Patrick Swayze (1952 -- 2009)
Texan, Patrick Swayze, will always be remembered for two smash-hit films, made 20 years ago: Dirty Dancing (1987) and Ghost (1990). Both are replayed frequently on television and DVD, and both performances earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Swayze's father was a rodeo cowboy, his mother a choreographer. He took dance training himself and began acting on stage and in TV shows. Following North and South (1985/86) on TV, he was cast as Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing, the role that catapulted him to global stardom. His other films included Point Break, City of Joy, Donnie Darko and Next of Kin, and he appeared in Broadway productions, but inevitably perhaps did not recapture the career peak of his late 30s. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early 2008 but fought the disease with determination to the end, appearing in 2009 in 13 episodes of US TV series, The Beast. His Dirty Dancing co-star Jennifer Grey led the tributes after his death, aged just 57, citing his 'raw masculinity and amazing grace'. We say: ditto.