There aren’t many movie stars that impress me. Most of them wind up with their sordid affairs, addictions and broken marriages plastered on the front page of every magazine and tabloid in existence. At times, it’s difficult to see past the very frail human being to the talent within. But such is the expense of fame.
One actor who through the years managed to hold on to his ‘good guy’ image was Patrick Swayze. He blazed onto the screen in DIRTY DANCING as the classic hero from the wrong side of the tracks. Yet, he managed to play the character as endearing, even a little shy and insecure. He was the diamond in the rough. The bad boy every girl lusts after but knows in her heart will never be good for her. The bad boy who, in the end, stood up for his girl.
Through that film he imparted in his audience the love of ballroom dancing. He showed us the beauty and passion within the steps. He proved that yes, even real men can and do dance. I watch DIRTY DANCING every time I discover it on television. I sigh and dream and simply fall in love all over again.
Swayze went on to act in many forgettable movies, but managed at least one other big hit, the classic GHOST. Again, he played the vulnerable hero who could never say “I love you” out loud. Again, he stole our hearts … the ending shattering them into tiny pieces.
Swayze, 57, died Monday evening. And so our hearts are saddened once more. We’ve all heard of his struggle with pancreatic cancer. We’ve all seen him age almost before our eyes as the disease ravaged his body. Yet when he smiled I found myself transported back to those scenes of him teaching ‘Baby’ how to dance and what it really meant to love.
We hoped this particular good guy would win his battle with cancer. But it wasn’t meant to be. Rest in peace, Patrick. Your talent, your eternal youth, your smile will be missed.