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Patrick Swayze: The Time of My Life

The famous actor, Patrick Swayze, was renowned for his skills on the dance floor in his most famous film, Dirty Dancing - in fact, he could easily have followed a different career path as a professional dancer, after attending ballet school in his youth and performing with the New York's Eliot Feld Ballet.

Swayze starred in many films and was particularly prolific in the 1980s, when he played bad boys, tough guys and romantic leads, establishing himself as a heartthrob with a large legion of female fans. His final acting role was in The Beast, which was a 2009 TV series in which he starred as veteran FBI agent Charles Barker.

The star's untimely death to pancreatic cancer, at the age of 57, on 14th September 2009, shocked friends, fans and the show business world, as he had continued working despite his illness and had been an avid supporter of the Stand Up to Cancer fundraising campaign.


Dancing career

Swayze was born in Houston, Texas, on 18th August 1952. His mother, Patsy, was a dancer, choreographer and dance teacher and she inspired his early interest. He began taking classes as a child at her Texas dance school, where he soon excelled. Later, he went on to study classical ballet at New York's Joffrey and Harkness ballet school.

His first professional job as a dancer was in Disney on Parade at the theme park. He went on to star as Danny Zuko in the long-running Broadway production of Grease and he also performed with the Eliot Feld Ballet.

However, his blossoming career as a professional dancer was cut short when an old knee injury (sustained from playing high school football) flared up. Although he wasn't able to dance full-time, this didn't stop him from winning his first movie role in the 1979 film, Skatetown USA, when he played Ace Johnson, roller disco king.



After his debut film a host of acting roles followed, including playing KC Barnes, the leader of a group of trouble-makers trying to take over a campground at the Colorado River in the 1981 television movie, Return of the Rebels. This really established his "bad boy" persona.

He became well-known in the movie industry after starring in the coming of age drama, The Outsiders, in 1983, alongside Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez and Tom Cruise. Swayze played Darrel "Darry" Curtis in the tale of a gang of tough teens in Tulsa, Oklahoma, who turn from villains to heroes after rescuing children from a burning church.

It was the 1987 film Dirty Dancing which finally established Swayze as a Hollywood A-list actor, largely thanks to his dancing skills. He played the role of "rough diamond" holiday park dance instructor Johnny Castle.

In the coming-of-age story about love and romance, Johnny meets and ultimately falls in love with a naïve young girl, Baby (played by Jennifer Grey) who is staying at the holiday camp with her family. It remains Swayze's most iconic role and his most successful film, thanks largely to his amazing dance talent.

It became a worldwide hit and was the first movie to sell one million copies on video, also earning more than $214 million at the box office and spawning a television sees, stage shows and even a computer game. Swayze was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and sang one of the soundtrack songs, She's Like the Wind.


Later life

Following Dirty Dancing, Swayze was in great demand and went on to star in many iconic films, including Ghost in 1990 with Demi Moore and Point Break in 1991 alongside Keanu Reeves. In 1993, he co-produced and starred in the dance film, One Last Dance, alongside his real-life wife Lisa Niemi, whom he had met at dance school in 1970, when they were both in their teens.

In his private life, he enjoyed retreating to his ranches in California and Las Vegas, where he bred Arabian horses. He was also an FAA licensed pilot.

While filming The Beast in December 2007, he fell ill. Pancreatic cancer was diagnosed in January 2008. He continually denied he was seriously ill and always told reporters he was winning the battle. Tragically, he died 20 months after his cancer diagnosis, with his wife of 34 years, Lisa, at his bedside.

For many fans, his most famous scene is from Dirty Dancing, when he utters the famous line, "nobody puts Baby in a corner," as he takes Baby by the hand and romantically leads her away - an iconic image that will be etched in our minds forever.

If you want to dance like Patrick Swayze, use Coruba's rubber safety mats so that you can practice in a safer environment - the non-slip design  helps protect against injuries.

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