Sorting the Stars: Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman

[E] Sally J. FreedmanPop Culture16 Comments


You know what’s more confusing than actors who bear a physical resemblance? Actors who have that going for them AND extremely similar names. Today, I’m sorting Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman at Selena’s request, but as I started skimming IMDB, I’m not entirely sure I knew they were two separate people. 



This is Bill Pullman (photo from

Bill Pullman

Born 1953

Notable Roles: He played the president in Independence Day, he played opposite Sandra Bullock in While You Were Sleeping, and he was in my childhood favorite, Spaceballs. He was also in Titan A.E. (see below as to why this might be important)





Bill Paxton (photo from IMDB)

Bill Paxton

Born 1955

Notable Roles: He’s been in Titanic (same first five letters as Titan A.E., but so not), Apollo 13, and Twister. He’s the only actor to have appeared in the Aliens trilogy AND the Predator trilogy.

So after looking at what these two men have accomplished, I understand Selena’s dilemma. They are close in age and have similar features. At first, I was going to say, “If it’s an action flick, it’s Paxton.” But there’s Independence Day on Pullman’s list. Then I discovered that Paxton starred in Big Love. So.

If you are watching Big Love, it’s Bill Paxton.

If you are watching Spaceballs, it’s Bill Pullman.

If you are watching an action flick that isn’t Independence Day, it’s probably Bill Paxton.

Selena, did this help you out at all? If nothing else, know that my research validates your confusion!

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[E] Sally J. FreedmanSorting the Stars: Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman

16 Comments on “Sorting the Stars: Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman”

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  1. Profile photo of Leezaleigh

    Can we have one with Dennis Hopper and Anthony Hopkins please???? For the longest time I’ve been telling people Anthony Hopkins died, when in fact it was Dennis Hopper.  I can never tell these two apart… they’re always the evil old guy!!

    1. Profile photo of Dormouse

      I have to argue with you there because Aliens is a GREAT movie, and Paxton, not Pullman, is in it. Apollo 13 is good too. (But Titanic really drags Paxton down, no pun intended.)

  2. Profile photo of
    Kortney Thoma

    I get those two confused all the time too! Not sure the line between them is good enough though–funny how they both take an interest in space/alien themed movies! But the Big Love distinction is good…

  3. Profile photo of Scarlett Waldorf
    Scarlett Waldorf

    I have the same problem with Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney  I’ve just combined their names into one: Dylan-McDermot-Mulroney which I use to tell people whose in what movie they can figure out for themselves which ones it actually is.

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