Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Swayze

I didn't cry when Kurt Cobain died and I didn't cry when Heath Leger died and I didn't cry any time in between. I didn't know these people so though I was sad, I didn't cry.

But this evening I cried.

I still remember the first time I saw Dirty Dancing. I convinced my parents to rent it. I think I was about 10 or so, and I watched it three times in a row. As soon as it ended, I rewound the tape and watched it over again. That movie made me want to pretend I could dance.

Patrick Swayze acted with his whole body. He was aware of every muscle and how it affected his performance. And have you ever seen anything more awesome than that Saturday Night Live episode when he and Chris Farley did that Chippendales dance off?

Then there's Road House. Who doesn't love Road House? And Ghost?

Hell, as I sit here I keep thinking about more roles I forgot about. Point Break, The Outsiders, Red Dawn.

I suspect he never had quite the career he wanted, and it probably didn't help how striking his resemblance was to Kurt Russell, but you could just tell Swayze was a good guy with a real talent.

Hell, he got more than most actors get. He got to recite a line all of us know instantly: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner." Do you think when he said that line, he knew how popular it would be? Do you think he knew how many times his performance during that final dance number would be copied, lampooned, or admired?

And even after the cancer diagnosis, he still worked his ass off to do one more project on A&E as a morally ambiguous cop. I watched the pilot. Not great, but okay, and bloody amazing for a man fighting cancer in his leisure hours. Most of us would spend our days weeping or traveling or pondering. He just wanted to work.

I guess now that I'm in my 30s I can look forward to this happening more and more - the death of someone who helped shape my childhood. I'll miss him in that weird way you miss someone you never met but smiled every time you saw.

Bye, Patrick Swayze.


  1. yeah... I just heard the news an hour ago (thanks to Twitter)... we have lost way too many 80s icons this year alone.

    RIP :(

  2. RIP Swayze.

    I feel like Keanu Reeves at the end of Point Break.


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