Patrick Swayze, Point Break

Moviestore/Shutterstock

So many of Patrick Swayze's roles have a certain adjective in common.

He was the hunky dance instructor, the hunky bouncer, the hunky surfing bank robber, the hunky ghost, the hunky drag queen...

But all of the above, plus a dozen others, also share the inexplicable extra that Swayze brought to every part, a sensitivity and earnestness that radiated from the screen when he was uttering an iconic line like "nobody puts Baby in a corner" or pleading with Johnny Utah for the chance to catch just one last wave. Swayze treated movie-making with utmost gravity, respectful of every chance he was given, even when the film itself didn't turn out to be a winner.

But no matter the genre, the classically trained dancer, gymnast, horseback rider and outdoorsman, pilot and daredevil from Texas was always a reason to watch.

And he approached movies as he did life—always up for trying something new.

Falling on what would have been the actor's 67th birthday, Paramount Network is premiering the new documentary I Am Patrick Swayze, a raw look at his life and legacy that takes an in-depth dive into his goals as a performer; his incomparable work ethic; his 34-year marriage to Lisa Niemi, who met him before he made his first movie; and the demons that he fought behind the scenes at every turn up until he died, way too early, 10 years ago.

"I was just looking for any way to make a mark," Swayze says in an interview sampled in the film, talking about his all-consuming, full-body approach to roles, whether he was kicking ass in Road House, skydiving in Point Break or spending hours in hair and makeup for To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. He also wasn't averse to meaty character parts, such as the puritanical motivational speaker with a nasty secret he played in Donnie Darko, one of the few true villains he ever played.

Any way he did it, he left that mark.

In honor of the much-missed movie star, check out some of the juiciest details about the roles you remember him for most—and some you may have forgotten about.

Patrick Swayze roles

Columbia/Kobal/Shutterstock

Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio, Matt Dillon, Emilio Estevez, Patrick Swayze, The Outsiders

Nancy Moran/Sygma via Getty Images

Patrick Swayze roles

Mgm/Ua/Kobal/Shutterstock

Patrick Swayze roles

Shutterstock

Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze

Vestron Pictures

Patrick Swayze roles

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Patrick Swayze roles

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Patrick Swayze roles

Moviestore Collection/Shutterstock

Point Break, Keanu Reeves

20th Century Fox

Patrick Swayze roles

Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Patrick Swayze roles

Lorey Sebastian/Universal/Amblin/Kobal/Shutterstock

Patrick Swayze roles

Dale Robinette/Flower/Gaylord/Adam Fields Prod/Kobal/Shutterstock

Patrick Swayze roles

Lions Gate Films

Patrick Swayze roles

Blue Snow Productions

Patrick Swayze roles

Sony Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock

Swazye died that September.

A few months beforehand he wrote in what would be the foreword to his book, which Niemi helped finish, "Together with Lisa, I'll keep on pushing, keep on believing. Because that, in the end, is the greatest gift we have."

 

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