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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Friends who knew prolific actor Bill Paxton when he was in high school recalled memories of the Fort Worth native, who passed away due to complications from surgery.

Paxton’s sudden passing stunned Rosemary Burton who was the actor’s drama teacher when he was a senior at Arlington Heights High School.

The 91-year-old recalled his passion for performing.

“I saw improvement in him. He no longer came in just to have fun,” said Burton. “He worked hard.”

Burton followed Paxton’s success and watched many of his movies.

“He could do comedy. But he could do serious things too,” said Burton. “I was pleased with that.”

Paxton’s memorable roles included blockbusters like “Titanic,” “Apollo 13” and “The Terminator.” He was also currently starring in the CBS drama “Training Day.”

Burton was proud that the actor didn’t let fame get to his head.

“I’m proud of his attitude,” said Burton. “Stardom didn’t hit him and ruin his appreciation of people along the way.”

Joe Lancarte, the owner of Joe T. Garcia’s and high school friend, was shocked when he learned of the actor’s passing.

“When I heard about it this morning, I was floored,” said Lancarte. Like, no way. It’s very sad and shocking.”

Lancarte said Paxton always ordered the same meal when he was in town.

“He always went with the enchilada dinner,” said Lancarte.

The Fort Worth Independent School District also released a statement Sunday which said, “We are saddened to learn of Mr. Paxton’s passing. We only wish peace for his family.”