Patrick Swayze’s Wife Breaks Silence On Unconfirmed Issue After 11 Years
Jan 21, 2022 by apost team
It's hard to believe that the legendary Patrick Swayze passed away over ten years ago. A star even before “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost,” Swayze will forever be in our hearts. Unfortunately, Swayze died on Sept. 14, 2009, after a tough battle with pancreatic cancer. His faithful wife of 34 years, Lisa Niemi, was by his side the entire time.
Niemi penned a memoir in 2011 titled “Worth Fighting For.” The Daily Mail cited Niemi's story wherein she talks about Swayze's last words before he slipped slowly into a coma. "My last words to Patrick? ‘I love you,’ and those were his last words to me. After I brought him home, things went very fast," Niemi wrote.
It was on a Monday morning when Niemi woke up to hear him taking tiny gasps of air. She said that there was an almost childlike feeling about what was happening. She knew that it was his time to go. He slipped away that very day.
A new documentary aired ten years after the actor's untimely demise. It is called “I Am Patrick Swayze” and features Niemi. In the documentary, she talks about her time with Buddy, her nickname for her deceased husband. She talks about how when she walked out on the stage so long ago and looked into his eyes, it was true love from the start.
The couple met when they were teenagers and got married in 1975. This was four years before Swayze made his film debut in a roller disco film known as “Skatetown, USA.” The lovebirds were together until Swayze died in 2009.
Niemi talked to Entertainment Tonight about how awful it was to watch her husband fight cancer.
"It's the worst thing in the world to go through, you spend every day fighting for that person's life,” she said. “I know that he spent every day fighting for his own ... He survived 22 months, which was miraculous with the diagnosis that he received."
The documentary isn't just about his triumphs. It also takes a close look at his struggles with alcohol use. Niemi said that he would be fun and bubbly until he was by himself. He would then crash, making their relationship strained and difficult. However, even though there were many challenges to overcome in their marriage, Niemi still loved him.
According to Niemi, Swayze took on a role working on the show “The Beast” while he was fighting pancreatic cancer. She said Swayze was transformed during the role. While he had been spending a lot of time in bed, being in Chicago gave him an amazing burst of energy.
"His enormous burst of energy floored me. He was like his old take-charge self, going non-stop. I got Patrick back. He even showed occasional flashes of ‘star’ behavior, the stuff that would always drive me crazy, like making last-minute, arbitrary demands and suddenly being the unquestionable authority on ... just everything in the universe," Niemi wrote in her memoir.
She also mentioned that Swayze never wanted his job to be easier just because he was diagnosed with cancer. Even when his character was supposed to jump over a wall, he insisted on doing it instead of the stuntman that was hired.
Niemi insisted that working on the set of the show made Swayze feel stronger and happier despite his diagnosis.
In just a little under two years after the initial diagnosis, Swayze succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Sept. 14, 2009. “I Am Patrick Swayze” came out on Aug. 18, 2019, which was also the late actor's birthday. Even ten years later, fans of the handsome star are still eager to learn everything that they can about him.
Born in Houston, Texas on Aug. 18, 1952, Swayze was destined to be the dancer and star he would go on to become, as his mother Patsy was the owner of a dance studio in the city. Literally growing up in the dance world, Patrick learned many styles of dance there before moving to New York City to complete his ballet education at the Joffrey Ballet School.
Soon enough, Swayze got a role playing Danny Zuko on Broadway, merging his training as a dancer with acting for the first time — a formula that would bring him great success. Small TV roles followed before his first memorable role as the older brother in Francis Ford Coppola's “The Outsiders.”
It wasn't until 1987 when he would be propelled to immense fame by “Dirty Dancing.” Released in August of that year, the movie was a surprise hit, as it didn't feature any big stars, nor did it have a well-known director. It also wasn't planned to be a big release; rather, it was meant to have a one-week theater release and go direct to video.Patrick Swayze (1982), (Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
While some critics like Roger Ebert panned the film, others have sung its praises as a fresh take on dance and romance.
“The dancing here brings out the sensual dreaminess of the songs,” Pauline Kael wrote in her 1987 review for The New Yorker. "‘Dirty Dancing’—what a great title!—is such a bubbleheaded, retro vision of growing up in the sixties (or any other time) that you go out of the theatre giggling happily.”
Well, didn't it blow expectations out of the water? “Dirty Dancing” was such a success that it became the first movie to sell more than one million VHS copies.
Meanwhile, the film's soundtrack, a major part of its appeal, was also incredibly successful, with the movie's main song “(I've Had) The Time of My Life” winning both Golden Globe and Academy Awards for Best Original Song, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Duet.
Frank Previte, the relatively unknown lead singer of the East Coast rock band Franke and the Knockouts, co-wrote the song for the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack back in the late ‘80s. In a 2020 interview with American Songwriter, Previte opened up about the song’s genesis. The songwriter explains that “Dirty Dancing’s” music supervisor, Jimmy Ienner, called him “out of the blue,” gave him a short description of the film, and asked him to write a 7-minute-long song for the movie. At first, Previte was a bit reluctant, but one day he had an epiphany while driving down the Garden State Parkway. And the rest, as they say, is history.Patrick Swayze, Lisa Niemi (1988), (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images)
“When I met Patrick at the Oscars,” Previte told American Songwriter, “he told me ‘you have no idea what this song did for this movie … We listened to 149 songs and hated them … We all felt the ending wasn’t happening and the movie was going to bomb. Then your cassette with you and Rachele Cappelli singing “Time of My Life” came in. We filmed to that and at the end of the day we all looked at each other and said, “wow, what just happened? This ending is awesome! Let’s go make this movie!’’ It changed everything for them for the better."
In the end, the film earned Swayze a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor and showcased his formal dance training. As well as acting and dancing in the film, Swayze co-wrote and performed a song from the film's album, “She's Like the Wind,” which became a top 10 hit, highlighting his vocal talents.
With such success, Swayze became a regular Hollywood player, starring in movies such as “Road House,” “Ghost” and “Point Break.” He earned three Golden Globe nominations during his career, as well as numerous other awards, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997.
He continued to act following the peak of his career and even went back to the stage, making his West End debut in London in the musical “Guys and Dolls” in 2006. During this period, he also took on more interesting roles, such as a motivational speaker in “Donnie Darko,” as well as co-producing and starring in a dance film titled “One Last Dance” with his wife, Niemi.Patrick Swayze (1990), (Tim Roney/Getty Images)
Swayze's final acting role was as an FBI agent in the television series “The Beast.”
Swayze's legacy lives on not only in his movies that are beloved by many but also in the memory of people who were lucky enough to have crossed paths with him. This includes his wife, Niemi, but also his co-stars.
After his death in September 2009, the outpouring of love from his famous friends only confirmed just how wonderful a person he was. Jennifer Grey, Swayze's co-star in “Dirty Dancing” said, as reported by Entertainment Weekly:
"Patrick was a rare and beautiful combination of raw masculinity and amazing grace," she said. "Gorgeous and strong, he was a real cowboy with a tender heart."
Meanwhile, Whoopi Goldberg said of her “Ghost” co-star: "Patrick was a really good man, a funny man and one to whom I owe much that I can’t ever repay. I believe in ‘Ghost‘s’ message, so he’ll always be near.”
Like “Dirty Dancing,” “Ghost” was an incredibly successful film and will forever be important to the late actor’s legacy. In fact, the award-winning actor himself admitted that he was proud of the movie.
“I needed to do something that will affect the audience in a positive way, make them feel better about their lives and appreciate what they have,” Swayze said of the movie in an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle in 1990.
And affect the audience it did!
“Watching it again now, you might feel the yuppie-skulduggery theme is a bit dated – and ghostly Sam (or anyone else) should have been telling Molly to change the locks at her apartment,” Peter Bradshaw wrote in his 2020 review of the film for The Guardian.Patrick Swayze, Lisa Niemi (1992), (Kypros/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
“But Swayze has a robust charm and Moore gives it her all,” he continues, “despite being on the verge of being upstaged at all times by Goldberg and Swayze. There’s an ectoplasm of goofy Hollywood magic.”
Niemi also still celebrates Swayze regularly, frequently posting to Instagram to keep his memory alive. Although she remarried in 2014 to jeweler Albert DePrisco, her love of Swayze will likely never cease. She told People Magazine in 2014 how her love for both men was never in conflict until DePrisco asked her to marry him. She flipped and flopped on whether to go ahead with the wedding, but ultimately she took a "leap of faith" and decided to do so, telling the magazine:
“Albert knew I still loved Patrick and would always love him, and told me, ‘and I know you love me, and I love you.’ How could I not marry this man? As I had time to process the change my life was going to take, my doubts became less and less, and I became more and more sure.”
Nonetheless, Niemi's love and dedication to Swayze are still there.
She frequently posts about him on her social media and on Sept. 14, 2020, 11 years after his death, she shared a touching post on Instagram that said:
Patrick Swayze, Lisa Niemi (2007), (Denise Truscello/WireImage/Getty Images)
"Celebrating a wonderfully strong, sensitive & special man on the 11th anniversary of his passing. So missed. Can't help but feel a dark cloud today (and all last week!) 😥, but grateful for what we had together. 🌈 What a journey! Blessed, even with the tears."
Niemi has even dedicated her time to helping spread awareness in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
“It was unfair that Patrick died of pancreatic cancer, and it’s unfair that thousands more will die this year,” Niemi said in a 2020 interview with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. “But for those of us left in the wake, it’s up to us to push for change. Even if it takes a little piece of our hearts to do it, it’s worth it.”
According to the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, around 60,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2020, and more than 48,000 will die from it. This is because pancreatic cancer has one of the highest mortality rates and because it’s difficult to detect.
Niemi recently appeared on the show “The Doctors” to discuss the tragic and fatal disease, as well as posting to her social media during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November.
“You know what, Patrick fought so hard and heroically, and just because he’s gone doesn’t mean the fight’s over. I’m involved with an incredible organization called Pancreatic Cancer Action Network,” Niemi said on “The Doctors” in November 2020.
“It’s a multifaceted organization, they have research, we do marches on Washington. And they do just absolutely incredible work,” she added.
Patrick Swayze was one-of-a-kind and his decades-long marriage to Niemi is one for the record books. Her dedication to him all throughout his life and even after his passing is a testament to their love. Even years after his death, the work she's doing to keep his memory alive and also spread awareness of the illness that took his life is truly inspiring.Lisa Niemi Swayze (2012), (Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images)
Are you a fan of Patrick Swayze? What is your favorite movie of his? Let us know, and then pass this on to your friends and family members so they can honor him too.