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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.
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.
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.
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 On IMDB
- Patrick Swayze
The lowdown on all Patricks film and tv appearances, plus individual synopsis of each of his films - if you want to know more about his cinematic appearances.
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.
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
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.