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Born August 18, 1952 in Houston, Texas, Patrick Swayze was destined for success. His mother, Patsy, was a choreographer and owner of her own dance school, where Swayze first learned to dance. In that very same studio he met the love of his life, Lisa Niemi when she was just 15 (he was 19). The two married June 12, 1975 and the rest is history.
After making his television debut on popular 1980’s television show M*A*S*H, Swayze appeared in supporting roles for many years. But in 1987 he got the break of a lifetime. Swayze was cast to play the hunky dance instructor who falls in love with an unlikely student in Dirty Dancing. Who could forget those chiseled features, deep voice, and those dance moves? He was a star to watch, and everyone paid attention.
Swayze didn’t just stick to the silver screen. He also starred in a long-running Broadway production of Grease as Danny Zuko, and even dabbled in a music and singing career.
He was a man of many talents, and it was clear to see that he had something special. He has 51 acting credits to his name, including Point Break, Road House, and Ghost.
In early 2008, Swayze discovered he had Stage IV pancreatic cancer. He began having unusual symptoms in the weeks leading up to his diagnosis, but could have never imagined such a tragic discovery. He fought his illness for well over a year and even continued to work while undergoing treatment. But on September 14, 2009 Swayze lost his battle with the disease, leaving behind 57 years of memories and a wife whom he loved dearly.
Before his passing he spoke about the cancer and his feelings about it in his memoir, The Time of My Life, cowritten with wife Lisa Niemi, saying, “I’ve had more lifetimes than any 10 people put together, and it’s been an amazing ride…So this [dying] is okay.”
Patrick Swayze will never be forgotten, and will always remain an iconic figure in the entertainment industry. Rest in peace, Patrick. You are greatly missed.