Before starring in “The Outsiders” in 1983, Swayze had been guest starring
on TV shows and playing Danny Zuko in “Grease” on Broadway, but this movie
catapulted him into the film world and paved the way for his break-out hit.
After a very long and public battle with pancreatic cancer, actor Patrick Swayze died at home Monday with his family and friends at his side. He was 57.
Swayze, who was diagnosed in January 2008, defied the odds in many ways – living for more than a year-and-half with this extremely deadly form of cancer. During that time, he put together a memoir with his wife and even started filming the new crime drama “The Beast,” in which he refused to take painkillers because he was worried it would affect his performance.
Swayze started his career as a ballet dancer at the Jeoffry School in New York. This training prepared him for his role in “Dirty Dancing” which made him a star. The film made over $300 million and earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
“If you were to look at statistics — the prognosis that is given to most patients with metastatic cancer is usually three to six months,” Dr. Jeffrey Hardacre, assistant professor of surgery at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and attending surgeon at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, told Fox News.
Patrick Swayze became the pinnacle of male heartthrobs in 1990 with release of “Ghost.” The film was not only a box office success but earned co-star Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar.
In 1995, Swayze played against type, becoming a perfect lady for the critically acclaimed “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar.”
In 1997, Swayze received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The honor coincided with the re-release of his first big hit, “Dirty Dancing,” ten years after it first hit theaters.
Actor Patrick Swayze and wife Lisa Niemi arrive on the red carpet in 2006. The couple met in 1970 and got married five years later. They have no children.
Patrick Swayze spoke at the 2008 Stand Up To Cancer event at the Kodak Theatre. Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier that year. He fought the disease for as long as he could, but eventually succumbed, leaving behind a legacy of screen and stage.
In 2009 Swayze starred in “The Beast” on A&E. His performance was met with critical acclaim. As Alan Sepinwall wrote, “…you watch Swayze in ‘The Beast,’ and you realize that this is the best performance of his career…And you realize, in an odd silver lining, that the cancer may, in turn, be fueling the performance.”
“It’s certainly has been described for people to live longer than a year — but this is outside of the norm. Most people with metastatic pancreatic cancer will not live longer than a year,” he said.
Most pancreatic cancer cases are asymptomatic, meaning patients rarely exhibit symptoms of an illness.
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