Yahoo: Patrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into viewers’ hearts with “Dirty Dancing” and then broke them with “Ghost,” died Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
“Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months,” said a statement released Monday evening by his publicist, Annett Wolf. No other details were given.
Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from a particularly deadly form of cancer.
He had kept working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting “The Beast,” an A&E drama series for which he had already made the pilot. It drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran in 2009, but A&E said it had reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.
Swayze said he opted not to use painkilling drugs while making “The Beast” because they would have taken the edge off his performance. He acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.
When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was “considerably more optimistic” than that.
“I’d say five years is pretty wishful thinking,” Swayze told ABC’s Barbara Walters in early 2009. “Two years seems likely if you’re going to believe statistics. I want to last until they find a cure, which means I’d better get a fire under it.”
A three-time Golden Globe nominee, Swayze became a star with his performance as the misunderstood bad-boy Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing.” As the son of a choreographer who began his career in musical theater, he seemed a natural to play the role.
A coming-of-age romance starring Jennifer Grey as an idealistic young woman on vacation with her family and Swayze as the Catskills resort’s sexy (and much older) dance instructor, the film made great use of both his grace on his feet and his muscular physique.
It became an international phenomenon in the summer of 1987, spawning albums, an Oscar-winning hit song in “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life,” stage productions and a sequel, 2004’s “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” in which he made a cameo.
Swayze performed and co-wrote a song on the soundtrack, the ballad “She’s Like the Wind,” inspired by his wife, Lisa Niemi. The film also gave him the chance to utter the now-classic line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
And it allowed him to poke fun at himself on a “Saturday Night Live” episode, in which he played a wannabe Chippendales dancer alongside the corpulent and frighteningly shirtless Chris Farley.
A major crowdpleaser, the film drew only mixed reviews from critics, though Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times, “Given the limitations of his role, that of a poor but handsome sex-object abused by the rich women at Kellerman’s Mountain House, Mr. Swayze is also good. … He’s at his best — as is the movie — when he’s dancing.”
Swayze followed that up with the 1989 action flick “Road House,” in which he played a bouncer at a rowdy bar. But it was his performance in 1990’s “Ghost” that showed his vulnerable, sensitive side. He starred as a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee (Demi Moore) — with great frustration and longing — through a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.
Swayze said at the time that he fought for the role of Sam Wheat (director Jerry Zucker wanted Kevin Kline) but once he went in for an audition and read six scenes, he got it.
Why did he want the part so badly? “It made me cry four or five times,” he said of Bruce Joel Rubin’s Oscar-winning script in an AP interview.
“Ghost” provided yet another indelible musical moment: Swayze and Moore sensually molding pottery together to the strains of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.” It also earned a best-picture nomination and a supporting-actress Oscar for Goldberg, who said she wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for Swayze.
“When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick,” Goldberg said in March 2008 on the ABC daytime talk show “The View.”
Swayze himself earned three Golden Globe nominations, for “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost” and 1995’s “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar,” which further allowed him to toy with his masculine image. The role called for him to play a drag queen on a cross-country road trip alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo.
His heartthrob status almost kept him from being considered for the role of Vida Boheme.
“I couldn’t get seen on it because everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho,” he told the AP then. But he transformed himself so completely that when his screen test was sent to Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin pictures produced “To Wong Foo,” Spielberg didn’t recognize him.
Among his earlier films, Swayze was part of the star-studded lineup of up-and-comers in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1983 adaptation of S.E. Hinton’s novel “The Outsiders,” alongside Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez and Diane Lane. Swayze played Darrel “Dary” Curtis, the oldest of three wayward brothers — and essentially the father figure — in a poor family in small-town Oklahoma.
Other ’80s films included “Red Dawn,” “Grandview U.S.A.” (for which he also provided choreography) and “Youngblood,” once more with Lowe, as Canadian hockey teammates.
In the ’90s, he made such eclectic films as “Point Break” (1991), in which he played the leader of a band of bank-robbing surfers, and the family Western “Tall Tale” (1995), in which he starred as Pecos Bill. He appeared on the cover of People magazine as its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991, but his career tapered off toward the end of the 1990s, when he also had stay in rehab for alcohol abuse. In 2001, he appeared in the cult favorite “Donnie Darko,” and in 2003 he returned to the New York stage with “Chicago”; 2006 found him in the musical “Guys and Dolls” in London…
Patrick Wayne Swayze (August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009) was an American actor, dancer and singer-songwriter. He was best-known for his roles as romantic leading men in the films Dirty Dancing and Ghost and as Orry Main in the North and South television miniseries. He was listed by People magazine as its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991.
Diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in January 2008, Swayze told Barbara Walters a year later that he was “kicking it”. However, he died from the disease on September 14, 2009. His last role was the lead in an A&E TV series, The Beast, which premiered on January 15, 2009. However, due to a prolonged decline in health, Swayze was unable to promote the series, and on June 15, 2009, Entertainment Tonight reported that the show had been canceled.
Patrick Swayze was born on August 18, 1952 in Houston, Texas, the eldest child of Patricia “Patsy” Karnes (born 1927), a choreographer, dance instructor, and dancer, and the late Jesse Wayne Swayze, an engineering drafter. He had two younger brothers, actor Don and Sean Kyle, and two sisters, Vicky Lynn (deceased) and Bambi, who were adopted into the family. Although the surname “Swayze” is of Welsh origin, the family is of mainly Irish descent (possibly with some Apache roots).
Until the age of 20, Swayze lived in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston, where he attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic School, Oak Forest Elementary School, Black Middle School, and Waltrip High School. During this time, he also pursued multiple artistic and athletic skills, such as ice skating, classical ballet, and acting in school plays. He studied gymnastics at nearby San Jacinto College for two years.
Swayze was married to Lisa Niemi from June 12, 1975 until his death. The couple first met in 1970 when Swayze was 18 years old. Niemi, 14 years old at the time, was taking dance lessons from Swayze’s mother. Swayze and Niemi had no children.
Swayze’s first professional appearance was as a dancer for Disney on Parade. He starred as a replacement for Danny Zuko in the long-running Broadway production of Grease before his debut film role as “Ace” in Skatetown, U.S.A.. He appeared as Pvt. Sturgis in the M*A*S*H episode “Blood Brothers” and had a brief stint in 1982 on a short lived TV series The Renegades playing a gang leader named Bandit. Swayze became known to the film industry after appearing in The Outsiders as the older brother of C. Thomas Howell and Rob Lowe. Swayze, Howell, and Howell’s friend Darren Dalton reunited in Red Dawn the next year, and Lowe and Swayze reunited in Youngblood, where he was considered a member of the Brat Pack. His first major success was in the 1985 television miniseries North and South, which was set during the American Civil War.
Swayze’s breakthrough role came with his performance as dance instructor Johnny Castle in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, alongside his Red Dawn costar, Jennifer Grey. Dirty Dancing was a low-budget project that was intended to be shown in theaters for one weekend only and then go straight to video, but it became a surprise hit and achieved massive international success.
It was the first film to sell one million copies on video, and as of 2007, has earned over US$ 300 million worldwide and spawned several alternate versions, ranging from a television series to stage productions to a computer game. Swayze received a Golden Globe Award nomination for the role and also sang one of the songs on the soundtrack, “She’s Like the Wind,” which he had originally cowritten with Stacy Widelitz for the film Grandview, U.S.A. The song became a top ten hit and has been covered by other artists, such as David Hasselhoff, and in 2006 was converted into a hip-hop version by Lumidee, who took it to the top of the charts in Germany.
|1979||Skatetown, U.S.A.||Ace Johnson|
|1983||Uncommon Valor||Kevin Scott|
|The Outsiders||Darrel “Darry” Curtis|
|1984||Red Dawn||Jed Eckert|
|Grandview, U.S.A.||Ernie “Slam” Webster|
|1985||North and South||Orry Main||(miniseries)|
|North and South, Book II||Orry Main||(miniseries)|
|1987||Dirty Dancing||Johnny Castle||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1988||Tiger Warsaw||Chuck “Tiger” Warsaw|
|1989||Next of Kin||Truman Gates||Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Actor (also for Road House)|
|Road House||Dalton||Nominated – Razzie Award for Worst Actor (also for Next of Kin)|
|1990||Ghost||Sam Wheat||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
|Saturday Night Live||Guest Host, Oct. 27, 1990||Memorable for sketch with Chris Farley auditioning to be Chippendales dancers|
|1991||Point Break||Bodhi||Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Male|
|1992||City of Joy||Max Lowe|
|1993||Father Hood||Jack Charles|
|1994||Heaven & Hell: North and South, Book III||Orry Main||(miniseries)
Uncredited; archive footage from previous episodes
|1995||Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of
|Three Wishes||Jack McCloud|
|To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar||Vida Boheme||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy|
|1998||Letters from a Killer||Race Darnell|
|Black Dog||Jack Crews|
|2000||Forever Lulu||Ben Clifton|
|2001||Donnie Darko||Jim Cunningham|
|Green Dragon||Gunnery Sergeant Jim Lance|
|2002||Waking Up in Reno||Roy Kirkendall|
|2003||One Last Dance||Travis MacPhearson||Directed by his wife, Lisa|
|2004||Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights||Dance class instructor||(Prequel to Dirty Dancing)|
|George and the Dragon||Garth|
|King Solomon’s Mines||Allan Quatermain|
|2006||The Fox and the Hound 2||Cash||(voice) (animated film)|
|Christmas in Wonderland||Wayne Saunders|
|2009||Powder Blue||Velvet Larry|
|The Beast||Charles Barker||(TV series)|