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Patrick Wayne Swayze ( ; August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009) was an Americanmarker 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 named by People magazine as its "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1991.

Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2008. He continued acting until 2009, when he became too ill to do so. Later the same year he died from the disease.

Early life

Patrick Swayze was born on August 18, 1952 in Houstonmarker, Texas, the second child of Patricia "Patsy" Yvonne Helen (née Karnes; born 1927), a choreographer, dance instructor, and dancer, and Jesse Wayne Swayze (1925–1982), an engineering draftsman. He had two younger brothers, actor Don Swayze (born 1958) and Sean Kyle (born 1962), and two sisters, Vickie Lynn (1949–1994) and Bambi (who was adopted). Swayze was a sixth cousin once removed of commentator John Cameron Swayze, and a relative of noted Texas Revolution soldier Henry Karnes.

Until the age of twenty, 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 Schoolmarker. During this time, he also pursued multiple artistic and athletic skills, such as ice skating, classical ballet, and acting in school plays. He played football for his high school and was hoping to receive a football scholarship to college until a knee injury ended his career. He studied gymnastics at nearby San Jacinto College for two years.

In 1972, he moved to New York City to complete his formal dance training at the Harkness Ballet and Joffrey ballet schools.

Career

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 Broadwaymarker production of Grease before his début 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. 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 co-star, Jennifer Grey. Dirty Dancing, a coming of age story set to film 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 $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 co-written with Stacy Widelitz for the film Grandview, U.S.A. The song became a top ten hit and has been covered by other artists.

After Dirty Dancing, Swayze found himself heavily typecast and appeared in several flops, of which Road House was the most successful. His biggest hit came in 1990, when he starred in Ghost, with Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. In 1991, he starred alongside Youngblood cast mate Keanu Reeves in another major action hit, Point Break, and was also chosen by People magazine as that year's "Sexiest Man Alive."

Swayze was seriously injured in 1998 while filming HBO's Letters from a Killer near Ionemarker, California when he fell from a horse and hit a tree. Both of his legs were broken and he suffered four detached tendons in his shoulder. Filming was suspended for two months, but the film aired in 1999. Swayze recovered from his injuries, but he had trouble resuming his career until 2000, when he co-starred in Waking Up in Reno, with Billy Bob Thornton and Charlize Theron, and in Forever Lulu, with Melanie Griffith.

In 2001, he appeared in Donnie Darko, where he played a motivational speaker and closet pedophile, and in 2004, he played Allan Quatermain in King Solomon's Mines. He also had a cameo appearance in the Dirty Dancing sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights as an unnamed dance instructor.

Swayze made his West End theatremarker début in the musical Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit on July 27, 2006, alongside Neil Jerzak, and remained in the role until November 25, 2006. His previous appearances on the Broadway stage had included productions of Goodtime Charley (1975) and Chicago (2003).

In 2007, Swayze starred in the film Christmas in Wonderland. Swayze played an aging rock star in Powder Blue, co-starring his younger brother Don in their first film together. Swayze starred in the A&E FBImarker drama The Beast, filmed in Chicago, as FBI Agent Charles Barker.

Personal life

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.

As a reaction to his father's death at age 57 from a heart attack in 1982, Swayze began to drink heavily. His sister Vicky committed suicide by overdose in 1994, leading him to seek treatment for alcoholism. After initial recovery, he temporarily withdrew from show business, retreating to his ranches in California and Las Vegasmarker, New Mexicomarker, to breed Arabian horses. His best-known horse was Tammen, a chestnut Arabian stallion. Swayze was a former Scientologist.

Swayze, was a licensed pilot with an instrument rating, made the news on June 1, 2000, while flying with his dogs in his twin-engine Cessna from Van Nuysmarker, California to Las Vegas. His plane developed a pressurization problem over northern Arizonamarker, causing Swayze to make a precautionary landing on a dirt road in a housing complex in Prescott Valleymarker. The plane's right wing struck a light pole that he hadn't seen from the air, but Swayze was unharmed. He locked up the cockpit, left it parked in the subdivision, and obtained a ride (with his dogs) from a passing vehicle, allegedly in order to telephone the authorities. According to the police report, witnesses said that Swayze appeared to be extremely intoxicated and asked for help to remove evidence (including an open bottle of wine and a 30-pack of beer) from the crash site. He made himself unavailable to police for several hours. It was later determined that the alcohol in question was not in the cabin but stored in external storage compartments inaccessible in flight and that the probable cause of the accident was Swayze's physical impairment due to the cumulative effects of carbon monoxide from engine exhaust by-products, carbon monoxide from heavy tobacco use, and the loss of an undetermined amount of cabin pressurization.

Illness and death

Swayze was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in late January 2008, and underwent chemotherapy and treatment with an experimental drug Vatalanib to cut off the blood supply to the tumor  at the Stanford University Medical Centermarker. On March 5, 2008, a Reuters article reported that Swayze "has a very limited amount of disease, and he appears to be responding well to treatment thus far." Swayze's doctor confirmed that the actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but insisted he was not as close to death as reports suggest. Despite repeated tabloid claims that his death was imminent, Swayze continued to actively pursue his career. Specifically, Swayze was diagnosed with a type of pancreatic tumor called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm.


In early May 2008, it was widely reported in a number of tabloids that Swayze had undergone surgery to remove part of his stomach after the spread of the cancer and that he had rewritten his will, transferring his property to his wife. In a statement made on May 28, Swayze said that he continued to respond well to treatment at Stanford University Medical Center. In late May 2008, he was seen at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game, his first public appearance since his diagnosis. In 2008 Swayze was treated with Cyberknife radiotherapy cancer treatment.

In late July 2008, six months after reportedly being given just weeks to live by medical experts, Swayze was asked by reporter in Los Angeles airport about this health. He replied, "I'm cooking. I'm a miracle dude. I don't know why".

Swayze appeared on the ABC, NBC, and CBS simulcast of Stand Up to Cancer in September 2008, to appeal to the general public for donations for the initiative. Swayze said to a standing ovation "I dream that the word 'cure' will no longer be followed by the words 'it's impossible'. Together, we can make a world where cancer no longer means living with fear, without hope, or worse". After the show ended, Swayze remained on-stage and talked to other cancer patients; executive producer Laura Ziskin said, "He said a beautiful thing: 'I'm just an individual living with cancer'. That's how he wants to be thought of. He's in a fight, but he's a fighter". In late 2008, Swayze denied claims made by tabloids that the cancer had spread to his liver. Swayze told Barbara Walters in January 2009 that he wanted the media to report that he was "kicking it".

When Barbara Walters asked him if he was using any holistic or alternative methods of treatment besides the chemotherapy, Swayze admitted to using some Chinese herbs, but not much. He then voiced his opposition to alternative therapy, as noted by ABC News journalist Joseph Brownstein:

Because of the grim prognosis, many patients turn to alternative therapies without scientific evidence behind them. Swayze did not.


: "That's one thing I'm not gonna do, is chase, is chase staying alive. I'm not, you know, you'll spend so much time chasing staying alive you won't live, you know? I wanna live. If anybody had that cure out there like so many people swear to me they do, you'd be two things: you'd be very rich, and you'd be very famous. Otherwise, shut up," he told Barbara Walters in an interview that aired in January of this year.


Swayze's feelings may be correct, according to a study released last month in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. That study—from Columbia University Medical Center—compared standard pancreatic cancer care, including the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine, with a popular alternative therapy known as the Gonzalez regimen. Researchers found that patients on the alternative regimen had a median survival time of a little over 4 months, while patients taking the standard of care regimen survived for a median of 14 months.


His last role was the lead in an A&E TV series, The Beast, which premiered on January 15, 2009. Owing 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 cancelled. In an interview with Barbara Walters which aired in January 2009, Swayze admitted that he had a "tiny little mass" in his liver. On January 9, 2009, Swayze was hospitalized with pneumonia. The pneumonia was said to be a complication of chemotherapy treatments for Swayze's cancer. On January 16, he was released from the hospital to rest at home with his wife. On April 19, 2009, doctors informed Swayze that the cancer had again metastasized to his liver. Swayze stated that his chain smoking probably "had something to do with" the development of his disease. Photos taken of a gaunt Swayze in the months before his death showed him continuing to smoke.

Swayze died "with family at his side" on September 14, 2009, at age 57, 20 months after being diagnosed. Swayze's publicist, Annett Wolf, confirmed to CNN that he had died of pancreatic cancer. He was cremated and his ashes scattered over his New Mexico ranch.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
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 TV miniseries
1986 Youngblood Derek Sutton
North and South, Book II Orry Main TV miniseries
1987 Dirty Dancing Johnny Castle Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Steel Dawn Nomad
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 TV miniseries

Uncredited; archive footage from previous episodes
1995 Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of

Pecos Bill
Pecos Bill
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
11:14 Frank
2004 Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights Dance class instructor Prequel to Dirty Dancing
George and the Dragon Garth
King Solomon's Mines Allan Quatermain
2005 Keeping Mum Lance
Icon Jason Monk
2006 The Fox and the Hound 2 Cash (voice) Animated film
2007 Jump! Richard Pressburger
Christmas in Wonderland Wayne Saunders
2009 Powder Blue Velvet Larry
The Beast Charles Barker TV series


References

  1. 'Dirty Dancing' star Patrick Swayze at 57
  2. [1]
  3. Biography at Don Swayze's Official Site.
  4. Distinguished Houston Independent School District Alumni. Retrieved on 2009-04-20.
  5. " F.M. Black Middle School, Houston, Texas - General Information. Retrieved on 2009-04-20.
  6. Grease, Replacement Cast at Internet Broadway Database
  7. M*A*S*H (episode #9.18, April 6, 1981) at the Internet Movie Database.
  8. The Renegades (TV series) at Internet Movie Database.
  9. (in German) Patrick Swayze - Biografie auf Gala.de
  10. Dirty Dancing, The E! True Hollywood Story, first aired 2000-09-03
  11. Goodtime Charley Opening Night Cast at Internet Broadway Database.
  12. Chicago Replacement Cast at Internet Broadway Database.
  13. (Swayze on Stand Up to Cancer).
  14. Patrick Swayze Calls Tabloid Reports on Condition "Lies"" TV Guide. December 2, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-12-03.
  15. Joseph Brownstein, Did Swayze's Dancing Help in Cancer Battle? ABC News Medical Unit, Sept. 16, 2009
  16. Santos, Kristin Dos; Godwin, Jennifer (9 Jan. 2009) "Patrick Swayze Hospitalized With Pneumonia". |E! Entertainment.
  17. King, Tim (April 19, 2009). Patrick Swayze Gravely Ill But Very Much Alive Salem (Oregon) News. 2009-04-19.
  18. Lemire, Christie. "'Dirty Dancing' star Patrick Swayze at 57". Seattle Times. 2009-09-14.
  19. "US film star Patrick Swayze dies." BBC. 2009-09-15.
  20. "Patrick Swayze dies of cancer at 57". CNN.com. 2009-09-14.


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