Patrick Swayze Loses Valiant Fight, Dies At Age 57
Actor Patrick Swayze has lost his fight with pancreatic cancer. The man best known for playing a ghost seeking closure with his life, passed away yesterday after a bravely fought battle for the last 20 months.
Swayze, who starred in two hugely popular films, "Ghost" and "Dirty Dancing" became a heart throb through his sincere and earnest performances, making women swoon. He even had a hit song, "She's Like The Wind," from the "Dirty Dancing" soundtrack.
What makes Patrick unique in Hollywood is his anti-Hollywood persona. Married to his childhood sweetheart for the past 34 years and no hint of personal drama, Swayze was all class to the very end. His film choices and the passion in which he infused in his characters left an indelible mark on popular culture — plus his Texas charm and good looks made him loved by many women. He was like a genuinely gentle cowboy. Sigh.
Patrick Wayne Swayze was born on August 18, 1952, in Houston, Texas. His father was an engineering draftsman; his mother was a ballet dancer and later the director of the Houston Ballet Dance Company.
She led her son into the dancing world, which wasn't always easy for a Texas male. Indeed, the young Swayze played football, practiced martial arts and was an accomplished diver and track star while growing up, though he was good enough at dance to earn a college scholarship.
After an early professional job playing Prince Charming in an early '70s version of "Disney on Ice," Swayze returned to Houston, where he met Lisa Niemi, a student of his mother's. The two were married in 1975 and moved to New York to pursue their careers. See timeline of Swayze's life »
Swayze seemed set on a dance career: He studied with the prestigious Joffrey Ballet and joined another company, the Eliot Feld Ballet Company. But surgery for an old football injury ended his ballet career and he turned to acting, nabbing the lead role of Danny Zuko in the long-running Broadway production of "Grease" in 1978, around the time the movie starring John Travolta was hitting theaters. "Grease" earned him some Hollywood attention, and he and Niemi moved West.Continued on the next page