Patrick Swayze (18 August, 1952 – 14 September, 2009) was an American actor, dancer and singer-songwriter best known for his roles as romantic leading men in the films Dirty Dancing and Ghost, and as Orry Main in the North and South television mini-series.
He was named by People magazine as its Sexiest Man Alive in 1991. His film and TV career spanned 30 years.
Swayze was a three-time Golden Globe nominated actor who captured the attention of audiences worldwide with his talent and charm.
In latter years he appeared in feature films such as Jump!, Keeping Mum, Icon, and in One Last Dance under the direction of his wife Lisa Niemi.
In 11:14, Swayze appeared alongside Hilary Swank, Rachael Leigh Cook, Henry Thomas and Colin Hank. In the critically-acclaimed independent film, Donnie Darko, Swayze starred as a self-help TV evangelist Jim Cunningham, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone and Noah Wyle.
Swayze also joined Melissa Gilbert on-stage in New York as 'Pa' in the workshop presentation of Prairie, and as Nathan Detroit in the Broadway production of Guys & Dolls; a performance that was received so well, it played an extended two week run.
In 1996, Swayze received a Golden Globe nomination for his charming performance as Vida Boheme alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo in Universal Pictures' hit film Too Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.
In 1992, Swayze appeared in Roland Joffee's City Of Joy and in 1991, he starred opposite Keanu Reeves in the major action hit, Point Break.
In 1990, Swayze appeared as the romantic lead opposite Demi Moore in one of the year's top-grossing films, Ghost, which garnered him a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Swayze also received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as dance instructor Johnny Castle in the 1987 hit, Dirty Dancing. In Dirty Dancing, Swayze was also recognized for his talent as a singer/songwriter.
His hit single, She's Like the Wind, which he wrote and performed for the film's soundtrack, quickly rose to number three on the pop charts and was number one in many countries around the world.
Swayze also contributed to the Next Of Kin soundtrack with Brothers, a song he co-wrote and performed with Larry Gatlin in 1989.
Additionally, Swayze showcased his musical talent as Billy Flynn in productions of Chicago on Broadway, as well as in Los Angeles and San Diego in 2003.
Swayze's impressive body of work also includes: Three Wishes opposite Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio; Black Dog with Randy Travis and Meat Loaf; Loving LuLu, with Melanie Griffith, Miramax's comedy, Waking Up in Reno, opposite Billy Bob Thornton and Charlize Theron; Timothy Bui's The Green Dragon; Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders; Paramount's Uncommon Valor; Randall Kleiser's Grandview U.S.A. opposite Jamie Lee Curtis; Red Dawn; Youngblood with Rob Lowe; Steel Dawn; Road House and Next of Kin; and the epic Civil War mini-series North and South.
Swayze grew up in Houston, Texas and was offered both athletic and dance scholarships when he graduated from high school. His father encouraged his athletic side, and he excelled in gymnastics, diving, track and football.
He also started acting in high school, appearing in Houston's Alley Theatre. His first dance teacher was his mother, Patsy, whose credits as a choreographer include the film Urban Cowboy.
He attended San Jacinto College in Houston and was a member of the gymnastics team before touring North and Central America with Disney on Parade.
After a year on the road, he moved to New York to study with the Harkness Ballet Company, and then the Joffrey, before joining the Eliot Feld Ballet as a principal dancer.
Swayze simultaneously studied acting with Warren Robertson and landed a dancing role on Broadway in Goodtime Charley with Joel Grey, followed by the lead in Broadway's Grease as Danny Zuko.
The critics' support from Grease encouraged Swayze to move to Hollywood, where he continued his acting studies with Milton Katselas and made his feature film debut in 1979's Skatetown U.S.A.
In 2008 Swayze could be seen in the ABC Family Film, Christmas in Wonderland, and in 2009, appeared alongside Jessica Biel, Eddie Redmayne, Ray Liotta and Forest Whitaker in the feature film Powder Blue, a film about a variety of characters brought together through chance, tragedy and fate on Christmas Eve in Los Angeles.
His last role was the lead in the crime drama television series The Beast, in 2009.
Diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in January 2008, Swayze told Barbara Walters a year later that he was kicking it. However, he died from the disease on 14 September, 2009.
Swayze was married to Lisa Niemi from 12 June, 1975, until his death. The couple first met in 1970 when Swayze was 18 years old. Niemi, 14 years old at the time, was taking dance lessons from Swayze's mother.
Swayze and Niemi had no children.