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Morning Man Classic: Patrick Swayze!

Patrick Swayze would have turned 65 today. About a year after his 2009 death, I read The Time of My Life, the memoir he wrote with his wife Lisa Niemi.  I  loved reading about his journey to Hollywood stardom in earlier projects like The Outsiders and the epic North and South miniseries then the highs with such mega hits as Dirty Dancing and Ghost and fans faves including Point Break, Road House and To Wong Foo.

He and Lisa also worked for years to bring their dream project, One Last Dance, to the screen which they succeeded in doing while both were still able to do all the dancing.
But really what was so inspiring was how Patrick went on living and working (on the A&E drama The Beast) despite the deadly diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He fought to extend his life and to make the most of what he had left.
He died in September 2009 at the age of 57.

I never got to meet Patrick but we did talk on the phone in 2005 when I wrote a cover piece on him for Orange Coast Magazine. He was promoting One Last Dance and King Solomon’s Mines, his first TV mini-series in nearly two decades.

I want to share some of the interview which I think gives some insight into what kind of guy he was.

On playing drag queen Vida Boheme in “To Wong Foo” : “It was an opportunity to create a character who was truly an angel. But I thought playing a drag queen was a big ol’ lark, and I’d play a big old queen. But in rehearsal when I play-acted it, it didn’t work. I realized her job was to be the heart of this movie. {Miss Vilda} stands for every drag queen on the planet or for anyone who has been misunderstood. It turned out to be the most emotional thing in my entire career and I’m pretty proud of it.”

On his fans: “Fans have been so faithful and been behind me for so long. I’d like to believe it’s because I never forget that fans are the people who put you where you are at. I really appreciate that, and I’ve been able to have a career that keeps going and going and going.”

His career philosophy: “What makes your work special is a sense of danger and unpredictability that can’t be made up. That has to come from you as a person.”

On love: “Relationships are hard, but you never give up. You go through phases. We always try and remember that you have to keep falling in love over and over again and discovering new things about each other….Don’t lose touch with who the other person is growing into, allow them to push the envelope. It makes the relationship about discovery.”

Comments

(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

3 Remarks

  1. He was a class act. Miss him but feel grateful to have his movies to enjoy over and over.

  2. I was and still am in love with Patrick since North and South with him as Rory Main. Miss Patrick I do.

  3. Patrick was breath taking, he was an amazingly beautiful person both physically and spiritually, he will never forgotten as he touched so many hearts and lives with his perspective and never failed to awe and amaze us with his range of skill and talent. Love him and miss him so much.

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