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Patrick Swayze was a Golden-Globe winning, beloved actor, as well as a singer, songwriter, and dancer, who died of pancreatic cancer in September of 2009.
Patrick Swayze - Ghost (7:49)
Patrick Swayze - Full Biography (45:30)
After years fearing his dance training would hold back his acting career, Patrick Swayze landed the role of Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing." Performing his own dancing and stunts, the movie made him an instant sensation.
Patrick Swayze moved to New York in 1975 to dance with the Eliot Feld ballet. In 1976, his dance career was almost ended by a staph infection. Once he recovered, he landed the lead role in "Grease" on Broadway.
Patrick Swayze campaigned heavily for the lead in "Ghost" and delivered the performance of a lifetime. His love scene with Demi Moore and his comedic scenes with Whoopi Goldberg are now a part of cinematic history.
Patrick Swayze soared to stardom in "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost," but his personal life was filled with heartaches, including a knee injury that nearly cost him a leg, his sister's suicide, and his battle with pancreatic cancer.
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Swayze also showed audiences his range as an actor with a series of successful independent films. In Donnie Darko (2001), Swayze played a television personality with a dark secret. The psychological thriller debuted as a limited release, showing in only 58 screens nationwide and gaining only mild attention at the box office. The film became an instant cult hit when it was released to video, however, earning DVD sales of more than $10 million. The film was also successful with critics,
and was touted as the best independent film of 2001.
His next film, 11:14 was also an independent thriller with a limited box office release. Swayze played Frank, the father of a girl who is in a mysterious accident. The movie received positive reviews from critics, and opened the actor to more serious acting roles in films such as the 2007 thriller, Jump! and Powder Blue, which is slated for release in 2009.
New challenges came for Swayze in March of 2008, when he discovered he had stage IV pancreatic cancer. The diagnosis didn't seem to phase the actor, who remained optimistic as he continued to take on new film and acting roles. Swayze's most recent project was the A&E series, The Beast, in which the actor starred as FBI veteran and loose cannon, Charles Barker.
On September 14, 2009, Patrick Swayze's struggle with cancer came to an end. He died after more than 20 months battling his illness. He was among family and friends at the time of his passing.
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Dance pioneers like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Gene Kelly—remembered for his groundbreaking performance in 1952's Singin' in the Rain—truly set the stage for Hollywood's dance-film genre. John Travolta, Jennifer Beals, Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey and Natalie Portman are some of the performers who took up where Astaire, Rogers and Kelly left off, repopularizing dance on film for later generations. Biography.com's Famous Movie Dancers group examines the lives and careers of these high-stepping performers who will always be remembered for their unforgettable moves.
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