Patrick Swayze, who had breakout roles in “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost,” died in Los Angeles on Monday after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.
Swayze most recently starred as a tough FBI agent in A&E drama series “The Beast.” His battle with cancer played out publicly as his condition worsened just as the show’s first season bowed on the cabler.
Trained as a dancer, the half-Apache actor started out in teen heartthrob roles and segued into romantic leads, while also appearing onstage.
Swayze was raised in Houston, Texas, and his mother was a choreographer and ballet school owner. He trained with the Harkness Ballet and Joffrey Ballet schools in New York, starting his career dancing for “Disney on Parade.” After appearing in “Grease” on Broadway, he made his film debut in 1979 in “Skatetown, U.S.A.”
He was cast in several youth-appeal pics, including “The Outsiders” and “Red Dawn,” before netting a major role in Civil War miniseries “North and South” in 1985.
His popularity rose with the dance instructor role opposite Jennifer Grey in 1987’s “Dirty Dancing,” which became a surprise hit. He received a Golden Globe nom for the perf and sang one of the songs on the soundtrack.
After several minor films, his career picked up with “Road House” and then “Ghost,” in 1990, where his character romantically haunted Moore’s after he was murdered. He co-starred with Keanu Reeves in surfer actioner “Point Break” before injuring himself when he fell from a horse while filming HBO’s “Letters From a Killer” in 1996. Both his legs were broken, and the injury put a dent in his career until 2000, when he appeared in features “Waking Up in Reno” and “Forever Lulu.”
That year, he was piloting his twin-engine plane when he had to make an emergency landing in Prescott Valley, Ariz., with some reports saying he appeared to be intoxicated. It was later determined that his behavior was due to the effects of his descent.
His later film roles included “Donnie Darko,” “King Solomon’s Mines” and a cameo in “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.”
Onstage, Swayze starred in a London production of “Guys and Dolls,” in 2006, and earlier appeared on Broadway in “Goodtime Charley” (1975) and “Chicago” (2003).
In addition to “The Beast,” he recently starred in “Christmas in Wonderland” and played an aging rock star in the unreleased “Powder Blue.”
He married Lisa Niemi, one of his mother’s dance students, in 1975.
He is survived by his wife; brother, Don, an actor; and his mother.