Why David Mahoney From Halston Looks So Familiar

It's 2021, and the wait is finally over. At long last, after decades of patience, fans have their first fully realized onscreen representation of David J. Mahoney: World War II infantry captain, business tycoon, and philanthropist whose financial contributions to the field of neuroscience helped to propel the subject of brain health into the public eye.

He appears in the Netflix miniseries "Halston," the story of a fashion icon trapped between art and commerce. Here, Mahoney is portrayed as a pragmatist with a nose for business, reminding Halston that there's more money in selling a thousand of something than there is in selling just one — day one business school stuff. And if the face behind the performance seemed familiar, there's a good reason for it.

David Mahoney is played by an who was actor voted "Most Likely to Be Mistaken for Bill Paxton by Accident" by pretty much everyone. During his golden era, the guy was everywhere. Let's take a look at some of his more popular roles.

Bill Pullman lampooned Star Wars in Spaceballs

Space operas were pretty ubiquitous by 1987. We had already been gifted with "Krull," "Zardoz," and "Battle Beyond the Stars." But only one movie was brave enough to look at this overcrowded genre and ask, "Why isn't Michael Winslow doing any of the sound effects with his mouth?"

That movie was "Spaceballs," Mel Brooks' self-aware cash grab in the wake of the original "Star Wars" trilogy. The film saw Bill Pullman as Lone Star, a Han Solo parody with a flying Winnebago and a trusty Mawg (half man, half dog — he's his own best friend!) sidekick named Barf, played by John Candy. This was Pullman's first starring role, and only his second appearance on the big screen, following a supporting turn in 1986's "Ruthless People."

To hear Pullman talk about it, he was as surprised as anybody that Brooks offered him the part. In an interview with Geektyrant, he remembered the director feeling deflated when big names like Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks declined his offers: "I tried to get a Tom and I couldn't get him ... so I got a Bill," he recalled Brooks telling him. "... it configured differently, attracting two of the big comics at that time: John Candy and Rick Moranis," Pullman continued. "Once that was secured, then he said, 'heck, I'll get somebody nobody knows!' And I got a chance to do it."

He is very awake in While You Were Sleeping

With a new decade came a new cultural oeuvre. The Terminators were gooier, and the number of total Pokémon skyrocketed from zero to 151. For an all-too-brief moment, romantic comedies looked to be moving away from straightforward star-crossed relationships and more towards the madcap "Three's Company" hijinks inherent in conning the family of a comatose stranger into inviting you over for dinner.

"While You Were Sleeping" was many things. It was a box office phenomenon, raking in more than ten times its budget. In a glowing review, Roger Ebert recalled "beginning to care about the film, even though it was clearly hammered together out of completely predictable elements," and praised Pullman's portrayal of Jack, one of the movie's two love interests and the only one that isn't in a coma through most of the story.

It is also, with the benefit of hindsight, one of the most remarkably messed up '90s movies that readily springs to mind. Sandra Bullock saves a stranger/mugging victim (Peter Gallagher) when he's pushed onto the train tracks, then lies about being his fiancée to get into his hospital room, presumably to stare at him while his brain is turned off. As a result, she is welcomed into his family — while he is sleeping — and falls in love with his brother (Bill Pullman) instead. The poster is a picture of the two of them embracing next to the L train that almost killed a man and sent Bullock's character careening down an embankment of lies.

Also, everybody is charming the whole time. 

Bill Pullman became president of the planet

Not content to sit on his laurels, waiting for Sandra Bullocks to fall in love with him over and over, Bill Pullman branched out in the '90s. His career flourished, and like anyone with an ounce of gumption and all-American can-do attitude, he eventually became president.

More specifically, he became President Thomas J. Whitmore, the Gulf War veteran and loving father whose grimacing oration and fighter jet expertise saved not just these United States, but every nation, solidifying July 4 as the world's Independence Day. Also, he gave Randy Quaid a plane that shoots rockets, which, in retrospect, seems really ill-advised.

President Whitmore resurfaced in 2016, during "Independence Day: Resurgence." Now suffering from PTSD after the events of the first film, he becomes an unlikely cornerstone of Earth's defenses for a second time, thanks in part to the telepathic link that he shares with the invaders. More importantly, by landing a second paying gig in a decades-old franchise, he proves that the old axiom holds water: "Star in a billion-dollar franchise and you might just make a buck or two in 20 years or so."