How old was patrick swayze when he did dirty dancing

How Old Baby & Johnny Are In Dirty Dancing

By Quinn Hough


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Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze's Johnny and Jennifer Grey's Baby, but their characters are far from the same age.

Dirty Dancing features an iconic pairing in Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, but how big is their age gap, and does it make the movie problematic? Dirty Dancing is somewhat autobiographical for screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein, as it's based on her own teenage experiences. This fact only brings the question of Baby and Johnny's age difference further into the light. While the movie doesn't explicitly state the two protagonists' ages, there's enough evidence to suggest that the years between them borders on creepy.

Now streaming on HBO and HBO Max, the 1987 film explores the romance between a teenage girl and her much older dance partner, who meet at a New York resort.  Dirty Dancing became a pop culture phenomenon due to its soundtrack and central performances, and was Directed by Emile Ardolino. Set in the early '60s, Dirty Dancing stars Grey as Frances “Baby” Houseman and Swayze as Johnny Castle. The storyline takes place at a Catskills resort called Kellerman's (actually the Mountain Lake Lodge in Mountain, Lake Virginia), where Jake Houseman (Jerry Orbach) and wife Marjorie (Kelly Bishop) spend time with their daughters, Baby and Lisa (Jane Brucker). Meanwhile, Patrick Swayze's Johnny teaches classes and performs with his long-time friend Penny Johnson (Cynthia Rhodes). When Penny becomes pregnant and contemplates an abortion, Baby accepts an offer to train and perform with Johnny so that he can keep his job. In the process, the partners bond through the power of dance.

Related: All HBO Max Original Shows & Movies Releasing In 2022

Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing come into question simply by looking at Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray. The two don't even look like they're in the same age group, and the movie takes no strides to explain any part of it. While this could be a product of the time it was made, Dirty Dancing might not hold up well under today's magnifying glass in terms of its more problematic areas. Here's exactly how old Baby and Johnny are in Dirty Dancing, and whether or not their age is far too wide.

How Old Are Baby And Johnny

Clues in Dirty Dancing place Johnny's age at 25 years old and Baby’s age at 17. At the beginning of Dirty Dancing on HBO, Baby's narration references the "summer of '63." Early dialogue reveals that she's planning to attend Mount Holyoke (an all-female private college in Massachusetts) to study the economics of underdeveloped countries. In Dirty Dancing, Baby also states that she plans to join the Peace Corps shortly before laying eyes on Johnny for the first time. Some reports have suggested that Baby is supposed to be 18 or even 19 years old. However, based on iMDB's trivia notes and a 2017 interview with Grey (via Closer Weekly), it seems that Baby was presumably born in 1946 and is supposed to be 17 years old. The character doesn't actually reveal her age in Dirty Dancing, nor does Johnny ask on-camera. If Baby is indeed a minor, that would explain her father's confrontational attitude with Mr. Castle throughout most of the film.

In Dirty Dancing, Johnny's 1938 birth date makes him 25 years old. The character initially questions why Baby gained access to a private dancing area, but then invites her to boogie and subsequently teaches her some moves. Johnny and Baby slowly become friends while dealing with Penny's medical procedures (Jake Houseman provides the appropriate assistance), and they eventually become romantic partners. Dirty Dancing on HBO never addresses the eight-year age difference between the two characters, which makes the film somewhat controversial – both then and now – because Baby is indeed a minor.  In 1963 America, though, it wasn't uncommon for men and women to commit at a young age. The focal Dirty Dancing relationship may not be appropriate, but the age gap isn't enough to make Baby's father concerned during the climactic performance. In fact, Jake Houseman essentially apologizes to Johnny.

How Old Were Patrick Swayze And Jennifer Grey During Dirty Dancing?

The late Swayze was approximately seven years older than Grey in real life. When Dirty Dancing premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1987, Patrick Swayze was 34 years old and was best known for portraying Darrel "Darry" Curtis in The Outsiders and Jed Eckert in Red Dawn. As for Grey, she had just turned 27 and had previously portrayed Jeanie Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. She also appeared alongside Swayze in Red Dawn as Toni Mason. In 2010, Grey won Dancing with the Stars season 11, just over a year after her Dirty Dancing co-star, Swayze, passed away at age 57 from pancreatic cancer.

Related: Why Road House Is Patrick Swayze's Most Misunderstood Movie

Johnny And Baby’s Age Gap In Dirty Dancing Is Questionable At Best

Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing are certainly problematic. And worse still, if she was 17 years old and he was 25, then New York state law would deem nothing wrong with their relationship. This is a problem, as the age gap is discomforting to think about, technically legal, and would definitely raise concerned discussions were a movie to feature it today. Despite this, age gaps like in Dirty Dancing are unfortunately too common. Movies like Licorice Pizza can get away with extensive lovers' age differences, and people seem to be forgiving of its inclusion. After all, Dirty Dancing is still a beloved and critically acclaimed movie when it comes down to it. The film is so prolific that it got a (pretty terrible) TV remake in 2017. Dirty Dancing remains popular, but when put up to today's standards, the age gap between Johnny and Baby wouldn't fly unquestioned were a script to include it today.

Next: What Happened To Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey

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About The Author

Quinn Hough (1894 Articles Published)

Q.V. Hough is a senior writer at Screen Rant. He's also the founding editor at Vague Visages, and has contributed to and Fandor.

More From Quinn Hough

See Their Ages When They Were Filming

We can always count on having the time of our lives when we watch Dirty Dancing (pun totally intended). After all, the cast is pretty relatable and they always make us wish that we were a part of the movie. But best of all, it's amazing to see that there was such strong chemistry between the actors, regardless of their different ages. Case in point? Take Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze!

“His fearlessness with my fearfulness — it was like a marriage where you have two opposites. He would do anything and I would be scared to do anything. [But] he was really strong and very protective of me,” Jennifer exclusively told us. Talk about adorable!

It's hard to believe that it's already been 29 years since the film came out. We recently got a look at the cast then and now, and sadly, a few of our favorites, including Patrick, have passed away. But in the spirit of the classic — which currently has a remake coming to ABC — we thought we'd take a look at the actors' ages when they filmed the classic!

Believe it or not, there wasn't a single cast member who was under 25 (we thought Jennifer was way younger), and it turns out that one of these actors made their big on-screen debut with this movie!

Curious to know more? Well, just wait until you find out the ages of these talented actors!

MUST SEE: See the Cast of 'Dirty Dancing' Then and Now!

Click through the gallery to see how old the cast was when they were on Dirty Dancing!

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Jennifer Grey

The actress was actually 27 years old when she portrayed 17-year-old Frances "Baby" Houseman. Jennifer now plays Judy Myers in the Amazon Studios comedy, Red Oaks.

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Patrick Swayze

The smooth and suave Johnny Castle was supposed to be 25 years old, but like Jennifer Grey, Patrick was almost ten years older (34) than the character he played. Unfortunately, the actor passed away in 2009 after suffering from pancreatic cancer.

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Jane Brucker

Her character was meant to be just a few years older than Baby, but Jane was actually 29 when she starred as Baby's older sister, Lisa Houseman. She's now married to a photographer and has two daughters.

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Kelly Bishop

The actress was 43 when she took on the role of Baby's mom, Marjorie Houseman. She's best known for her role as Emily Gilmore in Gilmore Girls and she recently starred in the show's revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.

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Cynthia Rhodes

She was 31 when she played Penny Johnson. No one knows the exact age of her character, but since she played Johnny's dance partner, it's assumed that Penny was also supposed to be 25.

Cynthia married singer Richard Marx in 1989 and they have three sons together. However after 25 years together, the two divorced and she retired from acting so she could raise her children.

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Jerry Orbach

When he played Dr. Jake Houseman, he was 52 years old. He sadly passed away at the age of 69 due to prostate cancer.

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Wayne Knight

The actor was 32 when he played Stan. He's best known for his character Newman in the sitcom Seinfeld, but as of now, he's focusing on voice acting.

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Jack Weston

Jack was 63 when he portrayed Max Kellerman in Dirty Dancing. He was married and he had a stepdaughter, but at the age of 71 he sadly died of lymphoma.

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Neal Jones

He was just 27 when he played Billy Kostecki, and believe it or not, this was his first ever on-screen role! He's now married and is a father.

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Miranda Garrison

The actress was 37 when she played the younger character, Vivian Pressman. She was also an assistant choreographer on the film.

She became a judge for the British reality competition series Dirty Dancing: The Time of Your Life in 2007 and 2008.

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Lonny Price

Lonny was 29 years old when he played Neil Kellerman. He currently directs films and his most recent project, Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened, was released in 2016.

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Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze died of cancer 10 years ago

Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze passed away exactly ten years ago, on September 14, 2009. "Gazeta.Ru" tells about the career and fate of an actor who clung to life with all his might, fighting cancer.

American actor, dancer, singer and songwriter Patrick Swayze was born in Texas and has been involved in sports and art since childhood. He simultaneously trained in figure skating, ballet, and also acted in school plays and the football team. At the same time, the versatile child was fond of martial arts - wushu, taekwondo and aikido. However, a knee injury prompted Swayze to leave serious sports, and he turned his attention to creativity. At 19In 72, the future artist moved to New York, where he studied at the Harkness Ballet and Joffrey Ballet ballet schools.


Still from The Ghost (1990) 1985 Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze. Still from the film "Dirty Dancing" (1987) Still from the film "Ghost" (1990) Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze. A still from the film "Point Break" (1991)

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View photo professions. He made his film debut at 19.79, starring in the movie Skatetown. In parallel with the development of acting courses, despite the injury, Swayze was the lead dancer in the prestigious Elliot Feld Dance Company. His next film work was Red Dawn by John Millius in 1984.

The actor became famous thanks to his roles in such films as "Dirty Dancing" , "Ghost" , "Road House" , "Point Break" and others. In addition, Swayze acted as a producer and composer in several tapes.

The actor has appeared in dozens of films and TV series and played a large number of theatrical roles, but he is best known for his role as dance instructor Johnny Castle in the film Dirty Dancing.

The film, about a 1960s romance between a couple at a resort, was a hit, contrary to what critics had predicted, earning both actors Golden Globe nominations. For the soundtrack to the tape, Swayze performed the song "She's Like the Wind", and his famous phrase "No one will corner Baby" was included in the hundred most famous lines in the history of American cinema.

It is curious that the actor himself was not satisfied with the ending of the picture, which he considered illogical.

"I always felt that Johnny should end up with dancer Penny, because they are from the same circle, and such a union is more realistic than Johnny and Baby," Swayze believed.

Two decades later, Dirty Dancing, which also featured the Oscar-winning song "The Time of My Life," remains very popular and is shown frequently on television in the US.

The second truly stellar role for Swayze was the role in the melodrama "Ghost", where he played with Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg. The film was a huge box office success, as well as an Oscar nomination in the Best Picture category.

“Patrick had to work hard to be taken seriously in Hollywood. There was something very rough about him, but at the same time - a beautiful, gentle, sensual manner of playing, ”said Moore after the death of the actor.

In Point Break, Swayze shared the set with Keanu Reeves. After this film, the actor's popularity began to fall: for many, he remained a hostage to one role - Johnny Castle. In 2004, the actor played a cameo role in the film Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights, for which he received a record fee of $5 million.

The only love in Swayze's life was his ballet classmate Lisa Niemi. In the future, she became the wife and main muse of the artist, to whom he dedicated the song "She's Like The Wind", which became the soundtrack of "Dirty Dancing".

In 1990 Niemi suffered a miscarriage resulting in infertility. The actor supported his wife, saying that together they will cope with all the failures. To drown out the worries, the couple began to breed horses on their own ranch. However, the idyll did not last long: upset by the failures in several projects, Swayze became addicted to alcohol. Being in a state of intoxication, he ceased to be like himself. Later, relatives were able to convince the uncontrollable actor to undergo treatment in a rehabilitation clinic.

“There is no perfect relationship, you just don't give up. And of course there are bad times. But I would be with Patrick a million more times if I could,” said Swayze’s wife.

However, the 55-year-old actor was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Upon learning of the diagnosis, Swayze began to work actively: he wrote memoirs and starred in many projects.

After suffering pneumonia in January 2009, metastases were found in Swayze's liver. He passed away in Los Angeles on September 14,

“I thought that during the 22 months of my husband's illness, I had time to get used to the idea that I would lose him. But when I really got to that point, I realized it's not the same at all," Niemi said.

She was married to her husband for 34 years and fell into a deep depression after his death. For a long time, the actor's widow thought that she would not be able to marry a second time, but in 2014 she met a new lover.

Patrick Swayze, Actor: photo, biography, filmography, news

American actor, three-time Golden Globe nominee . Dancer, singer and songwriter. Patrick Swayze is best known for Dirty Dancing (Dirty Dancing, 1987), Ghost (Ghost, 1990) and Point Break (Point Break, 1991).

In 1991, he was named "Sexiest Man of the Year" by People magazine.

On September 14, 2009, Patrick Swayze died of pancreatic cancer.

Biography of Patrick Swayze / Patrick Swayze

Patrick Wayne Swayze was born August 18, 1952 in Houston, Texas. The mother of the future actor was a very famous choreographer in America, the owner of her own ballet school. Not surprisingly, Patrick Swayze started dancing and music professionally from an early age. As a result, he graduated from two ballet schools at once: Harkness and Joffrey . In addition to dancing, Patrick Swayze has been involved in martial arts since childhood.

Patrick Swayze managed to become a very successful dancer, took part in the Broadway musical " Brilliantine " and even performed on the same stage with the great Mikhail Baryshnikov , but in 1978 he was forced to leave the dream of a serious ballet career due to a number of serious injuries. For a long time he was tormented by a kneecap that had long been damaged during a school match, and after a difficult operation, Patrick Swayze was no longer able to return to the stage.

Swayze was very depressed, because, being a born dancer, he actually could not do anything else. His mother came to the rescue, reminding him that as a boy he had quite successfully played small roles in TV shows. Patrick Swayze began taking acting lessons and at 19In 79, he made his debut in the film " Skatetown ".

Acting career Patrick Swayze / Patrick Swayze

In the early 80s, Patrick Swayze began to appear on the screen. At first there were small roles in not very successful films and TV shows, but after a while he got lucky. In 1985, Patrick Swayze was cast in the lead role in the 12-episode project North and South . He played the young southerner Orry Maine, the only son of a slave planter. In 1986, the second part of the series was released, where Patrick Swayze again returned to this role.

Real success came to the actor in 1987, after the release of the film " Dirty Dancing ". Patrick Swayze, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for this work, immediately became one of the most popular actors in Hollywood, with crowds of fans and many awards at film festivals.

In 1990, he starred in the drama " Ghost " along with Demi Moore . The picture became one of the most successful in the career of Patrick Swayze and brought him a second Golden Globe nomination. He later starred in the films " Riding the Wave ”, “ Wong Foo, thanks for everything! Julie Newmar ", " Donnie Draco ", " Last Dance " and many more.

Personal life of Patrick Swayze / Patrick Swayze

The actor's only love was his wife Lisa Niemi . They met at a ballet school when Patrick Swayze was 18, and Lisa was only 15. After 3 years, the lovers got married, and after graduating from the ballet school, they went to conquer New York together, where they successfully performed in the Broadway musical "Brilliantine". Lisa always supported her husband, helped him cope with addiction to alcohol. They lived together for over 30 years, until the death of the actor in 2009.year. Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa have no children.

Illness and death of Patrick Swayze / Patrick Swayze

On March 5, 2008, Patrick Swayze's attending physician officially announced that the actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - one of the most aggressive and difficult to treat types of oncology. Despite the disease, he decided not to change his usual way of life - he continued to work, appeared in public and did not even give up smoking. Doctors believed that Patrick Swayze would live no more than six months, but the actor continued to fight the disease for more than a year and a half and hoped to win until the last.

September 14, 2009 Patrick Swayze passed away. He died at the age of 57 surrounded by family.

Filmography of Patrick Swayze / Patrick Swayze

2009 The Beast (TV series)
2008 Oxide / Powder Blue (video)
2007 A million for Christmas / Christmas in Wonderland
2007 Jump / Jump!
2005 Be quiet in a rag / Keeping Mum
2005 Icon / Icon
2004 Retrosexual: 80s / Retrosexual: The 80's (mini-series)
2004 King Solomon's Mines
2004 Dragon Ring / George and the Dragon
2004 Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights / Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
2003 - 2004 Whoopi / Whoopi (TV series)
2003 11:14
2003 Last dance / One Last Dance
2001 Waking Up in Reno
2001 Green Dragon / Green Dragon
2001 Donnie Darko / Donnie Darko
2000 Travel companions / Forever Lulu
1998 Letters from a Killer
1998 Black Dog / Black Dog
1995 Three wishes / Three Wishes
1995 Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar / To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar
1995 Legends of the Wild West / Tall Tale
1993 Desperate dad / Father Hood
1992 City of Joy
1991 On the crest of a wave / Point Break
1990 Ghost / Ghost
1989 Next of Kin
1989Roadhouse / Road House
1988 Warsow, nicknamed the Tiger / Tiger Warsaw
1987 Steel dawn / Steel Dawn
1987 Dirty Dancing
1986 North and South 2 / North and South, Book II (mini-series)
1986 Youngblood
1985 North and South / North and South (mini-series)
1985 - 1987 Amazing Stories / Amazing Stories (TV series)
1984 Red Dawn / Red Dawn
1984 Grandview, USA / Grandview, U.

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