Patrick Swayze

     
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Real Name: Patrick Swayze
Birthday: August 18

Biography And Filmography:

Patrick Swayze was born in Texas and was a movie star whose experience in ballet and gymnastics  gave him a body well suited for his roles as muscular love interests or strong action heroes. Swayze never expected the popularity from his films “Dirty Dancing” (1987) and “Ghost” (1990), but after a long fight with alcohol and drugs, seemed to gain a new life that influenced his acting. 

Patrick was born on August 18, 1952, in Houston, Texas. His father, Jesse Wayne, had been a champion rodeo cowboy and Mom, “Patsy” Yvonne, was a dancer and choreographer who owned the Houston Jazz and Ballet Company. He began dance training with his mother at a young age, focusing on a ballet career even before dreams of acting. Three years later, he got his first break in the business when he was offered a part as Prince Charming in the “Disney on Parade” national touring ice show.

In 1972, Swayze started to focus on ballet, and relocated to New York City. He studied at the Harkness and Joffrey Ballet Companies and was hired as the lead dancer at the Eliot Feld Ballet Company. Several years after moving to New York, his girlfriend, Lisa Niemi, joined him in New York. The couple were married within months. When an old high school injury cut his dancing career short, he decided to move to theater work. His rough looks, captivating smile, and graceful movements helped him win roles on Broadway’s “Goodtime Charley,” “West Side Story” and “Grease.”

His role as Danny Zuko in “Grease” brought Hollywood knocking at his door, and he and Lisa moved to Los Angeles. He appeared as a bad boy in the movie “Skatetown USA” (1979) and as a leukemia patient in an episode of “M*A*S*H”. His big film break came in 1983 when he was hired and cast as the oldest greaser, Darrel Curtis, in Francis Ford Coppola’s teen drama, “The Outsiders” – a movie which also launched the careers of Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise. He was then hired and cast in the starring role as a young Confederate soldier in the miniseries “North and South” (1985), and as a radical fighting the Russians in the action thriller “Red Dawn” (1984) with Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen.

Everything changed in 1987 when Swayze became an overnight success with his role in “Dirty Dancing” with Jennifer Grey, playing dance teacher Johnny Castle, who liked tight pants, nice shoes, and had an eye for the young ladies. He won a Golden Globe nomination for the movie, and also wrote an original song – “She’s Like the Wind” – to the soundtrack. The song hit number one on the music charts and the film soundtrack became one of the top-selling soundtracks in history. 

The actor’s next two roles were in action thriller movies. First was the crime drama “Road House” (1989) and then “Next of Kin” (1989) with Helen Hunt and Ben Stiller. He then appeared in the blockbuster romance “Ghost” (1990), gaining a huge female audience with his role of the dead lover who can never tell his girl he loves her while alive in “Ghost”. The film starred Swayze as the dead lover of Demi Moore, who continues to communicate with and protect her in the afterlife. He won a second Golden Globe nomination and People magazine added him to their “Sexiest Man Alive” issue the next year. 

His next role was in the action adventure movie “Point Break” (1991), before starring in the strange, cross-country drag queen film, “To Wong Foo, Thanks for everything! Julie Newmar” (1995) starring Wesley Snipes and Robin Williams.

In the late 1990s, Swayze had a few career setbacks including a broken leg suffered while filming “Letters from a Killer” and growing problems with alcohol abuse. His dad had died from alcohol, and Swayze acknowledged to battles with heavy drinking. After his sister committed suicide in 1994, he entered rehab, and after his release, he and Niemi left Hollywood and moved to a ranch in Texas - but not before turning down a $10 million dollar offer to work on a “Dirty Dancing” sequel. 

He soon returned to movie work, appearing in the dramatic “The Green Dragon” (2001) and the cult-classic “Donnie Darko” (2001) starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Also returning to theater, he played “Chicago” on Broadway, and “Guys and Dolls” at the Piccadilly Theater in London. In 2006, he appeared next to Kristin-Scott Thomas and Rowan Atkinson in the independent British film, “Keeping Mum”.

He next worked with Billy Bob Thornton in the movie "Waking Up In Reno" (2002), a romantic comedy about two couples traveling to Reno to see a monster truck show. Next, three dancers are forced to reconcile their differences in the dramatic "One Last Dance" (2003), and finally that year was the comedy thriller "11:14" (2003) with Hilary Swank, about the events leading up to an 11:14 PM car crash from five different peoples point of view. The following year he played the dance instructor in the "Dirty Dancing" knock-off  "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights" (2004), before taking the role of Garth in the fantasy adventure "George and the Dragon" (2004), where a knight returning from the Crusades takes on a dragon and becomes a legend.

He then returned to made for television movies with his starring role in "King Solomon's Mines" (2004), an adventurous quest for a treasure hidden in King Solomon's mines. More comedy followed in "Keeping Mum" (2005) about a pastor who is obsessed with writing the perfect sermon and fails to realize that his wife is having an affair and his children are up to no good. He then switched gears and moved to the independent project "Jump!" (2007), a drama revealing the unusual circumstances behind the murder trial of the young Jewish man, Philippe Halsman. Patrick wrapped the year in the family comedy "Christmas In Wonderland" (2007) with Tim Curry and Carmen Electra.

The following year, he appeared alongside Jessica Biel, Forest Whitaker, Lisa Kudrow and Ray Liotta in the dramatic "Powder Blue" (2008), about four people from Los Angeles, a mortician, an ex-con, a suicidal ex-priest, and a stripper, who are brought together on Christmas Eve by a mixture of circumstances. Finally that year, the actor starred in the dramatic television movie "The Beast" (2008) about a veteran FBI agent who is assigned a new partner, unaware that he was recruited as a double agent to investigate his activities. 

In early 2008, Patrick broke the news that he was dying from terminal pancreatic cancer. The news shocked the world, ending with a forced rebuttal from the actors physician, Dr. George Fisher, who did confirm the pancreatic cancer, but not the tabloid's prognosis, stating "Patrick Swayze has a very limited amount of pancreatic cancer and he appears to be responding well to the treatment." A surge of love from both fans and former co-stars began pouring in, leading the family to release the statement: "We appreciate the love that's coming back to Patrick Swayze from all his fans." 

The actor had just wrapped a pilot for A&E, "The Beast," which, regardless of the news, the network confirmed was a major candidate to go into series production and that they believed the actor would be able to continue his role once his pancreatic cancer treatment was finished.

Unfortunately, Swayze died from his cancer on September 14, 2009.

 

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