The actor has died. It isn't unexpected, of course, considering all the publicity about his illness, but it is still sad. I saw him in the flesh once, when he was young and very handsome and starring in TV's "North and South." He also came across as a very happy man. He deserved a better end than this.
For some, it is enough to remember him for scenes where he took his shirt off, or for the sexy grace he showed as a dancer. When I think of "Dirty Dancing," it's usually for the scene of Swayze leading the other dancers down the aisle, in determined motion, asserting their power and youth in the face of ancient authority. For others, it was his beauty and sensitivity and sexiness in "Ghost." He would endure in many memories on his looks alone, and with the way he said that one line: "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
But if we view him only in iconic terms, we forget that he was a capable enough actor, even if the movies were not always good. He had a grim authority in "The Beast," although the series was not all that interesting and he was saddled with a less than adequate co-star. (I know, you could say the same thing about his acting-dancing partner in "Dirty Dancing." But that movie had a fabulous soundtrack.) As I have mentioned here before, he starred in "Road House," which is one of movies over which the bride and I bonded. Not a great film, either, but it had its virtues -- Jeff Healey's music, Sam Elliott and, of course, Swayze, all cool but dangerous, warning people when it's time and not time to be nice.
Pain may not hurt, but his fans' hearts surely do.