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Entertainment behind the scenes

Yes, tough guys can dance. Patrick Swayze did.

September 15, 2009

swayzeAfter battling pancreatic cancer, actor — and dancer — Patrick Swayze died Monday at age 57.

Swayze enjoyed a long career in Hollywood as a ruggedly handsome leading man. He could turn a head, or two. And he could dance, as in “Dirty Dancing,” his 1987 movie that made his star soar in Hollywood. There’s that old saying that tough guys don’t dance, but like any stereotype that is not true, and Swayze personified just how untrue it is. He was a classically trained dancer of ballet and jazz and Broadway musicals.

He was a lover, too, in 1990 romance “Ghost”, but more importantly, in real life. He stayed married to his wife Lisa Niemi for more than 30 years — now that’s tough, and classy.

And here’s the clincher: Yeah, he played many tough guys in movies and on television. And if you say, “well, that’s not real life, that’s Hollywood,” consider this: even after he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of the disease, in January 2008, he went to work on television show, “The Beast.” He played through the pain, as they say in all those tough guy sports locker rooms.

Yeah, Patrick Swayze was a tough guy, but his special toughness was his soft heart.

Anybody want to comment? Please do.


Tough, classy, loving, and a lot braver than I could have been in those last months. Lisa’s lost the love of her life after virtually a lifetime, and I can’t imagine how hard that is. A good soul has gone from the world, but you can bet he’s dancing with the stars tonight.

Posted by ceallaig | Report as abusive

When Patrick rocketed to Stardom through “Dirty Dancing” I was encouraged to go see the film while it was still playing in Theaters in northern California. To my shock and dismay I saw a man that looked like me up on the screen, the following 10 years were the funnest memories I have from my own life thanks to a shared set of facial features, many many good times. Non of those memories or experiences would have been possible had he not been the talented entertainer that he was.

Thank you Patrick for enriching my life immeasurably. You will be missed, rest in peace.

Posted by Edmond Schindler | Report as abusive

Short & sweet. Standing O !!

Posted by hannah | Report as abusive

This is a terrible loss, for his wife-first, then for his extended family and friends, then for Hollywood. He was a great actor and now cancer took his life. Well, life is short and the unexpected does happen!


I remember all the times that I watched Patrick as I was growing up…I am positive I have watched dirty dancing at least 50 times. He was my all time favorite actor and will be missed terribly.

Posted by Kelley | Report as abusive

Thank you for this post. There is so much we can learn from his dancing. I am a speech coach and just wrote about this in my speaking advice blog,

What makes that final dance in Dirty Dancing so riveting? I believe it is the way he has absolute focus. His head remains perfectly still and eyes locked on Jennifer Grey.


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