Patrick Swayze, A Requiem

An Idol of My Youth

Patrick Swayze was one of the idols of my youth. He died on Monday, September 14, 2009, of pancreatic cancer, in Los Angeles, California. He was 57 years old.

I'm 52 years old in October.

We are all mortal; all flesh is grass. I've admired Mr. Swayze for many years now, and his passing strikes me to the heart.

He'll live in my mind from the time I was young and he was young and the world was new; full of hope and energy and dancing and laughter. When we were young we thought we'd be young forever. Youth--it's sparkle, it's glamour, seemed to be ours forever.

Patrick Swayze. Oh, what a physique! I watched "Dirty Dancing" in the movie theater with my mouth open, mostly.

Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing"

Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing"

Patrick Swayze as Sam Wheat in "Ghost"

"Ghost" was one of the few films my ex-husband and I saw together. What a touching, romantic film! What a great performance! I won't forget how Patrick Swayze haunted Whoopi Goldberg by singing, "'Henery the Eighth I Am, I Am...", over and over... Patrick had that truly engaging grin of his going the whole time. You could tell, he thought this scene was hilarious!

 

Patrick Swayze as Vida Boheme in "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar"

I admired Mr. Swayze for his role in "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar", which was a really humorous and weirdly moving film; a drag-queen comedy-drama offbeat thing. He had a lot of courage to do that movie, getting so far away from his very masculine, heartthrob image, but I must say, he looked beautiful in drag. He made a beautiful woman.

Mr. Swayze had a great sense of humour. It really shows through in his films.

I admired Mr. Swayze for his lifestyle, too. He owned a ranch in Northern California where he raised horses. He and his wife, Lisa Niemi, have been married for 34 years. They lived a healthy, outdoor lifestyle, far away from the clicking cameras of the paparazzi.

He and his wife met when she was 15 and he was 19. Lisa took dancing lessons from Patrick's mother, Patsy Swayze, who was a film photographer and dance teacher. (Her film credits include "Urban Cowboy".)

Lisa has a pilot's license. She has flown Patrick back and forth for his treatments in Los Angeles. Lisa also had a career as a dancer; she was Patrick's rehearsal partner for his dance roles in films.

I saw the Barbara Walters special in January of 2009 on TV, and Mr. Swayze still looked good then, but he was very up front about his illness and his chances for continued survival. He did say that filming the television series, "The Beast", for A & E, over the summer of 2008, was purely hell. Mr. Swayze was very sick, very weak--not only from the illness but from the treatments. But he made the commitment to the project so he was duty-bound to complete it. I admired that so much.

I saw the pilot of that show on TV, and Mr. Swayze managed to carry off that role with his usual panache and charm. You couldn't really tell he was sick. The show did all right in the ratings, too, and it was because of Mr. Swayze.

Barbara Walters, when she ended the interview, said she would come back next year, in 2010, and they'd do this again. Ms. Walters's eyes were glittery with unshed tears as she said this, and she barely had her voice under control.

I saw a supermarket tabloid picture of Mr. Swayze over this summer. I was shocked at the change in Mr. Swayze's appearance. He was so thin! Gone was the beautiful physique. His skin was hanging off his bones; he had lost his hair; and he looked like he aged 20 or 30 years since January. I wondered if the tabloids photoshopped his picture to make him look worse for the shock value.

But no, our brave Mr. Swayze's life was hanging by a thread. This illness had taken such a toll on him, but he was still trying for the grin.

My prayers go out from my heart to Mr. Swayze and his wife, Lisa. God bless and keep Lisa, and may Patrick Swayze rest in peace.

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Comments 10 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I agree so much!


claudete grade 6 years ago

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Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you for those kind words, retellect. He is missed, sorely.


retellect profile image

retellect 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Great hub for a great man! I'll always remember him for Dirty Dancing, he will be missed by many.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I did not know you bought the book through my review, that is great! Swayze was definitely a great man that will be missed. Lovely hub in tribute of one of my favorite actors!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

I just found out from another hub, a book review hub from Sweetie Pie called Popular Books for Sale, that there's a bio, "The Time of My Life" , written by Patrick Swayze's wife Lisa out. I got that book from Amazon through her hub. Thank you everyone for the comments. I can't wait to read this book, because it's the real deal--it was written by his wife.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

he is one of my favorite actor. "ghost" and "dirty Dancing" is my favorite movie of him. he is so talented and handsome also. rest in peace...Patrick!


Catherine R profile image

Catherine R 7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

Yeah - he was great. Very sad that he has died.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Ah, Island Voice, I know. I cried.


IslandVoice profile image

IslandVoice 7 years ago from Hawaii

It is very sad to see him go at such a young age. Such a good husband and truly a very talented actor. I liked him in Dirty Dancing and Ghost very much. RIP Patrick.

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