Born: August 18, 1952
Date of Birth: August 18, 1952
There's a big Canadian connection in Swayze's pasthockey. Not that he played the gamealthough he did perform as an ice dancer in his youth. But the hockey part in his life came when he starred in the film Youngblood with Rob Lowe. It was actually Lowe who was the star and it's not a very good film, although it's not bad and the hockey scenes are passable.
Of course, Swayze's big break into mainstream filmmaking was his excellent performance in the sleeper hit, Dirty Dancing. He followed that up a few years later with the film that turned Demi Moore into a star and helped give Whoopi Goldberg a careerGhost. Plagued by a prying media who wanted to know more about him than he was willing to reveal, Swayze once said, "I don't care what image I have! Take any image you want of me, I'm going to change it, because we are chameleons. We have the crazy person, the shy person, the angry person, the intellectual person, the ignorant person, the gay person, we have the little boy in us, the little girl in us....Oh! Heaven forbid we have a feminine side! I've now ceased to worry about image, because I don't care what people think of me anymore. Because I've had such a battle with what I think of me and with trying to find a way to like myself."
He reprised the role of Johnny Castle in a Dirty Dancing sequel 17 years later, called Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004). In January 2008, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, after a lifetime of cigarette smoking and alcohol abuse. Vowing to beat the disease, he accepted the starring role in a new television series, The Beast, which aired early in 2009 on A&E. However, on September 14, 2009, he died at the age of 57, leaving behind his wife of 23 years, Lisa.