His mother is choreographer Patsy Swayze, owner of a dance school in Houston, where Patrick was also a student. His father was Jesse Wayne Swayze, who passed away in 1982. He graduated from Waltrip High School in Houston, and attended San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas. He married actress/dancer Lisa Niemi on June 12, 1975, whom he had known when she was 15 and a student at his mother's dance school. His New York City dance training included the Harkness Ballet School and Joffrey Ballet School. He first danced professionally as "Prince Charming" in "Disney on Parade". After a stint as "Danny Zuko" in the original Broadway production of "Grease", he made his film debut as "Ace" in Skatetown, U.S.A. (1979). He made his television debut on "M*A*S*H" (1972), as a soldier diagnosed with leukemia. Eight years later, after considerable movie and television work, including choreography for Grandview, U.S.A. (1984), he received a Golden Globe nomination for his role as dance instructor "Johnny Castle" in the smash hit, Dirty Dancing (1987). He received a second nomination for his portrayal of the ghost "Sam Wheat" in another box office champion, Ghost (1990). He was a solidly established box office star throughout the nineties. In December 2003, he returned to Broadway as a replacement for the lead role of "Billy Flynn" in the acclaimed revival of John Kander & Fred Ebb's musical, "Chicago". The production also went on tour in several cities of the US, including Los Angeles. In January 2008, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He fought the illness for well over a year and was able to continue working, but died on 14th September 2009.