Closing Credits: Patrick Swayze
Patrick Swayze has died after his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer aged just 57. It follows a long illness through which he gave a great example to others suffering with cancer as he continued to work, completing the television show he had filmed the pilot for, The Beast, and working on his memoirs with his wife.
The actor passed away peacefully with his family on Monday, and he will be sorely missed by fans.
Patrick Swayze was best known for two roles, one in Dirty Dancing as the much loved dance instructor who never left baby in the corner, and the other in Ghost, as a character who is stranded between worlds until he can protect his widow from the man who murdered him.
Both films have iconic moments and roles for the character, and won him a huge place in many ladies hearts. In fact both films have become staple viewing and are regularly repeated on television, still gaining huge audiences.
Yet there are other roles that the actor should be remembered for, and the first for me was his role in Red Dawn, the film soon to be remade. He played on of the high school kids who formed a resistance and fought against the invading forces of the Russian army in America.
It wasn't his first big role though, he was part of an ensemble cast of upcoming young actors in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, a film about gangs that still has a lot of relevance today and starred a whole slew of now famous actors, including Tom Cruise.
There was his television role in North and South, which was punctuated with a role in Youngblood, a film that showcased him and Rob Lowe playing in Canadian hockey desperate to be picked up the professional scouts.
These were all before his first big role in Dirty Dancing where he demonstrated that he could act, dance, sing, and look damn fine with his top off. He became a heart throb in an instant and delivered an excellent performance.
However he wasn't just appealing to the ladies, Red Dawn had begun to hint at that, and Road House delivered a character that guys could really appreciate too, an action hero that didn't have to rely on the action so much. Dalton was the role that delivered some great one-liners and a macho role that endeared him to a male audience too. Now they had an iconic role to associate him with.
Next of Kin followed, a role that followed Road House in similar themes but never broke the same sort of ground, and then it was Ghost, a film that has perhaps become the high point of his career as he romanced his wife of Demi Moore from beyond the grave, with that now much spoofed moment with the pot making scene, marking another iconic moment in his career.
Except he followed that with Point Break, making another great film role for himself, and here he played the villain, something that actually suited him rather well and marked his final role in The Beast. That film marks another major role for the actor, and another role that audiences will keep coming back to time and time again.
Having surprised us as a villain his next surprise was drawn from deep within a bag of surprises, To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar saw the star dress in drag, something you could never have imagined him doing and perhaps thought that it would have destroyed his career. Well, for a while after that his career did turn a little quiet, and he even appeared in the Dirty Dancing sequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, however that role gave him a huge acting outlet and undoubtedly proved a great role for him.
Donnie Darko and Powder Blue attempted to change that, but he never achieved the same success as he had with previous films, and that's a shame, for his final role in The Beast was an inspired one and a superb one. I imagine that the lead offers at this point would have provided him with a wealth of roles, and had he been able to continue we might have seen the resurgence of the actor.
However his career stands well, and looking back over that list of films I think he has his fair share of iconic roles. To me though, since I am a guy, it has to be Road House as standing out as his greatest role with Dirty Dancing being a guilty pleasure along with the dated Red Dawn.
To his family and friends, the thoughts of Filmstalker and readers are with you.