TODAY tells us a new documentary, I Am Patrick Swayze, produced by Derik Murray of Network Entertainment and directed by Adrian Buitenhuis, premieres on Aug. 18, which would have been Swayze’s 67th birthday, on Paramount Network. This film documents his incredible legacy as one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood. Swayze lived life to the fullest as a remarkable screen star and cowboy until his death from pancreatic cancer in September 2009 at age 57.
His widow and long-time wife, Lisa Niemi (63) shares secrets that lead to his battles with alcoholism. Lisa, who met her husband when she was 15 at his mom’s dance studio and married him in 1975. One of the leading contributors was a sometimes abusive childhood from his overbearing mother and his dance instructor growing up in Houston.
Swayze was constantly pushed by his mom, Patsy, a choreographer who founded the Houston Jazz Ballet Company. While he would later credit her for his strong work ethic, her demand for perfectionism at times veered into physical abuse.
The actor’s mom “was really an example of what happens in families in a cycle of abuse,” Lisa says in the film. “She could be very violent, but it was nothing compared to what she endured growing up and the stories I heard about what she went through with her own mother.”
Swayze often privately recounted the story of his 18th birthday, when Patsy was “laying into him” before his father told his wife that he would divorce her if she touched their son again. “She never hit him after that,” Lisa tells PEOPLE.
Swayze and his mother stayed close until his death—Patsy died four years after him in 2013 at the age of 86—but they never spoke of the abuse.
“I think she would say, ‘Well, you know, sometimes I could be strict, I’m that kind of a teacher,’ ” Lisa recalls. “She was a complicated woman, intense and an amazing life force. Patrick absolutely loved and respected her.”
In the new trailer for the upcoming documentary “I Am Patrick Swayze,” friends and co-stars including Jennifer Grey and Demi Moore reflect on the late actor’s charm, talent, and lasting impact.
Patrick Wayne Swayze; August 18, 1952 – September 14, 2009) was an American actor, dancer, singer, and songwriter. Gaining fame with appearances in films during the 1980s, he became popular for playing tough guys and romantic lead males, giving him a wide fan base with female audiences and a status as a sex symbol. He was named by People magazine as its Sexiest Man Alive in 1991.
During his career, Swayze received three Golden Globe Award nominations, for Dirty Dancing (1987), Ghost (1990), and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar (1995). He wrote and recorded the popular song “She’s Like the Wind”, and was posthumously awarded the Rolex Dance Award in 2009.
One of his most famous lines remembered by his fans is “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!” (Dirty Dancing)
Ref. MSN/entertainment/people, NBC/TODAY, wikipedia.com
Photo courtesy of Bing via trillmag.com