Excellent: Patrick Swayze, biography

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The beginning

Patrick Swayze took lessons at his mother’s Houston dance studio and later studied at the Harkness and Joffrey Ballet schools in New York City. He began his professional career as Prince Charming in Disney on Parade and appeared briefly as Danny Zuko in the original Broadway production of Grease. In 1979 he made his film debut in Skatetown, U.S.A. and subsequently appeared in a series of television projects. He returned to the big screen in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders 1983. That film—which also starred Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Matt Dillon, and Diane Lane—was a critical and commercial success.

Great eighties

After appearing in Red Dawn 1984 and Youngblood 1986 , Swayze had a major breakthrough with his performance as a seductive dance instructor in the hit romance Dirty Dancing 1987 . The film became a cult classic and earned Swayze a Golden Globe nomination. He next starred in a series of action films—including Road House 1989 and Next of Kin 1989 before being cast as the romantic lead opposite Demi Moore in Ghost, a supernatural drama that was a box office sensation. For his portrayal of a murdered investment banker who becomes a ghost, Swayze was nominated for his second Golden Globe. His later films included Point Break 1991; To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar 1995, in which Swayze played against type as a drag queen; Donnie Darko 2001; and Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights 2004.
Swayze also acted on television, and his notable roles included the rebel soldier Orry Main in the two-part miniseries North and South 1985–1986 and Allan Quatermain in the TV movie King Solomon’s Mines (2004). In 2009, despite battling pancreatic cancer (diagnosed in January 2008), he starred in the series The Beast. His autobiography, The Time of My Life 2009; cowritten with his wife, Lisa Niemi), was published posthumously. after Patrick’s death, the woman sold off all his wealth, including the wig he wore during his illness.

born August 18, 1952, Houston, Texas, U.S.—died September 14, 2009, Los Angeles, California.

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