Patrick Swayze, who has been battling cancer for the past two years, has died.
The Associated Press is reporting that a publicist for the “Dirty Dancing” star confirms that the actor died Sunday (Sept. 13) in Los Angeles. He was 57.
Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2008. He continued to work on his A&E series “The Beast” while undergoing treatment and won strong reviews for his performance as a corrupt FBI agent.
Swayze grew up in Houston, where his mother was a dance teacher and choreographer (she worked on the film “Urban Cowboy”) and taught him to dance at a young age. He moved to New York in 1972 to pursue a career in ballet, but after a few years in that discipline a knee injury forced him to turn to acting.
He landed the role of Danny Zuko in the Broadway production of “Grease” (where he followed John Travolta and Barry Bostwick) and in 1979 made his movie debut with the roller-disco movie “Skatetown, U.S.A.” After a couple other small parts, he had his breakthrough role in “The Outsiders,” Francis Ford Coppola’s adaptation of the S.E. Hinton novel.
Swazye went on to star in “Red Dawn” and the two “North and South” miniseries before landing the role of dance instructor Johnny Castle in “Dirty Dancing,” the role that shot him to full-fledged stardom. The part earned him the first of his three Golden Globe nominations and a place in the heart of teenage girls everywhere.
His career in the years following “Dirty Dancing” included an eclectic mix of action movies (“Road House,” “Point Break”), romance (the huge hit “Ghost”) and quirky roles like “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” and “Donnie Darko.”
He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Lisa, and by his mother, Patsy.