R.I.P. Patrick Swayze

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    Sep 15, 2009 12:49 AM GMT
    LOS ANGELES - Patrick Swayze, the hunky actor who danced his way into viewers' hearts with "Dirty Dancing" and then broke them with "Ghost," died Monday after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

    "Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," said a statement released Monday evening by his publicist, Annett Wolf. No other details were given.

    Fans of the actor were saddened to learn in March 2008 that Swayze was suffering from a particularly deadly form of cancer.

    He had kept working despite the diagnosis, putting together a memoir with his wife and shooting "The Beast," an A&E drama series for which he had already made the pilot. It drew a respectable 1.3 million viewers when the 13 episodes ran in 2009, but A&E said it had reluctantly decided not to renew it for a second season.

    Swayze said he opted not to use painkilling drugs while making "The Beast" because they would have taken the edge off his performance. He acknowledged that time might be running out given the grim nature of the disease.

    When he first went public with the illness, some reports gave him only weeks to live, but his doctor said his situation was "considerably more optimistic" than that.

    "I'd say five years is pretty wishful thinking," Swayze told ABC's Barbara Walters in early 2009. "Two years seems likely if you're going to believe statistics. I want to last until they find a cure, which means I'd better get a fire under it."

    A three-time Golden Globe nominee, Swayze became a star with his performance as the misunderstood bad-boy Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing." As the son of a choreographer who began his career in musical theater, he seemed a natural to play the role.

    A coming-of-age romance starring Jennifer Grey as an idealistic young woman on vacation with her family and Swayze as the Catskills resort's sexy (and much older) dance instructor, the film made great use of both his grace on his feet and his muscular physique.

    It became an international phenomenon in the summer of 1987, spawning albums, an Oscar-winning hit song in "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," stage productions and a sequel, 2004's "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," in which he made a cameo.

    Swayze performed and co-wrote a song on the soundtrack, the ballad "She's Like the Wind," inspired by his wife, Lisa Niemi. The film also gave him the chance to utter the now-classic line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."

    And it allowed him to poke fun at himself on a "Saturday Night Live" episode, in which he played a wannabe Chippendales dancer alongside the corpulent and frighteningly shirtless Chris Farley.

    A major crowdpleaser, the film drew only mixed reviews from critics, though Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times, "Given the limitations of his role, that of a poor but handsome sex-object abused by the rich women at Kellerman's Mountain House, Mr. Swayze is also good. ... He's at his best as is the movie when he's dancing."

    Swayze followed that up with the 1989 action flick "Road House," in which he played a bouncer at a rowdy bar. But it was his performance in 1990's "Ghost" that showed his vulnerable, sensitive side. He starred as a murdered man trying to communicate with his fiancee (Demi Moore) with great frustration and longing through a psychic played by Whoopi Goldberg.

    Swayze said at the time that he fought for the role of Sam Wheat (director Jerry Zucker wanted Kevin Kline) but once he went in for an audition and read six scenes, he got it.

    Why did he want the part so badly? "It made me cry four or five times," he said of Bruce Joel Rubin's Oscar-winning script in an AP interview.

    "Ghost" provided yet another indelible musical moment: Swayze and Moore sensually molding pottery together to the strains of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody." It also earned a best-picture nomination and a supporting-actress Oscar for Goldberg, who said she wouldn't have won if it weren't for Swayze.

    "When I won my Academy Award, the only person I really thanked was Patrick," Goldberg said in March 2008 on the ABC daytime talk show "The View."

    Swayze himself earned three Golden Globe nominations, for "Dirty Dancing," "Ghost" and 1995's "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar," which further allowed him to toy with his masculine image. The role called for him to play a drag queen on a cross-country road trip alongside Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo.

    His heartthrob status almost kept him from being considered for the role of Vida Boheme.

    "I couldn't get seen on it because everyone viewed me as terminally heterosexually masculine-macho," he told the AP then. But he transformed himself so completely that when his screen test was sent to Steven Spielberg, whose Amblin pictures produced "To Wong Foo," Spielberg didn't recognize him.

    Among his earlier films, Swayze was
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    Sep 15, 2009 12:55 AM GMT
    Sorry to hear this. I liked him a lot. He seems to have faced his terminal illness with courage & determination. Not a bad role model for all of us.
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    Sep 15, 2009 12:57 AM GMT
    PatrickSwayze2.jpg

    How I want to remember Patrick. Swayze......RIP. You will be missed.icon_cry.gif
  • cityguy39

    Posts: 967

    Sep 15, 2009 1:07 AM GMT
    I remember the first time I saw him in "Ghost" with Tony Goldwyn beating down that wall in the opening scene, I almost came in my pants!!!! He was truly a beautiful man.
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    Sep 15, 2009 1:16 AM GMT
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    Vida Boheme
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Sep 15, 2009 1:19 AM GMT
    How terribly sad.... I remember the first time I really took notice was during the "North & South" mini series on ABC. He was hot, into horses (so I especially was curious). He was one of those guys who led by example
    in many ways. Physically, he always looked great.. an example to us all.

    He will certainly be missed!

    icon_cry.gif

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    Sep 15, 2009 1:23 AM GMT
    U know 57 is hella youngicon_exclaim.gificon_evil.gif I was really disappointed to hear it, I don't know why so many people are dying from cancer all of a suddenicon_eek.gif U guys watch what ur eating and drinking out hereicon_exclaim.gif
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    Sep 15, 2009 2:18 AM GMT
    Honestly, he was a mediocre actor, but a good guy from what I've read.

    I applauded his choice to play the motivational speaker (also closet perv) in Donnie Darko.
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    Sep 15, 2009 4:12 AM GMT
    sxydrkhair saidI had a crush on him when I was little kid... I remember watching Dirty Dancing with my brother and my sister in 1987. I pretended to be Jennifer Grey lol. Good memory. RIP Patrick Swayze.


    Wasn't he sexy as hell in Dirty Dancing? I loved when he was dancing on the log, and pointed at Baby with his finger to join him. Mmm....
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    Sep 15, 2009 4:40 AM GMT
    RIP Patrick Swayze....you handsome son of a bitch!!!!
  • Centre_Ice

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    Sep 15, 2009 6:14 AM GMT
    Goodbye Patrick RIP
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    Sep 15, 2009 6:17 AM GMT
    Good bye Auntie Vida Boheme. icon_sad.gif RIP PS.

    sipa_wong_foo_080306_ssh.jpg
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    Sep 15, 2009 12:15 PM GMT
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    Sep 15, 2009 12:26 PM GMT
    Goodbye Patrick... you get to take it with you.
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    Sep 15, 2009 10:33 PM GMT
    By Jove, less than a month older than me.
    It makes me think how grateful it is to be alive.
    Patrick, you were a great entertainer, you will be sorely missed.
    Rest in peace.
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    Sep 16, 2009 12:50 AM GMT

    Goodbye, sexy man. I've had Tiger Warsaw and RoadHouse sitting next to my dvd player (a spot reserved for the movies I love the most), for two months now and I doubt that'll change anytime soon.

  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Sep 16, 2009 2:05 AM GMT
    to wung foo ... thank you for everything, Patrick Swayze.
  • Melos

    Posts: 264

    Sep 16, 2009 2:29 AM GMT
    Sometimes it just takes a fairy