Patrick Swayze's

Life and Times


Patrick Wayne Swayze, born August 18, 1952, Houston, Texas

Mother is Patsy Kearns Swayze (born 2-7-27 in Houston, Texas), choreographer; Father is Jesse Wayne Swayze (born 9-20-25 in Wichita Falls, Texas), deceased design engineer; Siblings Vicki (deceased), Don, Sean, and Bambi (adopted in 1970, born in Korea); Patsy and "Buddy" Jesse were married August 6, 1944 in Missouri City, Texas; the grandkids are Vicky's 2 sons, Don's teenage daughter, and Sean's 3 young children.

Patrick wed Lisa Niemi on June 12, 1975 in Houston, Texas; they met when Lisa was a student of Patsy's; the attraction was instant; Lisa had followed Patrick to New York, where he eventually proposed. The couple lived in NYC in their early married years, before moving to Los Angeles.

In the early 1970's, Patrick was a guest dancer for the Buffalo Ballet. He had been performing occasionally at the Alley Theater in Houston prior to his graduation from Waltrip High in Houston in 1971. Though Patrick began studies at San Jacinto College with a gymnastics scholarship, he dropped out to tour with Disney on Ice as "Prince Charming" and other characters. He then decided to try his luck in the Big Apple and with the Buffalo Ballet (circa 1971).

The following year, he was awarded a scholarship with the Harkness Ballet in New York City. It was while with the Harkness, that Patrick posed au natural for a mural, easily seen by those in the theater. The building was eventually demolished, and the mural cut into blocks and sold at auction. One wonders if the high bidders realize "who" they bid on!

By 1975, Lisa had joined Patrick in NYC, and both were with the second company of the prestigeous Joffrey Ballet. However, Patrick chose to move on to a different dance company, the Elliot Feld Ballet, in 1977 where he could be a principal dancer. Part of this decision was based on the Joffrey's belief that his knee injuries would keep him from dancing successfully. As Patrick danced, he studied with both Marius Liepa and Glenn Tetley.

The knee injury was a result of a football mishap in high school, aggravated over time in gymnastic events and the harshness and intensity of ballet training. Over the years, Patrick has had at least 6 different knee surgeries, and frequently has to have fluid at the knee drained.

Patrick's first Broadway appearance, while still doing classical dancing, was in "Goodbye Charley", which happened to star Joel Grey, father of Jennifer Grey who would later co-star with Patrick in both "Red Dawn" and "Dirty Dancing". Patrick played the role of "servant" in this production, which took place at the Palace Theater. He also began studying acting with Warren Robertson.

Next up, was a performance in "The Music Man" at the Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey, and then the role of "Riff" in "West Side Story" at the Northstage Theater. Then came one of Patrick's big breaks --- the role of "Danny Zuko" in the Broadway production of "Grease". The year was 1978, and "Grease" was closing after several years and there was a ton of publicity and recognition as a result. It was at this point, after much serious consideration, that Patrick and Lisa decided to move to Los Angeles.

Patrick hooked up with acting coach Milton Katselas in Los Angeles, and did bit parts and small stage roles until he finally accepted a role in "M*A*S*H" in an episode entitled, "Blood Brothers". The show was the second to final episode of the 8th season and focused on an army soldier who worries about his injured buddy, only to learn he, himself, is dying from leukemia. The critically acclaimed episode led to Patrick being cast in the disco skate movie, "Skatetown U.S.A."

Patrick's character of "Ace Johnson" in "Skatetown U.S.A." was a phenomenal success. He was offered multi-picture deals, but turned it all down, having been a bit intimidated by all the hoopla over his skating and persona. He opted instead to study and learn his craft, eventually making a series of three made-for-tv productions: "The Comeback Kid", "Off Sides" better known as "Pigs Vs. Freaks", and "Return of the Rebels". This lead to a tv movie pilot, "The Renegades" which also starred Philip Casnoff and Tracy Scoggins. The "Mod Squad" like program made it to air, but only lasted for six episodes before being cancelled. However, Patrick then landed the role of the oldest brother in "The Outsiders", and the rest is movie history.

Various Skills and Talents: Archery, Gymnastics, Carpentry, Cabinet Making, Martial Arts, Horses, Violin, Dogs, Track, Football, Surfing, Skydiving, Eastern Philosophies and Spiritual Meditations, Ice Skating, Roller Skating, Musical Composing, Diving, Producing

Patrick has studied various religions and philosophies including I Ching, T'ai Chi, Transcendental Meditation, Est, Zen Archery, Martial Arts, Mahayana and Nichiren Shoshu forms of Buddhism. He was raised Catholic and if asked to name a religion, will stick to the catholic name. Patrick's studies have, in part, led to his strong belief in the power of crystals, which has been much documented in interviews throughout his career.

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Page Last Updated 06/21/02