"Dirty Dancing" star Patrick Swayze has cancer

Wed Mar 5, 2008 6:41pm EST
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By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor and dancer Patrick Swayze, star of such hit films as "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost," has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer but is responding well to treatment, his publicist said on Wednesday.

The 55-year-old performer was working during his treatments, publicist Annett Wolf said, dismissing reports in the tabloid media that portrayed him in grave condition with only weeks to live.

Wolf issued a written statement from his physician, Dr. George Fisher that said: "Patrick has a very limited amount of disease and he appears to be responding well to treatment."

"All of the reports stating the timeframe of his prognosis and his physical side effects are absolutely untrue," Fisher said in the statement. "We are considerably more optimistic."

Wolf said Swayze deeply appreciated the "outpouring of support and concern" he has received from the public.

Though Swayze has had dozens of film, TV and stage roles, he is best known for starring as dance instructor Johnny Castle opposite Jennifer Grey's character, infatuated teenager Frances "Baby" Houseman, in "Dirty Dancing."

The film, which centers on an unlikely romance between the pair at a 1960s resort in the Catskills of New York, defied expectations to become a massive hit, earning both actors Golden Globe Award nominations.

Swayze performed the song "She's Like the Wind" for the movie's soundtrack and his signature line, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner," has become a pop culture staple.   Continued...

<p>Patrick Swayze attends a premiere at Grauman's Chinese theatre in Hollywood, May 4, 2006. Swayze, the dancer and star of such hit films as "Dirty Dancing" and "Ghost," has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, published reports said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>