Grab your tissues: 5 Patrick Swayze moments in the new documentary that'll give you all the feels


Ten years since the world lost Patrick Swayze, there’s still no one quite like the gracefully masculine good guy. And speaking on behalf of the world, we’re definitely still mourning the loss of the likable actor who took Baby out of the corner in “Dirty Dancing,” turned pottery-making into foreplay in “Ghost” and paid the ultimate price in “Point Break.”

Swayze, 57, died in 2009 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, but his life story is retold in Paramount Network’s new documentary, “I Am Patrick Swayze” (Sunday, 9 p.m. EDT/PDT).

Here are five ways the charming entertainer known as “Buddy” still inspires us.

1. The future ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ overcame bullying and abuse 

Swayze’s widow, Lisa Niemi, opens up in “I Am Patrick Swayze” about the abuse that her late husband dealt with at the hands of his strict mother, Patsy Swayze, who was also his dance teacher. At one point, Swayze’s dad, Jesse, had to stop Patsy from “laying into him” and threatened to divorce her if she continued to harm their son.

“Patsy was an example of what happens in families in a cycle of abuse,” says Niemi. 

When Swayze was young, he became an easy target for bullies, because he was the boy in ballet tights. But the man who would go on to become People’s Sexiest Man Alive (in 1991, when they called him “Hollywood’s hunk with a heart”) was equipped to defend himself against his peers. As Swayze’s brother Don recalls in the documentary, Patrick finally got fed up with being teased.

Without putting down his books or violin (Swayze was a well-rounded artist), “he did a little sweep with his legs and took both of them out,” Don says. “I grew up with a superhero in my family.”

2. Patrick Swayze had to convince filmmakers to cast him in ‘Ghost’

When “Ghost” director Jerry Zucker was looking to cast his romantic lead, Swayze, the actor he knew as the combative bouncer from the absurdly violent action film “Road House,” was not who he had in mind. 

In fact, Zucker was convinced that there was absolutely no way Swayze would star in his film. He was ready to quickly dismiss the actor who came to audition.

But Swayze wound up reading through the entire script to filmmakers. Everyone in the room was so moved by Swayze’s performance, they were in tears. Swayze got the part.

“His appreciation and his openness were wonderful attributes to have in a partner,” co-star Demi Moore says of sharing scenes with Swayze in “Ghost.” 


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  • It's been 30 years since we had the time of our lives1 of 27
  • Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey dazzled in the original2 of 27
  • 'Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights' followed the 1987 hit3 of 27
  • The movie was released in 2004.4 of 27
  • It starred Diego Luna.5 of 27
  • And Romola Garai.6 of 27
  • Mya also starred.7 of 27
  • The movie focuses on a high school student who moves8 of 27
  • ABC released a 2017 version of the film earlier this9 of 27
  • Abigail Breslin starred as Baby.10 of 27
  • Sarah Hyland also acted in the ABC version.11 of 27
  • And Nicole Scherzinger played Penny Rivera.12 of 27
  • 'Dirty Dancing - The Classic Story on Stage' hit the13 of 27
  • Paris Hilton checked out a 'Dirty Dancing' musical14 of 27
  • Sometimes the 'Dirty Dancing' stars themselves show15 of 27
  • She even brought her daughter Stella.16 of 27
  • Fans especially loved seeing recreations of the famous17 of 27
  • Fans still love rocking out to music from the famous18 of 27
  • The most serious fans can check into Virginia's Mountain19 of 27
  • The weekends include tours, dance lessons and a Saturday20 of 27
  • The lobby also features a 'Dirty Dancing' cutout.21 of 27
  • There's also a Dirty Dancing Festival in Lake Lure,22 of 27
  • Fans who are especially crazy for Swayze will love23 of 27
  • Jennifer Grey appeared on Season 11 of 'Dancing with24 of 27
  • She danced with partner Derek Hough.25 of 27
  • The two danced their way to the final competition.26 of 27
  • And they won the Mirror Ball.27 of 27

30 reasons why we’re still obsessed with ‘Dirty Dancing,’ 30 years later

4. A horrific sports injury drove Swayze to work harder

When Swayze was 18, “his leg broke inward” while playing football, as Don says. It was so bad that the athlete had to be in “a full-length cast from his hip to his toes for six months.” By the time the cast came off, Patrick’s leg had atrophied.

The injury “became what drove him,” Don says. 

Patrick dedicated himself to daily dance classes. A couple of years later, he had become a world-class dancer in a ballet company. Broadway followed. Later, of course, he took on Hollywood.

5. He shot a TV series in between cancer treatments

After Swayze had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and told he had a 5% chance of surviving it, he didn’t think it was time to stop working.

To the contrary, the performer shot the 2009 series “The Beast” while fighting the disease. He would work 14- to 16-hour days and get chemotherapy on the weekends, his widow Lisa Niemi says. He completed the season before he died. 

“You’re only on this planet for so long,” Swayze says in the documentary. “You could be dead tomorrow, go for it now.”


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  • Are you Team Grease or Team Footloose? To determine1 of 41
  • 40. DANCE WITH ME (1998). Starring: Vanessa Williams,2 of 41
  • 39. TAKE THE LEAD (2006). Starring: Antonio Banderas,3 of 41
  • 38. FOOTLOOSE (1984). Starring: Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer4 of 41
  • 37. MAGIC MIKE XXL (2015). Starring: Channing Tatum,5 of 41
  • 36. ROLL BOUNCE (2005). Starring: Shad Moss, Nick Cannon6 of 41
  • 35. DIRTY DANCING (1987). Starring: Patrick Swayze,7 of 41
  • 34. BRING IT ON (2000). Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Eliza8 of 41
  • 33. STREETDANCE 3D (2010). Starring: Nichola Burley,9 of 41
  • 32. KITES (2010). Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Kangana10 of 41
  • 31. MAO'S LAST DANCER (2009). Starring: Chi Cao, Bruce11 of 41
  • 30. FOOTLOOSE (2011). Starring: Kenny Wormald, Julianne12 of 41
  • 29. THE GREAT ZIEGFIELD (1936). Starring: William Powell,13 of 41
  • 28. THE COMPANY (2003). Starring: Neve Campbell, James14 of 41
  • 27. HIGH STRUNG (2016). Starring: Keenan Kampa, Nicholas15 of 41
  • 26. GREASE (1978). Starring: John Travolta, Olivia16 of 41
  • 25. MAGIC MIKE (2012). Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex17 of 41
  • 24. HAPPY FEET (2006). Starring: Elijah Wood, Brittany18 of 41
  • 23. SHALL WE DANCE (1937). Starring: Fred Astaire,19 of 41
  • 22. MOULIN ROUGE! (2001). Starring: Nicole Kidman,20 of 41
  • 21. FAME (1980). Starring: Eddie Barth, Irene Cara21 of 41
  • 20. BILLY ELLIOT (2000). Starring: Jamie Bell, Julie22 of 41
  • 19. STRICTLY BALLROOM (1992). Starring: Paul Mercurio,23 of 41
  • 18. ALL THAT JAZZ (1979). Starring: Roy Scheider, Jessica24 of 41
  • 17. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977). Starring: John Travolta,25 of 41
  • 16. FISH TANK (2009). Starring: Katie Jarvis, Michael26 of 41
  • 15. SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954). Starring:27 of 41
  • 14. BALLET SHOES (2007). Starring: Emma Watson, Yasmin28 of 41
  • 13. HAIRSPRAY (2007). Starring: John Travolta, Queen29 of 41
  • 12. CHICAGO (2002). Starring: Rene Zellweger, Catherine30 of 41
  • 11. SHALL WE DANCE? (1996). Starring:  Kji Yakusho,31 of 41
  • 10. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951). Starring: Gene Kelly,32 of 41
  • 9. BLACK SWAN (2010). Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila33 of 41
  • 8. WEST SIDE STORY (1961). Starring: Natalie Wood,34 of 41
  • 7. PINA (2011). Starring: Pina Bausch, Regina Advento35 of 41
  • 6. MARY POPPINS (1964). Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick36 of 41
  • 5. CABARET (1972). Starring: Liza Minnelli, Michael37 of 41
  • 4. TOP HAT (1935). Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers38 of 41
  • 3. SWING TIME (1936). Starring: Fred Astaire, Ginger39 of 41
  • 2. THE RED SHOES (1948). Starring: Anton Walbrook,40 of 41
  • 1.SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952). Starring: Gene Kelly,41 of 41

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