Patrick Wayne Swayze was an American actor, dancer and singer-songwriter. He was best-known for his tough-guy roles, as romantic leading men in the hit films Dirty Dancing and Ghost and as Orry Main in the North and South television miniseries. He was named by People magazine as its “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1991. His film and TV career spanned 30 years.
Diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer in January 2008, Swayze told Barbara Walters a year later that he was “kicking it”. However, he died from the disease on September 14, 2009. His last role was the lead in an ill-fated A&E TV series, The Beast, which premiered on January 15, 2009. Due to a prolonged decline in health, Swayze was unable to promote the series. On June 15, 2009, Entertainment Tonight announced the show’s cancellation.
Patrick Swayze was born on August 18, 1952, in Houston, Texas, the second child of Patsy Yvonne Helen, a choreographer, dance instructor, and dancer, and Jesse Wayne Swayze, an engineering draftsman. He was raised Roman Catholic. Swayze had two younger brothers, actor Don Swayze and Sean Kyle, and two sisters, Vickie Lynn and Bambi. He was a sixth cousin once removed of commentator John Cameron Swayze, and a relative of noted Texas Revolution soldier Henry Karnes.
Until the age of twenty, Swayze lived in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston, where he attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic School, Oak Forest Elementary School, Black Middle School, and Waltrip High School. During this time, he also pursued multiple artistic and athletic skills, such as ice skating, classical ballet, and acting in school plays. He played football for his high school and was hoping to receive a football scholarship to college until a knee injury ended his career. He studied gymnastics at nearby San Jacinto College for two years.