How old was patrick swayze when he done dirty dancing

How Old Baby & Johnny Are In Dirty Dancing

By Quinn Hough


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 old is Jennifer Grey, 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.

Johnny and Baby's ages in Dirty Dancing (of which Patrick Swayze hates the best line) 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. So, how old is Jennifer Grey? Here's exactly how old Baby and Johnny are in Dirty Dancing, and whether their age is far too wide.

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How Old Are Baby And Johnny

How old is Jennifer Grey? Well, 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 the politically charged 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 toward Mr. Castle throughout most of the film.

In Dirty Dancing, Johnny's 1938 birthdate 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/Frances 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, Roadhouse star 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.

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 Patrick Swayze's 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.

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

Dirty Dancing's Problematic Age Gap Isn't Alone

While the age gap in Dirty Dancing is certainly creepy, it's not the only movie to feature a problematic age gap between the two leads. Whether it's the ages of the actors themselves or the characters they play, Hollywood has pumped out plenty of iconic films that showcase uncomfortable age differences between romantic partners. Take, for example, any Woody Allen film. The romance between Colin Firth and Emma Stone in Allen's 2014 rom-com Magic in the Moonlight is a more modern example. The age gap between the two actors is 28 years, with Firth being 53 at the time and Stone being 25. While legal, the knowledge Firth was 28 when Stone was born made many viewers uncomfortable.

A more overt example of narrative enabling uncomfortable, and also illegal, age gaps is 90s classic American Beauty. American Beauty shows a 42-year-old Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey, then 39) falling in love with his teenage daughter's 16-year-old friend Angela (Mena Suvari, then 19). The 1980 Martin Scorsese drama Raging Bull shows an adult Robert de Niro fall for a 15-year-old character played by a 17-year-old actress. Finally, Entrapment, starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery, showed sparks fly between the two characters, but did nothing to explain Sean Connery and Zeta-Jones' nearly 40-year age gap. The age difference in Dirty Dancing may be problematic, but it doesn't exist in a vacuum. In the end, the movie isn't alone in its depiction, and it's far from the worst offender.

Next: What Happened To Dirty Dancing's Jennifer Grey

How Old Was Patrick Swayze In ‘Dirty Dancing’?

Ahh, Dirty Dancing, such an ‘80s classic. It’s won two Academy Awards, a Grammy, and a loyal following that’s lasted decades. But what do we know about the age difference between the two lead stars?

Patrick Swayze was 35 years old when the cult classic Dirty Dancing was released in the United States, although he may have been 34 years old when they filmed. His costar, Jennifer Grey, was in her late 20s. 

Let’s take a closer look at how Patrick landed the role, including a background on his career before and after the film.

Starting Out

Swayze was athletic from a young age, participating in ice skating and ballet at 20 years old. A football career could have been on the cards, but he suffered from a knee injury that ultimately ended that dream.

Instead, he made the move to New York City, where he finished formal dance training at Joffrey Ballet School and Harkness Ballet school.

His debut professional dance career began at the Disney Theatrical Group, which was followed by a main role as Danny Zuko in the Broadway production of Grease. The first film he starred in was called Skatetown, U.S.A., where he played a character called Ace.

While his first big break was arguable in North and South, a miniseries on TV in 1985, Swayze really cemented his place in the movie industry with Dirty Dancing. The film was actually a low-budget project and was planned to be released for only one week.

A Life-Changing Role

As well as showing off his dancing chops, Swayze co-composed and performed “She’s Like the Wind”, a song that was featured on the film’s soundtrack. 

Considering the fact that he was born in 1952 on the 18th of August, Swayze was 35 years old at the time that the film was released, which was on August 21st, 1987 in the US.

Jennifer Grey, who portrayed Frances “Baby” Houseman, was 27 years old at the time. She was supposed to be portraying a 17-year-old, and Swayze was meant to be 25 years of age in the film.

Funnily enough, Swayze and Grey weren’t the original picks for the roles. Instead, the character of Johnny Castle was offered to Val Kilmer, and Baby was auditioned for by Sharon Stone and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Following the coming of age film, Swayze was bombarded with tons of new acting opportunities. He had roles in Steel Dawn (1987), Road House (1989), Next of Kin (1989), and of course his other massive hit, Ghost (1990) with Demi Moore.

In 1991 at 39 years old, he appeared in Point Break alongside Keanu Reeves, and the following year was nominated for an MTV Movie Award in the “Most Desirable Male” category.

Working With Grey

Despite what the beloved film portrays at its climax, the ‘80s lovebirds apparently weren’t too keen on each other in real life. A lot of the tension seen between the characters in the film is, in fact, real.

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Grey and Swayze had worked together previously on Red Dawn, and things began feeling tense even then.

Since Grey was almost a decade younger than her seasoned costar, she had a different approach when it came to acting. 

Linda Gottlieb, a producer on the set of Dirty Dancing, once shared a glimpse into the dynamics between the two:

“He felt like she was a wimp. She was genuine, naïve; you would do a take eight times and Jennifer would do it differently every time.”

She added, “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.” 

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter in 2016, Grey reminisced on her time working with Swayze, emphasizing her youth at the time of filming:

“He smelled really good, his skin was really nice. He was really strong and he was very protective and his heart was very much in it,” she said. “It was our second movie we’d done together within a short time — we did Red Dawn first and then Dirty Dancing.  

She continued, “He was a great dancer and he was fearless. His fearlessness with my fearfulness — like his lack of Jewishness and my super Jewishness — together was like a marriage where you have two opposites. He’d do anything and I’d be scared to do anything.”

In the video below, watch Swayze share his experience with Grey before he sadly died in 2009 of pancreatic cancer. 

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

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. nine0003

“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 - photo, biography, personal life, cause of death, movies


Patrick Swayze is an American actor and dancer who became famous for his leading roles in the cult Hollywood films Dirty Dancing and Ghost. These films still hold pride of place in the list of the best films to watch on Valentine's Day today. Thanks to his talent, attractive appearance and charisma, Patrick long held the palm as a sex symbol of the early 90s.

Childhood and youth

Patrick Wayne Swayze was born on August 1952 years in Texas, in the city of Houston. At the time of his appearance, the daughter of Vicki Lynn was already growing up in the family. Later, younger brothers Don and Sean Kyle were born. Parents adopted the younger sister Bora. The ancestors of the Swayze family were the Irish, the British and even the Apaches.

Patrick's father Jassy Wayne Swayze worked as an engineer, and his mother was a famous choreographer in the USA. Over time, she established her own ballet school, where Patrick also studied. The boy was also fond of swimming and football. He repeatedly brought sports prizes and awards, while studying well. All these circumstances did not guarantee him good relations with peers. nine0003

Patrick Swayze was considered his mother's son and often offended. At first, the boy resorted to his mother in tears, but when he grew up, the woman realized that the problem needed to be solved radically. She took the child to a martial arts school, where after a while he received a black belt in kung fu. Now no one dared to offend young Swayze. In addition to the black belt in one of the types of martial arts, Patrick had two completed ballet schools behind his back.

Patrick Swayze made his debut as a dancer in a Broadway musical called Brilliantine. He performed on the same stage with Mikhail Baryshnikov. His physical fitness, with a height of 178 cm and a weight of 75-80 kg, made it possible to perform complex tricks. Patella injury at 1978 put an end to the career of a dancer. This happened when Swayze reached notable heights in his career - he was the lead dancer of the troupe.

The operation made it impossible for him to return to ballet. Mother saved her son from depression. She reminded Patrick that he made his film debut as a child, playing a couple of small roles on TV shows. Returning to the set is a good option to realize ambitious intentions. After moving to Los Angeles, I had to start all over again. At first, the dancer took on any job. Patrick worked at a factory, in a shop as a salesman and even as a carpenter. Funds were needed for acting classes and the maintenance of a young wife. nine0003


In a new place, the former dancer began to study acting. A cinematic biography of Patrick began in 1979. This year he appeared on the screen in an episode of the film "Skytown". This was followed by roles in the series "Renegades" and "MESH". The series "North and South" was successful for the novice actor.

Patrick Swayze (frame from the film "Outcasts")

In the early 1980s, Swayze appeared in full-length films. In 1983 - in "Outcasts", a year later - in the anti-Soviet film "Red Dawn". The tape "Young Blood" was also successful. nine0003

The film Dirty Dancing, released in 1987, brought international popularity to the actor. Patrick woke up famous. The tape immediately became a cult and collected $ 213 million at the box office. And Swayze felt that the work brings not only satisfaction, but also fame and a lot of money. For his work in Dirty Dancing, where he starred with Jennifer Grey, the actor received $ 200 thousand and a nomination for the Golden Globe Award.

Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze (still from Dirty Dancing)

Due to the small budget of the film, the director tried to shoot every scene in one take. Having injured his knee during the performance of the final dance, Patrick continued to dance with a nagging pain in the joint, so as not to let the choreographer down. The love scene in the water was also difficult for the leading actors. The actors had to be filmed in October, while the rest of the film crew wrapped themselves in outerwear.

After Dirty Dancing, offers from famous directors hit Patrick in huge numbers. Now he chose the scenarios of those projects in which he wanted to participate. Every year a new film was released, or even several films, where Swayze starred. At 19On the 87th, the film "Steel Dawn" was released, a year later - "Warsaw, nicknamed the Tiger." Then there were "Road House" and "Closest Relative".

Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore (frame from the film "Ghost")

In 1990, Patrick played another star role, starring in the dramatic film "Ghost" along with the young Demi Moore. For his work in this drama, the performer received a nomination for the Saturn Award. The director of the picture initially did not plan to shoot Swayze in the title role, it was supposed to involve Demi's wife, Bruce Willis. But the Die Hard star turned down the melodrama job, assuming the film wouldn't work. nine0003

Several candidates were considered for the role of Molly, including Nicole Kidman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Kim Basinger and even Madonna. Interestingly, Whoopi Goldberg appeared in the film thanks to the request of Swayze, who was a longtime fan of the comedian. When choosing music for the soundtrack, the director chose the song Unchained Melody, which has been known since 1955. Her cover versions were performed by Elvis Presley, U2, Leanne Rimes and other musicians.

Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

In the early 1990s, Patrick starred in Hollywood projects Pleasure City and Desperate Dad. Together with Keanu Reeves, he appeared in the film "Point Break". Patrick transforms into a free-living surfer who becomes the leader of a gang of robbers.

While participating in the filming of the film, Swayze, as in previous films, performed many stunt elements on his own, including parachuting. The end of the 90s was marked by the release of the brilliant hits of the film industry "Black Dog" and "Letters of a Killer". nine0003 Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves (still from the movie "Point Break")

In his film work, Patrick, a professional dancer and black belt in kung fu, never used the services of understudies. Once such careless courage turned into disaster. Swayze fell off his horse while filming and broke both of his legs. The recovery was long, but perseverance brought success: Patrick was again able to walk on his own and even dance. It is interesting that the tragic incident and severe injuries gave birth to an insane passion for horses in the artist. nine0003

He soon started breeding them on his California ranch. Later, Patrick Swayze took part in the horse racing competition, which took place in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. Moreover, the desperate American overcame the entire distance and was the only one of his compatriots who managed to get to the finish line.

Patrick Swayze (frame from the TV series "The Beast")

In the early 2000s, Patrick starred in the sequel to "Dirty Dancing" - the film "Dirty Dancing - 2: Havana Nights." And although he played a cameo role, his fee was $ 5 million.

The last bright projects in Swayze's filmography were "King Solomon's Mines", "Keep Quiet" and the TV series "The Beast". During his film career, the performer was nominated three times for the Golden Globe.

Personal life

At the age of 18, Patrick fell in love with 15-year-old ballerina Lisa Niemi, with whom he studied at the ballet school. After 3 years, Patrick and Lisa got married. Together they went to New York, where they performed in a Broadway musical. Swayze's personal life was happy, though not easy. The only thing that overshadowed her was the absence of children. nine0003 Embed from Getty ImagesPatrick Swayze and his wife, Lisa Niemi

Lisa Niemi helped her husband overcome his alcohol addiction, which he developed at a young age. Often, the wife thought about a divorce - Patrick frightened her with his brawls, which he arranged during stormy parties. Thanks to the rehabilitation course, which his wife insisted on, Swayze managed to overcome the disease.

Later, after learning about his illness, his wife turned into a real guardian angel of Patrick. The couple lived in love and harmony for 34 years, until the death of the artist at the age of 57. The last time they lived at Swayze's favorite ranch in New Mexico, which was called "Happy Days". nine0003

Illness and death

In March 2008, with the permission of Patrick Swayze, his doctor informed him that the actor had cancer. This was done because of the numerous rumors spread by the yellow press, which turned out to be a lot of lies. In addition, the photos of the actor, which were distributed by the paparazzi, frightened his fans.

At the beginning of the summer of the same year, Patrick reported that he was feeling better, the growth of the tumor in the pancreas had stopped. Swayze believed that the cyber-knife radiosurgery he was operated on at the Stanford University Center in California was effective in fighting cancer. In addition, he resorted to the methods of oriental medicine. During the treatment, the artist lost weight, as he was forced to sit on a liquid diet. nine0003 Embed from Getty Images Patrick Swayze's Star on the Walk of Fame on the Anniversary of

's Death In late 2008, Swayze revealed plans to sit down to write his memoir next year.

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