No One Puts Swayze In A Corner: Professional romantic leaves a legacyFriday, October 23, 2009 By Maddy Ruble
If I leave this Earth, I want to leave this Earth just knowing I’ve tried to give something back and tried to do something worthwhile with myself. And that keeps me going, that gets me up in the morning. My work ... is my legacy.” – Patrick Swayze Growing up in Texas with an artistic family and four other siblings; owning a ranch in New Mexico as an adult; flying airplanes during free time might make one think “this is THE life”. To Patrick Swayze, it was just home. Patrick Swayze will be forever remembered as the hottie in Dirty Dancing, but there’s more to him than was on the big screen. His career actually started in early 1980 with a small dancing scene in “Disney on Parade”. He progressed and finally had a major success in the 1985 television series, “North and South”. When he finally landed the lead in “Dirty Dancing” with Jennifer Grey, the movie was only supposed to be a low-budget project which would only show in theatres for a week and then go straight to video. It turned out to be a surprising hit and was the first film to sell more than 1 million copies and make $300,000 dollars worldwide. The film has also inspired television shows and computer games. After “Dirty Dancing”, Swayze was cast in several flops in later years, but had another hit in 1990. He starred in “Ghost” with Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg and later starred in “Youngblood” with Keanu Reeves. That same year, he was chosen by People magazine as the Sexiest Man Alive. Athletics came naturally to Swayze and he excelled at football, gymnastics, swimming, diving and track. However, filming was the most important thing in Swayze’s life and he insisted on doing his own stunts. While filming for HBO’s “Letters from a Killer”, he fell off his horse and hit a tree; breaking both legs and detaching four tendons in his shoulder. It took about a year before filming resumed and the movie finally came out. He continued acting but never had any huge castings. He did make an appearance in the sequel to “Dirty Dancing” as an unnamed dance instructor. Swayze found the love of his life, Lisa Niemi, at the age of 20. They met while she took dance lessons from his mother. Niemi was 16 at the time. They got married on June 12, 1975; five years after they met. Swayze and Niemi never had children but stayed together until he died. He had a hobby of flying airplanes with his dogs for fun and once made an emergency landing in Arizona because carbon monoxide leaked into the cabin. Swayze had cheated death many times. He had survived running into a tree, various motorcycle accidents and doing his own stunts, but the pancreatic cancer he faced was the biggest challenge. Swayze died peacefully on September 14, at 57 years old and 20 months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer; his family around him the whole time. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered over his New Mexico ranch. Patrick Swayze will always be remembered by many in fond memories and classic movies.