Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze: 1952-2009

I am sad to write that Patrick Swayze has lost his battle with cancer. He was 57. While standing in the grocery checkout line at the crack of dawn Sunday morning, I saw the cover of The National Enquirer. It had a picture of a sickly Patrick and with a headline stating that he was going home to die. I knew then that his battle would soon be coming to an end. Even though The National Enquirer often has me shaking my head at some of their ridiculous headlines, they have a knack for being on the money when it comes to celebrity mortality.

Patrick Swayze was a rarity. Although he didn't have a string of box office blockbusters akin to a Hanks or a Cruise, his film career was iconic nevertheless. For many fans, they will forever think of him as Johnny Castle, the dancing rebel who pulls Baby from the corner and teaches her how to strut her stuff in Dirty Dancing. For those who may be wondering, I finally did see Dirty Dancing last month. Although it's been aptly referred to as "Star Wars for girls", I enjoyed it. Even though I can be cynical, I am a sucker for a cheesy happy ending and the finale had me bouncing on the couch.

Plus, Dirty Dancing showed that Otis Redding wasn't just a "dock sitter" by including the superb Love Man on the soundtrack.

Then there's Sam Wheat, the spirit who made pottery magic with his widow Molly (Demi Moore) in Ghost.

For many guys I know, it's all about Road House. With lines like "Pain don't hurt", "Take the biggest guy in the world, shatter his knee and he'll drop like a stone", and "A polar bear fell on me", you can't go wrong. Plus, it's got some kick ass fight scenes like this one:

One Swayze film that I think the sexes consensually agree on is The Outsiders.

Although the Robert Frost poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" was recited in the film by Ponyboy as he and Johnny gaze at the beautiful sky, I think the words apply to Patrick as well:

Nature's first green is gold

Her hardest hue to hold

Her early leaf's a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

Postscript: Shame on me for neglecting to mention Patrick's role as Vida Bohemme in To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar when I originally posted about his death. Even in drag, Patrick could whup some ass!


Sheri (Cookingmom) said...

I saw that exact headline standing in line at the grocery store last night, but had no idea he'd be gone so quickly.

I had a huge crush on Swayze back in the day, and hope he wasn't suffering at the end.

pjazzypar said...

Hey Malcolm, You know how I feel about Patrick Swayze and Dirty Dancing. Seeing him boogie down that makeshift Soul Train line in that house party scene always brings a smile to my face. After all he has gone through in the last year and a half, I hope he is able to rest now.

Jason Elias said...

Awful news, Patrick is one of those people I just liked, damn shame....

BeckEye said...

So sad. I went to bed early last night, but woke up at 5 am and figured I'd check my email and I saw this on the front news page. It's too bad that he's gone, but I'm glad he's no longer suffering.

Penny said...

I love, love, love To Wong Foo.
I was sad to hear this. He was like my first ever crush.

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