After a long battle with pancreatic cancer, which lately had spread to his liver, actor Patrick Swayze has died. While Swayze’s film career was a little spotty he will first and foremost be remembered for his turn in Dirty Dancing, a definite 1980s classic.
Try naming five films since where the chemistry between the leads (Swayze and Jennifer Beals) matches that of Dirty Dancing. With that film, Swayze’s mature bravado lit a spark among many a young woman’s heart and smashed a couple of taboos for good measure, too. Oh, and I didn’t mention a new dance style. In 1990 Swayze appeared opposite Demi Moore in ‘Ghost,’ a generally forgettable movie but one in which, again, on-screen chemistry (though a far lesser one than in Dirty Dancing) and two very convincing performances ignited the imagination of audiences everywhere.
Swayze was at his best in these types of roles. His career somewhat floundered in the 1990s with a series of minor films, Donnie Darko being a notable exception (if teen cult following is any substitute for quality) in which Swayze had a supporting role as Jim Cunningham. About a year ago, Swayze’s name appeared regularly on the entertainment news cycle. He appeared to respond well to his cancer treatment and got signed for the leading role of undercover agent Charles Barker in A&E’s “The Beast.”
About playing Barker, Swayze had commented,’I’m having a blast, it’s like playing cowboys and indians. I’m having a helluva good time doing this show.’ Instead of withdrawing into himself during what turned out to be his final months, Swayze was poised to carry the series. This lust for life should be his enduring legacy.