Patrick Swayze's mother Patsy taught him how to dance but she could also be very violent with him, his wife revealed.
Not all mothers are doting, some of them show their love in extreme ways and can leave their children scarred. While parents might think that what they are doing is for the best of their child, it can have an adverse effect on the child which may take years to manifest. Some of those abused kids become famous and/ or successful, some don't. There is no guarantee that a strict parent would make a child smarter or happier after all.
Dirty Dancing, Ghost, and Road House may have made Patrick Swayze a huge star but his real story was showcased on I Am Patrick Swayze, a documentary about his life made by the late actor's wife, Lisa Niemi. The couple met as teenagers when she was taking dance lessons from Swayze's mother Patsy Yvonne Helen Swayze, a film choreographer, dancer, and dance instructor.
They bonded together because of dance and developed chemistry from working together. "The first time Buddy (her nickname for Swayze) and I danced together was at a school exhibition," Niemi told Entertainment Tonight. "We walked out on stage. I looked in his eyes, it was like everything came alive," she added.
The couple got married in 1975 and were together until the end, barring a short period of separation before his pancreatic cancer was diagnosed. Swayze, the child of an abusive mother, had battled his addiction to alcohol before his diagnosis.
Born on August 18, 1952, the second of five children to Patsy and Jesse Swayze in Houston, Texas, Swayze went through a difficult and intense childhood. His mother meant well for him but she is proof of how cycles of abuse function, says Niemi.
"Patsy was an example of what happens in families in a cycle of abuse," she was quoted as saying by USAToday. The Red Dawn actor's mother had endured abuse from her own mother. "She could be very violent," Niemi said, as per IrishCentral.
Patsy didn't flinch when getting aggressive with her son. She didn't spare him even on his 18th birthday. Patsy "was laying into" him when his dad Jesse "came downstairs, pulled her off of Buddy, and slammed her against the wall," Niemi said. She didn't specify if the abuse was verbal or physical. In another interview, with People, she said that Patsy never hit him after that birthday incident.
They "came to have a much better relationship" until his death in 2009 of pancreatic cancer. Patsy died four years later at the age of 86. "I think she would say, ‘Well, you know, sometimes I could be strict, I’m that kind of a teacher,'" Niemi told People. "She was a complicated woman, intense and an amazing life force. Patrick absolutely loved and respected her," she added.
Niemi wasn't the only witness of what Swayze went through. "He always thought Mom was so strict and so hard on him, but the way I saw it she just used that to spur him on," Don Swayze recalls in the documentary. "He was everything to my mother."
Swayze's friend Rob Lowe also opened up about Swayze's mother in the documentary, saying that people could "tell that (Patsy) had all of her energy fixated on (Patrick), for better or for worse."
Later, Swayze turned into a macho guy on-screen and off-screen. During the filming of Dirty Dancing, his co-star Jennifer Grey hated working with him after his behavior on the set of a film, Red Dawn, she had worked with him previously.
"He felt like she was a wimp," Dirty Dancing producer Linda Gottlieb told Huffington Post. "She was genuine, naïve; you would do a take eight times and Jennifer would do it differently every time. Patrick was a pro; he would deliver the same thing again and again. She would cry easily, she was emotional and he sort of made fun of her. He was a macho guy," she added.
Eventually, their irritation with each other on set came alive as chemistry on-screen and the film became a classic. Grey will be returning to the sequel of Dirty Dancing 33 years after it was released.