The first time I met Patrick Swayze was in 2002. A family member of mine had departed his life and I was preparing to return to my hometown of Greensboro, North Carolina, to arrange funeral services. My husband, Grand, was dropping me off at my designated LAX terminal when a familiar voice rose above the cacophony of all the hustle and bustle. “Yo, Grand!” the man yelled.
Grand looked up and spotted Patrick, who had just flown in from Canada after filming “One Last Dance,” the movie written and directed by his wife, Lisa. “You’re still dancing?’ Grand asked as he squeezed Patrick’s biceps and slapped his firm chest. Patrick was in shape, alright, as was Grand. It was good to see two strong, handsome men enjoy each other’s company.
All Patrick could talk about was how glad he was to finally bring his wife’s labor of love, “One Last Dance,” to the big screen and how great it was to work with his life-long partner. The movie had just wrapped in Canada and Patrick was eager to enter post-production in Los Angeles. Grand and Patrick had not seen each other for years.
Back in 1982, they co-starred in “The Renegades,” a film co-written by our good friend, Steven E. de Souza. Writer/director Nick Corea brought Grand along on many of his projects back in the day, including “The Renegades,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Air Wolf,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” etc. On this day, many memories came flooding in. Grand and Patrick talked about the last time they saw so-and-so. They chatted about their hopes and dreams. After about five minutes, Grand had to move the car. I suggested that he not bother parking it, so he drove off. I blew kisses as Patrick waved.
After I checked in, I noticed that my flight had been delayed for another thirty minutes or so. So I decided to cool my heels and locate a seat far removed from hectic travelers. Before I knew it, a smiling Patrick plopped down next to me. He talked a lot about his relationship with my husband and how happy he was to work with Lisa. I told him that I fell in love with his character in “Ghost,” and that he still made me want to gyrate whenever I would hear the soundtrack from “Dirty Dancing.” He was humbled by my admiration. Patrick stayed with me until it was time for me to board my flight.
When Grand and I received news that Patrick was battling the same cancer that took Nick’s life in 1999, our hearts sank. We bore witness to the agony this courageous man endured until his suffering ended. Yes, Patrick and Nick both had pancreatic cancer and they both departed their lives at age 57. Grand and I miss them both.
What serves as some consolation is the fact that we can still see Nick and Patrick laughing, dancing, writing, producing and going that extra yard to make their families and friends happy. The marvelous body of work Nick and Patrick have both left behind in this physical world makes them legends in their own right. Shall peace be with them throughout eternity.
Here’s to “One Last Dance” and a lifetime of beautiful memories.