It would be challenging to put Swayze's performances into one category. He was a love interest in movies like Dirty Dancing and Ghost, while simultaneously kicking butt and getting the girl in flicks like Road House. In high-intensity action movies like Point Break, you get a very different Swayze than you'd find in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar.
It's this kind of breadth as an actor, dancer, athlete, and numerous other things that allows Swayze to hold a little place in our hearts. From his roots in Texas to his Hollywood stardom, he had appeal across the board.
Swayze succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2009, robbing audiences of any future performances. Thankfully, many of the individuals who worked with him on some of his best-known projects have offered much insight into his personality and passions. If you want to know more about Dirty Dancing's Johnny Castle, Bodhi from Point Break, and To Wong Foo's own Ms. Vida Boheme, we've got some stories about Swayze no one should ever put in a corner.
- Photo: Point Break / 20th Century Fox
When Keanu Reeves described what it was like to work with Swayze on Point Break (1991), he recalled how full of enthusiasm - and defiance - his costar was when it came to jumping out of planes. According to Reeves, Swayze made "over 30 jumps during the course of filming and so the production served him a cease and desist."
Reeves recalls that Swayze only honored that until they got to Hawaii, when he continued to exhibit his acrobatic skills by doing flips and falling to the ground in the air and on land. Reeves was especially taken by Swayze's ability to "experience life... he lived life to the fullest."Nice memory?
- Photo: Dirty Dancing / Vestron Pictures
While the actor and actress may have butted heads, Grey later said Swayze was supportive - literally. As they prepared for the movie's famous lift, he promised her, "I’ll never drop you, I'll never let you get hurt. I might throw myself around. I might be careless with my own body, but I will stand in front of a train for you."
None of this diminished the experience of working with Swayze, according to an interview with Grey in 2012. She called him "fearless" - something that ultimately caused the strife between them. She was afraid and it was something he couldn't understand. These same sentiments were present when Grey learned about Swayze's passing three years earlier:
Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace. Gorgeous and strong, he was a real cowboy with a tender heart. He was fearless and insisted on always doing his own stunts... When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practicing the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see.Nice memory?
- Photo: Ghost / Paramount Pictures
Whoopi Goldberg auditioned for the role of Oda Mae Brown in Ghost (1990), but wasn't originally favored for the part. It was only after Swayze, who'd recently signed onto the movie, pushed for Goldberg to be included that she was hired.
According to director Jerry Zucker, casting Ghost "was agonizing" but, in Goldberg's words, Swayze made at least two choices for him. After Swayze was hired, he asked why they hadn't brought Goldberg on, too. He said he wouldn't do it until he heard - from her - that she didn't want to do it. At that point, Goldberg hadn't been given the option, but with Swayze standing behind her, she joined the cast.
On the set of Ghost, Swayze and Goldberg "just took to each other." They even spent time joking with one another that it might end up being "the dopiest thing we've ever done."
In terms of the movie on the whole, Goldberg commented, "I don’t think any of us thought it would have this sort of impact... Everybody wants that kind of magical connection that Demi and Patrick’s characters have."Nice memory?
- Photo: Ghost / Paramount Pictures4
Swayze Embodied A Balance Of 'Strength And Softness' To Demi Moore
Demi Moore, who was in Ghost with Swayze, saw in the actor a "balance between strength and softness... his vulnerability and... his pure strength." Moore continued: "When I think of Patrick, I think of gentility. He was just this very sweet, kind of like a regular guy, this kind of quiet almost very mild-mannered person... it's the contradiction of this extremely dynamic, physical person."
Moore saw Swayze's hard-working nature, believing it was driven by his desire to be taken seriously. On the set of Ghost, she credited his "erotic and beautiful" movements to his dance background and expressed how "his openness was a wonderful attribute to have in a partner."Nice memory?