But he's remembered for numerous other roles as well -- the bouncer from 'Road House,' the loving dead husband from 'Ghost,' the bank-robbing surfer from 'Point Break,' the resistance leader from 'Red Dawn.' Patrick Swayze, who died Monday at 57 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, was best known as 'Dirty Dancing''s Johnny Castle, the dancer from the streets who wouldn't let anybody put Baby in a corner.
But he's remembered for numerous other roles as well -- the bouncer from 'Road House,' the loving dead husband from 'Ghost,' the bank-robbing surfer from 'Point Break,' the resistance leader from 'Red Dawn.'
Though the muscular Swayze tended to play characters with a bit of rough 'n' tumble to them, by all accounts he had a fairly normal suburban childhood, growing up near Houston, studying drama and dance and training at the Joffrey Ballet. His first professional gig was as a dancer at the Disney on Parade; he later played Danny Zuko in the Broadway production of 'Grease.'
He'd already acted in 'The Outsiders,' 'Red Dawn' and 'Youngblood' before his breakthrough in 1987's 'Dirty Dancing,' in which he played a dancer who shows Jennifer Grey the time of her life. (Raise your hand if you once had a giant white poster of Patrick Swayze as Johnny Castle on your wall. Ahem.) His fame even included a brief musical career, as his song 'She's Like the Wind,' which he co-wrote and recorded for the soundtrack, hit #3 on the Billboard charts and was later covered by David Hasselhoff (the ultimate honor).
Next came 1989's 'Road House, with the tagline "The dancing's over. Now it gets dirty," and then the 1990 romantic hit 'Ghost,' featuring the scene that made couples everywhere run to sign up for pottery-making classes.
He continued working steadily after 'Ghost,' most notably in 'Point Break' (1991), 'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar' (1995) and 'Donnie Darko' (2001). But in many ways he still remains, along with the Brat Pack, one of the iconic figures of the '80s -- the quintessential tough guy with a heart so golden, he even knew how to dance. Swayze was still active up until the end, starring in 13 episodes of A&E's drama series 'The Beast,' which was canceled after its run earlier this year.
Actor, dancer, tough guy, softie ... RIP, Patrick Swayze. You'll be missed.
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