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Patrick Swayze, 1952 - 2009

Patrick Swayze died today, after a 20 month fight with pancreatic cancer.

I was a huge fan of his, though I could've done without all the dancing, and I kinda thought Baby should've been put in the corner. And I thougt "Road House" was cool too, even though the premise was a stretch - a Ph.D, who knows Kung Fu or something like that, and voluntarily uses his considerable mental skills to help get rowdy bars and lazy bar bouncers under control...And he gets the girl.

But the first film I ever saw as a kid w/out my parents chaperoning was 1983's "The Outsiders," from the S.E. Hinton novel. A buddy's older brother snuck us into the movie theater at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va.

People always remember the Johnny Cade character, played by Ralph Macchio, because he was a sympathetic figure, who died young, uttering a slightly corny but unforgettable line: "Stay gold, Pony Boy. Stay gold."

I always remembered Swayze's character, Darryl "Darry" Curtis, gritty, blue collar father figure to his orphaned, ragtag younger brothers, and leader of the "greasers," the aimless, brooding guys who lived on the wrong side of the tracks.

When the Curtis brothers' collective life was in disarray Darry took control, organized 'em like soldiers for a rumble with the upper crust kids, and generally kept everyone in line.

Rest in Peace, Patrick Swayze.

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