Monday, September 14, 2009

Goodbye Patrick Swayze!

Patrick Swayze’s Dirty Dancing co-star Jennifer Grey led tributes to the actor last night, describing the former dancer as a “real cowboy with a tender heart”.

Grey, 49, played the naïve teenager who fell in love with Swayze’s sultry dance instructor in the hit movie which became a cult classic after its release in 1987. The pair’s on-screen chemistry – best highlighted in their sizzling dance moves and the famous lift scene in a lake – helped turn both actors into Hollywood stars.

"When I think of him, I think of being in his arms when we were kids, dancing, practicing the lift in the freezing lake, having a blast doing this tiny little movie we thought no one would ever see," Grey, who played Frances 'Baby' Houseman, told People magazine.

Grey said Swayze, who died on Monday after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, was so fearless in his acting that: "it was not surprising to me that the war he waged on his cancer was so courageous and dignified."

"Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace," she said. "My heart goes out to his wife and childhood sweetheart, Lisa Niemi, to his mom, Patsy, and to the rest of their family."

Whoopi Goldberg, who starred alongside Swayze in one of his other best known blockbusters, Ghost, remembered the man to whom she had dedicated the Academy Award she won in 1991 for her supporting role in the film.

"Patrick was a really good man, a funny man and one to whom I owe much that I can't ever repay," said Goldberg. "I believe in Ghost's message, so he'll always be near."

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Governor of California and former Hollywood action hero, described Swayze as a "talented and passionate artist who struck a memorable chord with audiences throughout the world."

"He played a wide range of characters both on stage and in movies and his celebrated performances made the hard work of acting look effortless - which I know from experience is not easy," Schwarzenegger said. “As a fan and as an actor, I admired Patrick and I know that he will be dearly missed. On behalf of all Californians, Maria and I send our deepest condolences to Patrick’s family, friends and fans.”

Ashton Kutcher — whose wife, Demi Moore, co-starred with Swayze in Ghost — posted a tribute on twitter: “RIP P Swayze”.

The actor’s death was a hot topic on twitter, with ‘RIP Patrick Swayze’, 'Dirty Dancing' and 'Ghost' fast becoming among the most popular topics on the social networking site.

The news spread so fast that some of Swayze’s friends and co-stars heard of his death while facing the media on the red carpet at the Toronto Film Festival.

At the premiere of Partir, British actress Kristin Scott Thomas - who starred with Swayze in the 2005 British movie Keeping Mum - put her hands to her mouth and appeared close to tears after hearing the news.

She excused herself from the red carpet to compose herself before returning. The 49-year-old actress reappeared, but her representatives said she did not wish to comment on the news.

Also in Toronto Rob Lowe, who had appeared many films with Swayze, gave an emotional tribute to the Dirty Dancing star.

"Patrick lived a thousand lifetimes in one lifetime,” Lowe said.

"He was an expert dancer, he wrote hit songs, he starred in hit movies, he was an amazing horseman. But the thing I will remember him most for was his amazing love affair with his wife Lisa.”

Lowe added: "He played my brother twice, in The Outsiders when I was 17, and then in Youngblood. Tonight I lost a brother."

The actor C. Thomas Howell, who also co-starred with Swayze in The Outsiders, Grandview U.S.A. and Red Dawn, paid tribute to his acting “brother”.

He said: “I have always had a special place in my heart for Patrick. While I was fortunate enough to work with him in three films, it was our passion for horses that forged a friendship between us that I treasure to this day. Not only did we lose a fine actor today, I lost my older Outsiders brother.”

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