone" which was filmed in southern Arizona at Old Tucson. 

Paxton had a lasting impact on the area.

“Bill and Sam Elliott in particular, any time they had an opportunity, they would walk away from the set, up to the ropes, to say hi to people," Jensen said, talking about how Old Tucson remains open to the public even as films are in production. "They would shake hands and take photos. Just really, really down to earth.”

It was also a lasting memory for Jensen. Especially when "Tombstone" remains a lasting piece of the studio, he said it was "one of our last big blockbusters of the area that stayed here for the entire movie."

Fans like Michael Martin, visiting Old Tucson on Sunday, remembers the Morgan Earp character the most.

“He had the mustache and the six-shooter on his side," said Martin, the "Tombstone" fan visiting from Illinois. “Each character had their own meaning. That’s what I remember about it.” 

The image of Paxton in costume in Tucson was drawing up sad memories for all, as they learned of Paxton's death.

“Just one of the nicest guys, as far as a celebrity, that you’d ever meet," Jensen said. “I’ll always have that memory." 

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