Oh man, y’all. Patrick Swazye passed away yesterday at 57 after a 20-month battle with pancreatic cancer. It should go without saying, but this news is simply terrible.
This is the actor, after all, whose career highlights include Point Break and Ghost. Not many actors can find success as both the macho action star and the sensitive romantic lead (let alone in movies that have earned a place in the pop culture lexicon), but Patrick Swayze had the charm and versatility to have such success. Perhaps this explains why he also made one hell of a drag queen:
Yes, this fabulous vision of glamor also starred in Road House. Fierce drag queen is hardly the most conventional career choice when you’re known for playing a philosophical surfer/bank robber and one of cinema’s sexiest lingering spirits, but therein lies the genius:
He could’ve easily played the role in a swishier, more flamboyant and sassy fashion; instead, he makes Vida Boheme quieter and more maternal, like the gentle fairy godmother of the group. This is not how Hollywood conventionally portrays drag queens, and that’s what’s so utterly endearing about his performance in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.
But really, it all boils down to this movie:
Dirty Dancing‘s a sweet slice of pop cinema perfection, and Patrick Swayze’s a key component in that perfection. Seriously, it’s impossible to imagine Jennifer Grey cha-chaing through the finale with anyone else. And that is what it means to be truly iconic.
So may you rest in peace, Patrick Swayze. This little corner of the interwebs–along with many, many others–will surely miss you.