Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

When I heard tonight that Patrick Swayze had died, losing his battle with cancer at 57, my mind leapt immediately to Ghost (1990). Before Demi Moore's famous tear even finished falling in that movie theater of the mind the image was cross dissolving with scenes from other movies. I kept returning to Point Break (1991) in which Swayze played an improbable combo of surfing guru and bank robber and from which I nabbed this blurred screen shot.


I found it difficult to find a frame where Swayze wasn't in motion. Which, if you stop to think of it, is more than fitting. Dancing was his lifelong passion and rather serendipitously he became a household name by teaching it to the world (Dirty Dancing, 1987). His most famous roles smartly capitalized on his physicality whether he was throwing punches (bad movie classic Road House) fighting wars (the miniseries North and South) girlishly rethinking that lithe masculinity (drag comedy To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything Julie Newmar) or chasing big waves (Point Break). Even his name, Swayze, suggested movement.

Ghost, his biggest hit, was less physical but it resonates in other ways now. In that improbable Best Picture nominee he played a man who died too soon. He played that sad story in real life, too -- minus Whoopi Goldberg as medium. The movies will be his medium now, his way of staying with the world.
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14 comments:

Seeking Amy said...

My heart sunk when I heard it. It's been a long, tough battle for him. I've lost a loved one to cancer myself, who died far too early. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Iza Larize said...

RIP, Patrick Swayze!

I'll watch "To Wong Fooo, Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar" tonight.

surrey said...

when i heard patrick has died ... for two minutes i was shocked.. he passes away at the age of 57...

I hope he rest in peace....

vibaku said...

God bless his soul! RIP Patrick I will always cherish you in Ghost! The movie that etched in my head during my childhood years. And the theme song was not going out too.

Guy said...

This is so beautifully worded, Nathaniel ... the most eloquent appreciation I've yet read. Thanks.

Katie said...

RIP

For me, it was Point Break. Close second is Dirty Dancing.

ps: nicely written Nathaniel

Yancey said...

"Ghost" and "Dirty Dancing" were childhood staples for me. Can't believe that he's really gone, even though I knew this was inevitable. Ugh, too many of the good ones are leaving us too soon.

RIP Patrick Swayze. You will be dearly missed.

:(

Nate said...

RIP, Ghost is my favorite movie of his.

Amy said...

Very sad to hear the news, I offer my prayers and condolences to the family. He will be missed by everyone.

london said...

May his soul get peace.london Escorts

jadejohn said...

This is a terrible loss, for his wife-first, then for his extended family and friends, then for Hollywood. He was a great actor and now cancer took his life. Well, life is short and the unexpected does happen!

Bailey said...

I normally go largely unaffected when celebrities die, no matter how big (Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson) or small (DJ AM), but when I heard this it made me really, really sad. He was a great actor with some really memorable roles, he always seemed like a really nice, genuine guy, and I will admit I had a huge crush on him back in the day. He will be missed. RIP.

ecrunner said...

Oh, such a sad story, and great loss. And the way he had to go, too. I just lost my great aunt to the same disease only days ago. It saddens me that it is diagnosed at such a late stage. But the fact that Swayze and people like my aunt who are able to outlive their prognosis is somewhat uplifting. When they died, it was more of an acceptance of the disease. But for those loved ones around having to watch, it has to be one of the hardest things to witness. Knowing that they are suffering and even with the care of a nurse, it is just fearing that their days are coming to an end that makes it so hard. Prayers go out to his family.

Timothy Griffiths said...

Don't forget Donnie Darko! An interesting and pleasant later career turn.