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Patrick Swayze

Updated on February 22, 2013

Patrick Swayze has, for many years, been synonymous with the films Dirty Dancing and Ghost. That said, there's more to Patrick that just his on-screen personas. He's a talented dancer - and more than capable of holding the odd tune now and then. He's also a breeder of the beautiful Arab horse and has, in recent years, lent much of his time towards charitable causes.

On top of all that Patrick has enjoyed one of the most enduring marriages in La-La Land and most, if not all, of his highs - and lows - have been shared with his wife, Lisa Niemi.

Patrick Swayze


As far as the world was concerned, Patrick didn’t exist before he shot to fame in 1987, in the film Dirty Dancing. He was, at the time, considered to be the ‘King of Sleepers’, a reference to the fact that he truly did seem to jettison out of nowhere.

However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Patrick appeared on-screen – both small and large – on around twenty occasions, prior to Dirty Dancing hitting the movie circuit. Going even farther back, Swayze showed his abilities on the stage, performing in a Broadway production of Grease.

In real terms, he'd been on the scene, though flying under the radar, for quite some time.

Dirty Dancing

Patrick Swayze

Dirty Dancing

THAT Scene ...

The odd thing about Patrick Swayze and his defining role was the fact that it was never meant to enjoy such huge success. The makers of the film had created it on a very small budget, forecasting perhaps a weekend in movie theatres then reducing it to rental sales, via the video market.

Fortunately for them – and Patrick – the movie (literally) became an overnight smash, catapulting all involved into the stratosphere. The hearts of women the world over skipped a beat and I'm sure there was many a man that wanted to be at least a little bit like Johnny Castle. For my part, I just wanted to be Jennifer Grey.

The film was based around a 17 year old girl - Jennifer Grey as 'Baby' - coming of age whilst vacationing with her wealthy family, at a resort in the catskill Mountains. During her stay she becomes intrigued by the resident dance troupe and has a particular interest in Swayzes' working class character - Johnny Castle.

The film follows Baby and Johnnys' budding romance - the highs and lows and the ultimate happy ending - all set within a 1960s backdrop. Who could ever forget one of the most famous lines from the world of film ... 'No one puts Baby in a corner'

I know I never have.

Ghost 1990


The success of Dirty Dancing opened up a world of opportunity for Swayze but he had to wait another three years - until 1990 - before he enjoyed the same success once again. This came by way of another of the best loved films of all time – Ghost.

The films' tagline was 'a love that will last forever' and it certainly delivered as far as tear jerking films go. From the opening scenes, where Patricks' character, Sam Wheat, loses his life - right through to his last moments with his beloved Molly - the whole film tugs at your heart.

And has you weeping softly (or full on wailing) into your tissue. Or cushion. Depending on where you watched it.

The films plot line was simplicity itself; two people, deeply in love, separated prematurely by death. It made us all internalise about ... losing those that we love and in turn, reflect on the oft puzzled mystery of what happens after we die.

"It's amazing Molly. The love inside, you take it with you. See ya."

Patrick & Lisa

Patrick Swayze - Background History

Patrick Swayze was born on the 18th August, 1952. He is one of five children, having two brothers and two sisters, one of whom was adopted into the family. Patrick was raised in Houston, Texas.

His father, Jesse Swayze, worked in the engineering field and his mother, Patricia both choreographed and taught dancing.

Patrick was a student at his mothers’ dance school and it's where he met his wife, Lisa - she, too, was taught by his mother. Swayze has reportedly said, when questioned (presumably) about his past, that his father was the hub of the family; the loving, nurturing parent - whilst his mother was very driven and demanding.

Apparently, he believes that he draws his character from his father, as opposed to his mother. A surprising opinion from the outside looking in, when you consider the drive and ambition that Patrick must have needed, in order to become so successful in his field.

Patrick and one of his brothers, Don.
Patrick and one of his brothers, Don.

Unfortunately, in 1982, Patrick lost his father, Jesse, to a massive heart attack. Apparently, this was the base for some to believe that Swayze turned to alcohol, as a means of dealing with his loss.

However, he’s always denied being an alcohol dependant - though he has admitted that he’s used alcohol as a means of coping with some of the lower points he’s experienced during his life.

By 1994, Patrick had also lost his manager, and one of his sisters, Vicky, had committed suicide. Patrick was quoted as saying that she’d struggled with depression for many years and that her death changed not only changed his life, but his perspective as well.

Patrick Swayze - Now

Patrick, Lisa and one of their beautiful Arabs.
Patrick, Lisa and one of their beautiful Arabs.


Since the days of Ghost, Patrick has continued to work, in film and TV land, as well as appearing on a wide variety of chat shows. However ... not everything he’s touched has turned to gold but - he could never be accused of having been a slacker.

Not only has he delivered as an actor, in terms of box office success and ability, Patrick has also run a working ranch for many years. Patrick and his wife are quite well known for breeding Arabian horses and have have enjoyed relative success with the breed.

Patrick has been quoted as saying - having been asked what attracted him to this particular breed in the first place - that the beauty and grace of the breed, coupled with its fluid motion, has always fascinated him. Having owned Arabs in the past, I have to say that that's a good a reason as any.

Swayze has also devoted some of his time to charity work, particularly since he was diagnosed with cancer. Of course he's always been supported by his wife Lisa and they continue to enjoy a happy union, despite the goldfish bowl environment that they must have had to live within over the years.


As of now, Patrick continues to battle for his health and he's also released a book, written with his wife, and titled: One Last Dance.



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    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 

      9 years ago from South Carolina

      A good friend of mine died a couple of years ago of the same cancer.

      The later pictures of Patrick Swayze remind me of him.

      Thanks for the hub and good job.

    • neblotti profile image


      9 years ago from Poplar, WI

      Great Tribute to one of the best actors of all time. You don't find a love like him and his wife had in hollywood very often. It is so sad that this has happened to them they sure didn't deserve it. They are an inspiration to us all. Thanks again for the beautiful tribute to him.

    • icelandgirl profile image


      9 years ago

      One of my favorite Patrick Swayze films is one that was not so popular. "The Outsiders", he was great in the film. Thanks for posting a great tribute of the beloved actor.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What an interesting, thorough and well written hub for such a nice man.

    • Maria Marks profile image

      Maria Marks 

      9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Oh, I adored him! He was so good in Ghost.

    • thesamanthatyler profile image


      9 years ago from Hollywood, California

      he was an amazing man.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      9 years ago from Upstate New York

      I wrote a hub on Patrick, too. You put a lot more things into yours, I enjoyed it very much, thank you!

      I ordered a book from Amazon through Sweetie Pie's book review Hub, written by Lisa, titled, "The Time of My Life". It's due to ship on Sept. 29.

    • mayhmong profile image


      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for writing a hub about Patrick Swayze. I had no idea that he was such a great compassionate man. Wonder if the book if finish.

      BTW, what movie is Dirty Dancing Dancing at the top of your page?

    • Info Help profile image

      Info Help 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      Great hub on patrick swayze.

    • frogdropping profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Appletree - he surely did.

    • Appletreedeals profile image


      9 years ago from Salisbury, Maryland USA

      he fought to the end

    • frogdropping profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Trudy - Thankyou.

      Liam - thanks for that. I'll leave it as it was written.

      strictly - absolutely.

    • stricktlydating profile image


      9 years ago from Australia

      RIP to such a lovely man.

    • LiamBean profile image


      9 years ago from Los Angeles, Calilfornia

      I do believe that with film actors, as with authors, present tense is perfectly acceptable.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello there Frogdropping, TrudyVan here

      Thank you for the wonderful tribute to a great dancer and actor. I really enjoyed your hub. A very sad moment to all his fans.

    • frogdropping profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Patrick Swayze just seemed to behave as any other man would. His work was acting - his real role in life appeared to be that of husband, partner friend. This wasn't a tribute, more an article about him. As I've said before, I always liked the guy. I never saw him in anything I didb't particulary like.

      When I have a little time, I will edit and correct the tense of the hub. I wrote this prior to his passing and I don't feel right leaving it as it was originally written. And do not fear? - I really enjoyed him in North and South.

    • awesomeness79 profile image


      9 years ago from UK

      A really nice tribute to a seemingly lovely man. I still love Dirty Dancing!

    • Mitch King profile image

      Mitch King 

      9 years ago from Wilsoville, OR, USA

      It is a shame that he is fighting such a battle with cancer. What I admire is his devotion to his wife, this is so rare in Hollywood.

    • David J Bolton profile image

      David J Bolton 

      9 years ago from Back Bay, Boston

      Never considered one of the great actors by film critics (too many people think that "method" is what we want to see), he still had a good career and made some films that can be considered classics. Watching him act against Keanu Reeves in Point Break showed how good the guy was, his style was laid back but convincing and how many "method" actors can say that their movie was so iconic that it became a musical!

      Although the musical versions of "Scarface" or "Taxi Driver" would certainly open my wallet..........

      RIP Bodhi

    • Tom Cornett profile image

      Tom Cornett 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      Very nice tribute...he will live on in many, many memories through his movies. I did enjoy his work. Thanks! :)

    • donotfear profile image

      Annette Thomas 

      9 years ago from Northeast Texas

      Let's not forget his original television debut in the miniseries "North & South" in 1986 and the sequel. I watched every episode. He was then unknown, but I knew he was going to be big. He had a really great screen presence. When I watched him in the role or Orrin Main, I also knew he was an accomplished horseman. He rode like a professional, no doubt about it. What a loss..

    • messerc123 profile image


      9 years ago from El Paso, Texas

      Great hub frogdropping, I loved so many of his movies. He will be missed.

    • profile image


      9 years ago from INDIANAPOLIS,IN.


    • profile image

      Michelle L 

      9 years ago


    • emievil profile image


      9 years ago from Philippines

      Great tribute for a great actor. I really loved him in Ghost. Somehow, I never got to watch Dirty Dancing (was around 11 that time, not allowed to watch those kinds of movies) but I think I'll make it a point to watch it this month. Thanks froggy.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You did a wonderful job here. Another movie that my family enjoyed was "Road House" He could fight as good as he could dance.

    • kea profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice tribute! I love the movie Point Break and Patrick is awesome in that movie!

    • profile image

      Breaking point 

      9 years ago

      Yes frog, he was one of the greatest of all time. He had away to make all his movies look great, guess that was his charisma. He was the Last person to wish that kind of illness and end, but he will live on in his movies and our memories. So sad still.

    • profile image

      cece wagner 

      9 years ago

      let us please all send out our prayers to his family in this time of sorrow.

    • tammyfrost profile image

      Tammy Frost 

      9 years ago from Oregon

      Thanks for sharing the details of Patrick...I just wrote an article on why his death wasn't as dramatic as Michael Jackson's. If you have a comment...Please base your opinion or facts....Thank-you again, Patrick Swayze was my favorite!

    • frogdropping profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Mardi - I had this started ages ago. Almost forgot about it and when I was doing the challenge, I read an article that showed him looking really well. I decided to finish it and published it as one of my challenge hubs. I knew pretty much everything I wrote already, though I checked facts etc.

      I was also a trained ballet dancer and totally understood his dedication and appreciation of the art. I just really liked the guy. I'm a bit gutted to be honest. I actually thought he was going to be like my cousin - one in a million that beats the illness.

      I'm glad you wrote a little about who he really was, from someone that met him. Next time I'm in the UK I'm dragging my Swayze vids out.

    • Mardi profile image

      Mardi Winder-Adams 

      9 years ago from Western Canada and Texas

      Thanks frogdropping for a very compassionate article about a genuine great guy that didn't turn into someone else with a bit of fame. I know a person that worked with him on a charity event and said he was a real person and truly cared about what he was doing and giving back to those in need.

    • frogdropping profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago

      Ahhhh a great shame Breaking point. I watched everything he did, pretty much and some of them many times over. I always liked his films and his public persona. I wasn't aware until a few hours ago. RIP indeed :(

    • profile image

      Breaking point 

      9 years ago

      R.I.P Patrick 14.9.09 :-(


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