Birthday: February 7, 1927
Died At Age: 86
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Yvonne Helen Swayze, Patsy Yvonne Helen Swayze
Born Country: United States
Born in: Harris County, Texas, United States
Famous as: Choreographer
Spouse/Ex-: Jesse Wayne Swayze (m. 1944–1982)
father: Victor Elliott Karnes
mother: Gladys Mae
children: Bambi Swayze, Don Swayze, Patrick Swayze, Sean Kyle Swayze, Vickie Lynn Swayze
Died on: September 16, 2013
place of death: Simi Valley, California, United States
Cause of Death: Complications Caused By The Stroke
U.S. State: Texas
Who was Patsy Swayze?
Patsy Swayze was an American dancer, dance instructor and film choreographer who trained numerous popular celebrities including her own son, Patrick Swayze, the star of ‘Dirty Dancing’ and ‘Ghost’. She rose to fame after she worked as a choreographer in ‘Urban Cowboy’, a movie directed by James Bridges. She operated her own dance studio, first in Houston and later in California. As a dance teacher, Patsy loved to groom young talents but was also a firm disciplinarian who believed in hard work. However, despite her love for dancing and her success as a dance teacher and a film choreographer, she considered that being a mother to her five children was her best achievement.
Patsy Swayze established her own dance studio in Houston in the 1960s called, Swayze School of Dance. Along with it, she also founded and directed Houston Jazz Ballet Company and worked as a dance teacher in the University of Houston for eighteen long years.
During this time, she trained a number of students who achieved remarkable success in their career in future. These include Debbie Allen, the famous actress, dancer and choreographer known for her performance in the musical drama television series ‘Fame’ and the Broadway star Tommy Tune who won ten ‘Tony Awards’. Randy Quaid and Jaclyn Smith are two other names that figure in the list of her most famous students. Actress and dancer, Lisa Niemi, who later married her son Patrick, was also her student at Houston Jazz-Ballet Company.
In 1980, she choreographed John Travolta and Debra Winger in her debut film, ‘Urban Cowboy’. For the movie, she learnt countryside dance by visiting the country style bars. The movie proved to be turning point in her career and firmly established her as choreographer in the Hollywood.
She moved to California after this and over the next thirty years, worked on numerous film projects as a choreographer. Most prominent among them include the Matt Dillon and Cindy Fisher starrer 1982 movie, ‘Liar's Moon’ as well as Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick Jr. starrer 1998 movie, ‘Hope Floats’. Her other movies include ‘Younger and Younger’ in 1983, Thelma and Louise In 1991 and ‘Letters from a Killer’ in 1998 again.
In California, she opened another dance studio in Simi Valley Shopping Centre and continued to work as a dance instructor for twenty years.
In 2003, she collaborated with her daughter-in-law, Lisa Niemi, for choreographing the movie ‘One Last Dance’.
She also worked with ‘Silver Foxes’ encouraging elderlies to have fun in life and live it to its fullest.
You May Like
Continue Reading Below
Family & Personal Life
Patsy Swayze was born on 7th February 1927 in Houston, Texas. She was named Yvonne Helen Karnes by her parents, Gladys Mae (a nurse) and Victor Elliott Karnes (a geologist and WWI pilot). Her siblings included two sisters - Kathryn Buildt and Diana Latham and a brother - Elliott Karnes.
Dancing became a part of her life due to an unfortunate accident. While she was still very young, just about ten years of age, she was hit by a car and her mother, in order to heal her, made her sign up for dance classes. In due course of time, she learnt both Jazz and Classical Ballet.
In High School, she came across Jesse Wayne Swayze and eventually tied knot with him. He was a mechanical engineer and the couple had three sons and two daughters - Patrick Swayze, Don Swayze, Sean Kyle, Bambi and Vickie Lynn. Patsy trained all her kids in dancing and acting and thus they went on to become notable names in these two fields. Of specific mention are Patrick and Don Swayze. While Patrick became a famous actor, dancer, singer and songwriter, Don Swayze became popular character actor in both films and theatre.
Patsy Swayze suffered a number of personal setbacks during her life. In 1982, her husband died of a heart attack. In 1994, her oldest child, Vickie, suffering from depression, ended her life by taking an overdose of painkillers. In 2009, Patrick, too, died of pancreatic cancer. The death of her children left her devastated.
In 2013, four years after Patrick’s death, she suffered a stroke and few days later, on September 16, 2013, she died at the age of 86 at her home in Simi Valley, Los Angeles California.