"Dirty Dancing" star Patrick Swayze dead at 57

Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:40pm EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Dan Whitcomb and Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actor Patrick Swayze, whose turn as a smoldering dance instructor in "Dirty Dancing" made him one of the iconic film stars of the 1980s, died on Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57.

Swayze, an actor and dancer who cemented his status as sex symbol opposite Demi Moore in the 1990 romance "Ghost", died at his home.

"Patrick Swayze passed away peacefully today with family at his side after facing the challenges of his illness for the last 20 months," publicist Annett Wolf said in a statement.

Swayze became one of Hollywood's top stars with 1987's "Dirty Dancing," which defied Hollywood expectations to become one of the most-watched movies of all time.

The Texas-born actor played the swaggering dance instructor Johnny Castle in the film opposite Jennifer Grey's sheltered teenager Frances "Baby" Houseman, who becomes smitten with him while on vacation at a New York resort during the 1960s.

Swayze was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly forms of the disease, in January 2008. He said at the time that the cancer had already spread to his liver.

But he vowed to fight the disease and had treatment with an experimental drug, surprising Hollywood by filming a new detective series for television called "The Beast" in which he played the grueling lead role.

The series was broadcast earlier this year.   Continued...

 
<p>Patrick Swayze in an undated publicity photo. REUTERS/File</p>