The Life and Films of Patrick Swayze

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:27 am,

POINT BREAK

Zen has never been so kitsch, bank robbery never so smooth and Ex-Presidents never so bad. In 1991, Swayze, as a Surfer/Bank Robber named Bodhi, leads a band of benjamin-searching surfers into a collision course with an undercover federal agent (Keanu Reeves) who understands the allure of the surf, and the adrenaline of armed robbery all too well. It’s another of the hallmark roles for Swayze that is a must-see experience. The skydiving scenes and overall cinematography of this film are some of the best ever captured.

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WAKING UP IN RENO

2002 heralded the arrival of a different kind of vehicle for Swayze in the form of Waking Up in Reno. This romantic comedy romp not only included monster trucks, Charlize Theron and Billy Bob Thornton, but also Natasha Richardson: wife of Liam Neeson who was also taken much too soon after a March 2009 skiing accident. Films like this one conveyed that Swayze had a very well-rounded skill set in front of the camera. Swayze said of Richardson: “It is such a great loss to this community to lose an actress and person such as Natasha. Gifts like her don’t come along very often. It’s a rare thing in this industry to have someone with so much talent, beauty, and dedication and yet is imbued with such humility.” Who’d have thought we too would be using words with very much the same tone to describe Swayze himself? It’s another off-the-beaten-path series of steps for Swayze that people will now perhaps take full notice of.

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THE BEAST

I had the personal pleasure of working with a gentleman named Paul Spatarro on the East Coast this year. His brother had also been diagnosed with (and died from) Pancreatic Cancer, which is where I initially learned not only about Swayze’s affliction, but also how deadly this disease is in general. Pancreatic Cancer has an astronomical lethality rate, because it’s often not diagnosed until it’s truly too late. The Beast was a crime/action vehicle created for Swayze at A&E. The network contacted me to offer up a series of promotional items and videos to help promote the show, and we gave them away based on feedback in a contest called “The Swayze GiftAways” Contest. While The Beast was a short series that was standard, Swayze-style satisfaction on cable television, it also became the final Hollywood sampling of Swayze’s skill set and work ethic. It’s a wonderfully strong show, made even more so by the knowledge that even while undergoing significant procedures in an attempt to slow the progression of his disease, and enduring 12-hour work days, Swayze finished out every single scene and in many cases completed the stunts choreographed and featured by his character, Barker, a vengeful, cunning FBI agent not just looking for, but ensuring that justice is found.

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Patrick Swayze – as many have already said in the day or so since his death – was a true American original. A classic performer from the start, who knew the value of literally being a southern “iron first in a velvet glove.”

We will miss this man who, for all intents and purposes, was commonly uncommon in Hollywood circles. There was never a scandal featuring Swayze; He was married only once, to his long time teenage sweetheart Lisa Niemi; and he quite literally worked until he physically couldn’t anymore. I find the dubbing of his being “common” incredibly endearing.

Swayze once said, in character as “Sam Wheat” from Ghost, lamenting over a report about a downed airliner: “It’s amazing just like that >SNAP< black out”. Au contraire – Patrick Swayze’s performances will live on not only on in DVD, Blu-ray and feature film marathons everywhere, but in us – his family, friends and fans.

Thank you, Mr. Swayze, for your leading man contribution to Hollywood and to movie history.

We’ve only scratched the surface of Swayze-based excellence here in our homage. What other films have you seen Swayze in that should be collected into every one’s film library (Ghost and Dirty Dancing being obvious choices)? Let us know what you think in the discussion below.

Patrick Wayne Swayze, August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009, R.I.P.

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TAGS: red dawn, the beast

18 Comments

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  1. He wasn’t the star of either of these, but I definitely enjoyed him in 11:14, and of course, Donnie Darko.

  2. good actor RIP

  3. One of the few actors in Hollywood who bucked the trend and has been married for 30 years to the same woman. RIP Patrick. I think I might have to watch Red Dawn tonight.

  4. Should have included City of Joy .

    One of his best films where people hardly recollect

  5. Geez, it really took his death for me to realize that I didn’t have Red Dawn in my collection. That’s a huge oversight, I’ve always loved that movie… I just ordered the collector’s edition, but it’ll probably be re-released in blu-ray soon enough since the new remake is coming out and also because of the loss of Mr. Swayze. All of these great actors are just dying left and right, so sad… RIP.

  6. red dawn is a classic, told my girlfriend to que it up because she never saw it.
    road house is one of my guilty pleasure movies

  7. Great Article Mike, as usual. I enjoyed the clips. Uncommon Valor is my favorite, no question!

  8. I liked Next of Kin too with Liam Neeson as well..I thought Swayze was awesome in that too!!

    Great article by the way!!

  9. I went to see “Red Dawn” with a bud during high school, (Russ).
    After the film he told me he was going to join the Air Force,,, I always remember witnessing that life changing event when Red Dawn comes up,,,
    The last time I saw him was at a McDonalds he told me he was shipping out the next day,,,

  10. I’m glad to see a commenter mention his best work and most underrated (and overlooked) film City Of Joy. Terrific film!

    Of course, everyone should have Dirty Dancing, Ghost and Point Break.
    But by all means The Outsiders is a must.

  11. When I first saw Red Dawn it must’ve been winter, because after the movie my friends and I ran home, raided our closet’s (mother’s included) in search of white “camo” clothes and grabbed our toy machines guns and proceeded to Wolverine our way through the snowy backyard woods. What a time!

    It’s unfortunate that Swayze went through that bad period in the mid-nineties when Hollywood turned their back on him. Most people forget that. He was blackballed, one minute the top leading man and then he was thrown out with the trash. Blasted Hollywood! He still tried to work, making the odd “B” movie, or straight to video. But he never got the Tarantino-comeback like John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Maybe Donnie Darko… but not to the extent he deserved.

    So… let’s remember who we put on high, and who we shove off the pedastel. Let’s not forget our former leading men, our Steve Guttenbergs and our Emelio Estevev’s. Hollywood is a damn fickle “Beast” Wolverines forever!

  12. Thanks for the tribute. After watching some of those clips, I’ll have to rent some of them. I’d forgotten about North and South!

    Of course, Road House & Dirty Dancing were my faves, especially the gratuitous butt shot of Swayze ;>.

  13. He had so many more films than the ones listed here. How can we forget Too Wong Foo: Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar?

  14. I look at Patrick as a man just trying to live in a world where few people care or notice each other till something bad happens such a 911 or cancer.I beleave Patrick was a man that seen good in all things great and small I only Pray I can live up to the kind of person Patrick Swayze was.From the time I first heard of his cancer I started noticing things;How pretty the dew would shine on the green grass early morning;or the fresh smell after a rain;how pretty the sun set really is;how Heavenly a childs laughter is or that special place you have.But most of all The Love Inside!To me that is th most importane thing Patrick left us all The Love Inside.Thank You Patrick I’ll carry The Love Inside With me always.God Bless

  15. I loved every movies I have ever seen with Patrick.

    My favorites consist of:
    Ghost
    Roadhouse
    Youngblood
    Fatherhood
    North And South
    Forever LuLu
    Steel Dawn
    Red Dawn
    King Solomans Mines
    Icon
    Black Dog
    Tall Tale: The Adventures Of Pecos Bill
    Donnie Darko
    Next Of Kin
    Dirty Dancing
    City Of Joy
    Three Wishes
    Waking Up In Reno
    Grandview USA
    Letters From a Killer
    Christmas In Wonderland
    Tiger Warsaw
    The Outsiders
    Uncommon Valor
    Green Dragon

    Ok well I guess I like all the movies I have seen with him in them! :D I can’t just pick a few he was good in all his movies! He will live on in my heart! RIP PATRICK SWAYZE

  16. Patrick was in 47 movies and tv series, I thought he was great in all of them!! He always gave everything 110%

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