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Facts about Patrick Swayze: The Dirty Dancing actor’s career, wife, family and death explained

March 28, 2022, 09:52

Patrick Swayze was one of the biggest Hollywood stars of the 1980s and 1990s.

Image: Getty


By Thomas Curtis Horsfall

Actor, singer, dancer, gymnast and versatile idol, Patrick Swayze had it all.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Hollywood star:

Who is Patrick Swayze?

Demi Moore is kissed by Patrick Swayze in a scene from the movie

Demi Moore is kissed by Patrick Swayze in a scene from ‘Ghost,’ 1990. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images).

Image: Getty


Known for his good looks, his badass personality and his multitude of talents, Patrick Swayze was one of the greatest Hollywood actors of the 1980s and 1990s.

He is best known for lead performances in romantic classics dirty dance and Phantomtwo of the most iconic films of the era.

Throughout his career, he would receive three Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Lead Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical for the aforementioned films, as well as Road Trip Comedy. To Wong Foo, thank you for everything, Julie Newmar.

Other Swayze films include Relay, The foreignerscult classic Donnie Darkoand Red Dawn alongside numerous television appearances.

The actor also lent his singing and songwriting talents to the soundtrack of dirty dancesinging the classic ballad “She’s Like The Wind” which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Charts when it was released in 1987.

He was also an advocate of Transcendental Meditation and practiced Buddhism throughout his life.

In 1991, People the magazine named Swayze “the sexiest man alive”.

When and where was Patrick Swayze born?

Patrick Swayze in high school.

Patrick Swayze in high school.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY


Patrick Wayne Swayze was born in Houston, Texas on August 18, 1952.

He is the second of five children of dancer, choreographer and dance teacher Patsy Swayze, engineer Jesse Wayne Swayze. He had an older sister Vickie, two younger brothers Don (who is also an actor) and Sean, and a younger sister Bambi.

How did Patrick Swayze get his big break?

Swayze carved out a career as a dancer and carpenter before becoming a full-time actor.

Swayze carved out a career as a dancer and carpenter before becoming a full-time actor.

Photo: Bauer Griffin


Before even considering an acting career, Patrick Swayze was a promising talent in American football. A serious knee injury hampered his progress, so he focused on gymnastics and a range of martial arts to unleash his “self-deprecating rage” on his channel alongside ice skating and classical ballet.

Influenced by his mother’s dancing profession, Patrick moved to New York at the age of 20 to complete his formal dance training, eventually becoming a dancer for the Disney Theatrical Group.

After several years, he landed the role of Danny Zuko in the long-running Broadway production of Fat which brought him to notice, and led him to various roles on television in series such as Skatetown, United States and MASH POTATOES.

At 31, it is his role in the film by Francis Ford Coppola The foreigners it did, however, give Swayze considerable notoriety in Hollywood, starring alongside an array of young talents Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Diane Lane, Rob Lowe and Emilio Estevez.

What are Patrick Swayze’s greatest films?

– dirty dance

– Phantom

– Point Break

– Road House

– To Wong Foo, thank you for everything, Julie Newmar

-Donnie Darko

– Red Dawn

– The foreigners

– Waking up in Reno

– One Last Dance

What is the cause of death of Patrick Swayze?

Patrick Swayze died in 2009.

Patrick Swayze died in 2009.

Image: Getty


Patrick Swayze tragically passed away in 2009 at the age of 57 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

Diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in 2008, he explored various methods to overcome his disease, including chemotherapy, the experimental drug vatalanib and alternative therapies.

Appearing on the Charity Fundraising TV Event stand up against cancer in 2008, Swayze said to a standing ovation that “I dream that the word ‘cure’ will no longer be followed by the words ‘it’s impossible’. Together we can create a world where cancer no longer means living in fear, hopelessness or worse.”

Unfortunately, the cancer spread to his liver and he died surrounded by his family. His ashes were scattered at his ranch in New Mexico.

Was Patrick Swayze married?

Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi were longtime lovers.

Patrick Swayze and Lisa Niemi were longtime lovers.

Image: Tom Colburn/Houston Chronicle


Patrick Swayze was married to his childhood sweetheart Lisa Niemi for 34 years from 1975 until his untimely death in 2009.

They first met after Niemi took dance lessons from Swayze’s mother, but wouldn’t date for several years.

He confessed that his wife Niemi was the inspiration behind the song ‘She’s Like The Wind’, the ballad he co-wrote for dirty dance.

Did Patrick Swayze have children?

They first met when Niemi took dance lessons from Swayze's mother.

They first met when Niemi took dance lessons from Swayze’s mother.

Photo: Dave Lewis/Shutterstock


Patrick Swayze had no children. They planned to have children during their marriage, but tragically his wife Lisa Niemi suffered a miscarriage.

What is Patrick Swayze’s net worth?

At the time of his death, Patrick Swayze’s net worth was estimated at $40 million.

Anything else we should know about Patrick Swayze?

There’s a level of authenticity to Patrick Swayze’s badass image – after he was beaten up by a gang of bullies in high school, his father allegedly persuaded his gym teacher to let them fight one-on-one afterwards . Swayze would beat them separately, earning him a reputation as “the toughest kid in school”.

To help him earn money between acting roles, he started a carpentry business with his wife Niemi called “Nepotism, Inc.” because they only hired family to work with them.

He was a licensed pilot and regularly flew around the world from his ranch in New Mexico.

To prepare for his role as Zen surfer/Bohdi bank robber in Breaking point alongside Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze has parachuted more than fifty times. It took the film’s insurance company to stop it.

For the classic “elevator scene” in dirty dance, it took over twenty takes for Swayze and co-star Jennifer Gray to get the perfect shot. This damaged his dodgy knee even more, but cemented Swayze’s reputation for performing despite the pain.