Born: 18 August 1952
Died: 14 September 2009 (pancreatic cancer)
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
Best known as: Hunky star of Dirty Dancing and Ghost
Actor Patrick Swayze was best known for his romantic roles in the surprise movie hits Dirty Dancing (1987) and Ghost (1990). Trained as a ballet dancer, Swayze got his start in acting on the New York stage, and his success in the Broadway production of Grease led to a career in Hollywood. His performance as the eldest "greaser" in the Francis Ford Coppola film The Outsiders (1983, based on the novel by S.E. Hinton) proved his talent and marketability as leading man. After action films such as Uncommon Valor (1983, starring Gene Hackman) and Red Dawn (1984), Swayze got back to dancing in the box office smash Dirty Dancing. The role made him a famous beefcake; his place as a romantic hunk was cemented with the even bigger hit Ghost (opposite Demi Moore). Then came the 1990s -- the ridiculous and yet beloved Point Break (1991, with Keanu Reeves), his sister's death, troubles with alcohol and forgettable movies. Swayze bounced back in the 2000s, in a key role in the Jake Gyllenhaal film Donnie Darko (2001). His other films include Road House (1989), To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995) and Green Dragon (2001, with Forest Whitaker). He began starring as a rogue FBI agent in the TV series The Beast in 2008, but he was soon incapacitated by pancreatic cancer and died in September of 2009.
Extra credit: The National Enquirer reported in March of 2008 that Swayze was ill with pancreatic cancer and had five weeks to live. Swayze announced that he did have pancreatic cancer but had been given no such timeline. He went on to begin filming episodes of his TV series The Beast while undergoing treatment.
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