Mainly known as the dance instructor all the ladies wanted a lesson from after his big hit film Dirty Dancing, in my prime movie going years he was a youth movie mainstay. I would see his performances often in those $1 movie theater flicks that would play in a now defunct old theater.
He was the guy who got jacked up being Rob Lowe's friend in the hockey driven Youngblood, one of the lead Wolverines fighting Russians on American soil in Red Dawn and one of the rough and tumble greasers in The Outsiders. All 80's teen movie classics where he was grouped with other up and comers like Tom Cruise, Ralph Macchio, Lea Thompson, Diane Lane and others. He had a commanding presence yet was able to portray sensitivity and some humor giving a broad range of characters he could handle. Convincing in both supporting and lead roles, his acting was always focused.
Swayze had his biggest successes as a romantic leading man in Dirty Dancing (where he revealed actual dancing talent) and Ghost. Those were good movies, yet what I appreciated was that he parlayed those successes into B level action movies like Point Break or Next of Kin. His action film jones led to a bonafide cable tv / drive in movie classic that had him running from Dirty Dancing to the Double Deuce.
Who would have thought after becoming a huge movie star thanks to showing Jennifer Grey the time of her life, Swayze's next move would be to star as a philosophy spouting, karate kicking, throat tearing, vertical wall banging machine (you saw the movie, you know what I mean) in Roadhouse. Successfully bridging the gap between ladies who wanted Swayze shirtless and guys who wanted to see a martial arts leaping kick to the face, Roadhouse appears regularly on television more than Dirty Dancing and Ghost combined. And I learned a valuable lesson from the movie: be nice...until it's time not to be nice.
Sad to see another 80's icon pass away. As I said, I've never went to a movie to see Patrick Swayze, he just happened to be in a lot of movies I watched. In those movies, he was consistently good. So to Patrick Swayze thanks for everything, thanks for the great entertainment all these years.