Childhood & Early Life
He was born on 18 August 1952, in Houston, Texas, USA, to Jesse Wayne Swayze and Patsy Swayze. His father was a draftsman for chemical plant engineering and his mother ran a dancing school in Houston. He had four siblings, namely Don Swayze, Sean Kyle, Vickie Lynn, and Bambi.
He spent his early life in Oak Forest, Houston, and received education from ‘St. Rose of Lima Catholic School,’ ‘Oak Forest Elementary School,’ ‘Black Middle School,’ and ‘Waltrip High School.’ He was involved in many extra-curricular activities, such as swimming, gymnastics, football, and dancing.
He got trained in gymnastics at ‘San Jacinto College.’ In 1972, he traveled to New York and received dance training at institutes like ‘Harkness Ballet School’ and ‘Joffrey Ballet School.’ His first dance performance as a professional was for the ‘Disney on Parade’ event.
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He made his Broadway debut with a musical titled ‘Grease.’ In 1979, he got his first break on the big screen with the movie ‘Skatetown, U.S.A.,’ which was a comedy film.
In 1981, he was featured in a television show named ‘MASH’ in an episode titled ‘Blood Brother.’ The same year, he also worked in the television drama film ‘Return of the Rebels.’
His role in the 1983 film ‘The Outsiders’ earned him recognition and the following year, he also appeared in the ‘Red Dawn.’ The same year, he worked in the movie ‘Grandview U.S.A.’
In 1985, he appeared in the TV miniseries ‘North and South’ and this became a milestone in his acting career. The following year, he starred in the drama film ‘Youngblood.’
The film which established him in the film industry was ‘Dirty Dancing’ where he portrayed a dance trainer named Johnny Castle. The movie met with unexpected success and became a hit.
He also sang a power ballad titled ‘She’s Like the Wind’ for the movie. The song is often sung by other singers. This song, which was supposed to be used in the film ‘Grandview, U.S.A.,’ was written by Swayze along with Stacy Widelitz.
He then got many film projects and during 1987-90, he worked in movies, such as ‘Steel Dawn,’ ‘Tiger Warsaw,’ ‘Next of Kin,’ ‘Road House,’ and ‘Ghost.’ His role in the film ‘Ghost’ was highly appreciated and can be regarded as his first major role as a lead. He also hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’ during this period.
The following year, he worked in the action crime movie ‘Point Break’ which earned him a nomination at ‘MTV Movie Award’ for ‘Most Desirable Man.’ He was also named the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ by the ‘People’ magazine.
During 1992-95, he worked in movies, such as ‘City of Joy,’ ‘Father Hood,’ ‘Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill,’ ‘Three Wishes,’ and ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.’
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In 1998, he worked in movies like ‘Letters from a Killer’ and ‘Black Dog.’ While shooting for the film ‘Letters from a Killer,’ he met with an accident and was bedridden for a long time.
Both his legs were fractured and he even hurt his shoulder when he fell from a horse and smashed into a tree. The production of the movie was delayed and it was released the following year.
He gradually recovered from the injury and in the year 2000 resumed his acting career with the film ‘Forever Lulu.’ The following year, he worked in the movies ‘Donnie Darko’ and ‘Green Dragon.’
From 2002 to 2009, this gifted actor worked in various films and television series, such as ‘Waking Up in Reno,’ ‘One Last Dance,’ ‘11:14,’ ‘Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,’ ‘George and the Dragon,’ ‘King Solomon's Mines,’ ‘Keeping Mum,’ ‘Icon,’ ‘The Fox and the Hound 2,’ ‘Jump!,’ ‘Christmas in Wonderland,’ ‘Powder Blue,’ and ‘The Beast.’
He also worked in West End theatre where he acted in the musical ‘Guys and Dolls.’ He even voiced a character named Cash in the animated movie ‘The Fox and the Hound 2.’
Personal Life & Legacy
On 12th June 1975, he married actor-director Lisa Niemi, after a courtship of about five years. Patrick met Lisa when she started taking dance lessons from Patrick’s mother Patsy Swayze.
His father’s death impacted him, so much so that he sought solace in alcohol and his sister’s death worsened his addiction. Later, he underwent rehabilitation to overcome his addiction. He got acquainted with Buddhism and even took ‘EST Training,’ practiced Scientology and transcendental meditation.
In 2008, he was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. In spite of suffering from the disease, this talented actor continued his acting career.
After a long battle with this dreadful disease, he breathed his last on 14th September 2009, and his ashes were scattered over his estate in New Mexico.