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Patrick Swayze Battles Pancreatic Cancer as the World Watches and PraysTim King Salem-News.com
As one of the nation's top actors remains very sick with terminal pancreatic cancer, Patrick Swayze's fans continue to express their feelings about him in our story comments.
(SALEM, Ore.) - "I also have cancer and yes, chemo is hell on wheels. But when it works, it's great and worth it. I am so deeply sorry to see that it's spread to the liver. I'm keeping you and your family in my daily prayers. You do not walk alone in this fight."
This comment was left on a recent Salem-News.com story by a viewer named Linn, on Patrick Swayze's status as he deals with cancer that according to most reports, is terminal.
"It's funny how someone we'll never meet can affect us so much. In a sense, we all know Patrick, without really knowing him at all", Niall from Northern Ireland said.
Patrick Swayze's struggle with cancer is affecting people all the world over. Stories we have published about his illness have been getting continual traffic, and I thought it was only fitting to explore the career of this actor and dancer and singer, who has inspired people beyond belief with his genuine top grade talent.
Swayze first appeared in front of a public audience as a professional dancer for Disney on Parade. He also starred as a replacement for Danny Zuko in the Broadway production of Grease.
He then turned to film and debuted in the movie Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979) which was a disco movie in the vein of Saturday Night Fever (1977).
It was a surprise for me to learn that he portrayed Pvt. Sturgis in the M*A*S*H episode Blood Brothers, on April 6th 1981.
He also appeared briefly in the short-lived 1982 TV series The Renegades where he played a gang leader named Bandit.
His fan base numbers clearly in the millions. This actor who stormed into the hearts of moviegoers and television fans did it with gusto every step of the way.
Sophie, a Salem-News viewer in the United States, said this about Swayze, "You are a miracle on the screen and in our life because of your unique attitude towards this terrible disease."
Mark M. Jr. who is also in the U.S. said, "Patrick, you did good fighting this, keep loving your family like you have, enjoy every second with them, you're a great person and you will be with us for our remaining days, you're still alive on the screen!!"
And he's still alive in general, it is important to note.
Swayze's first major film role was in The Outsiders (1983) as the older brother of C. Thomas Howell and Rob Lowe.
Swayze, Howell, and Howell's friend Darren Dalton appeared the next year in Red Dawn which was a tremendous hit with near Cult Film status
Rob Lowe and Swayze reunited in Youngblood, where he was considered a member of the Brat Pack, but his first major success was in the 1985 television miniseries North and South, which was set during the American Civil War, Wikipedia explains.
Swayze's struggle with his health has held the nation's attention for weeks now and the actor that first came onto the scene so many years ago, still inspire people like Salem-News viewer Marianne, who lives in the U.S. and left this comment on our previous story updating his condition:
"May God Bless You and Your Family. I lost my father 11 years ago from this UGLY disease and can only say It was a very hard not only for you but also for your loved ones. My prayers are with you and yours, Keep your head high!I will ALWAYS be a fan of Yours. Stay Strong keep smiling."
This most amazing actor and dancer was showing so much natural talent at this point; I remember it like yesterday. I think Red Dawn is a fantastic movie and one that made people really think. As always, he showed strength in every respect of his acting.
Most people believe Swayze's real leap to stardom stemmed from his performance in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, alongside his Red Dawn costar, Jennifer Grey.
This is where Swayze's ballet training came into play and allowed him to glide through that movie in a way that compelled people in ways that few had before.
Dirty Dancing was actually a low-budget film intended to be shown in theaters for one weekend only before going straight to video.
Instead, it became a surprise hit that gained notable international success.
And, it was the first video of a movie to sell a million copies. They abound on back shelves and at garage sales all over the country.
By 2007, Dirty Dancing had earned US$ 300-million worldwide while spawning a number of alternate versions that included a TV series and stage productions for a computer game.
His performance in that film led to a Golden Globe Award nomination. He also sang one of the songs on the soundtrack, "She's Like the Wind," and he was even one of the song's original co-writers along with Stacy Widelitz for the film Grandview, U.S.A.
"She's Like the Wind" soon became a top ten hit and other performers like David Hasselhoff have covered it. Then in 2006, the song was converted into a hip-hop version by Lumidee, and again it went to the top of the charts, this time in Germany.
There were a few movies that came after Dirty Dancing that didn't exactly bring the roof down. Wikipedia explains that, "Swayze found himself heavily typecast as beefcake and appeared in several flops, of which Road House (1989) was the most successful."
Then Swayze excelled again in the 1990 movie Ghost which also starred Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.
It may be sad to consider him playing a ghost at this point, but his memorable performance in that film showed a depth that once again, completely floored the audience. The role also had considerable cultural impact, and modern hip-hop lyrics routinely use the phrase "I'm Swayze" (meaning "I'm ghost," which is in turn slang for "I'm leaving") in reference to that film (for more info, see the "Cultural Impact" section of the movie Ghost), Wikipedia states. I personally didn't know that.
I do know that the comments left on our stories about him are touching. As you noted in the first paragraph, Swayze's popularity is very international in nature. People everywhere share a bond with this actor and many of us literally grew up with his popularity.
An Albanian Swayze fan named Bekim Fazliu in Kosova said, "Since the series North and South, I am very big fan of Patrick Swayze. That was the first time I knew him. Since than I have collected all of his movies. He is my hero, my Idol. I am so said about his illness."
You could clearly say that he's an icon in our culture.
I grew up surfing in Southern California, and I can tell you that by and large, most surfers like Point Break and aren't extremely critical about its portrayal of the sport, and there are only a few major films that surfers really approve of.
Hollywood started with Gidget and moved on to Frankie and Annette in embarrassing movies like Beach Blanket Bingo which showed dry-hair fake surfing in front of a big screen.
Swayze played the spiritual character Bodhi in Point Break, who lived to ride the biggest wave, as he and his band of surf buddies robbed banks in LA to finance their "endless summers". Along with Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey, he pulled the role off very well with a high impact, fast action hit that never slows down.
That movie came out in In 1991, the same year Patrick Swayze was chosen by People magazine as that year's "Sexiest Man Alive." I surfed once with the guy who doubled in Swayze's skydiving scenes. He said the whole cast of Point Break was a blast to work with.
The last scenes of the movie which are represented to be Australia, are actually shot in the town of Wheeler on the Northern Oregon coast.
Swayze was seriously injured in 1996 while filming HBO's Letters from a Killer in the Ione area. He fell from a horse and hit a tree, breaking both legs and also suffering four detached tendons in his shoulder.
They had to suspend the shoot for two months. The movie finally aired in 1999. The injuries kept him moving slowly until 2000, when he costarred in Waking Up in Reno, with Billy Bob Thornton and Charlize Theron, and in Forever Lulu, with Melanie Griffith.
Swayze appeared in the 2001 film Donnie Darko, where he played a motivational speaker and closet pedophile.
In 2004, he played Allan Quatermain in King Solomon's Mines. He also had a cameo appearance in the Dirty Dancing prequel, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004) where he played an unnamed dance instructor.
After film, Swayze went to London and made his stage debut in the musical Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit in July, 2006, alongside Neil Jerzak. He stayed in that role until November, 2006. Prior to that, he also appeared on the Broadway stage in Goodtime Charley (1975) and Chicago (2003).
His most recent work is the starring role in the film Christmas in Wonderland (2007). In August of that year, he played an aging rock star in the upcoming film Powder Blue which is scheduled to be released in 2009. This co-stars his younger brother Don in their first film together. Patrick currently stars in the A&E FBI drama The Beast which is filmed in Chicago. His role in this production is as an FBI Agent named Charles Barker.
We conclude this report the way we started the last one, and that is by saying that Patrick Swayze in indeed very ill, but he is also very much alive and undergoing the very best possible care and treatment.
Special thanks to Wikipedia and the photo sources listed in the caption above.
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor.
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