Patrick Swayze’s widow upset no one told her about the Dirty Dancing remake

In case the Dirty Dancing remake wasn’t enough of a shame in itself, The National Enquirer has a story that Patrick Swayze’s widow, Lisa Niemi, is upset that no one called her to give her the heads up on the remake and that she had to read about it through the press. To me this article sounds like The Enquirer called Niemi for a comment and got an earful, but was told it should be off the record. This is the kind of story that they wouldn’t just make up out of thin air.

Patrick Swayze’s devastated wife Lisa Niemi is outraged she hasn’t been consulted on the remake of “Dirty Dancing” – the celebrated film that made her late husband a superstar…

Now Kenny Ortega, the original film’s choreographer, is set to direct a remake – and Lisa is worried it will erase the memory of her husband’s masterful performance.

“Lisa wishes someone – anyone – would have called to tell her about the remake before she read about it,” said an insider. “She wishes they would have asked her opinion. I’m sure she would’ve urged them to find a way to incorporate original footage of Patrick in the new film…

“Lisa says she wants Patrick to be remembered for his roles in ‘Dirty Dancing,’ ‘Ghost,’ and the brave fight he waged against cancer,” revealed the insider.

“She knows she doesn’t have any standing to tell anyone how to make the movie, but does feel she could contribute something.”

[From The National Enquirer, print edition, August 29, 2011]

Casting news for this remake is… not good to say the least. Names being floated include Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake. I would personally like to volunteer Ryan Gosling for consideration, since he recently showed off a DD move on The Today Show and lifted up Al Roker. I’m not sh*tting you, you can see the video here. Still, even the most beloved and talented replacement for Patrick Swayze will still be a replacement. No one can fill that man’s shoes in that iconic role. It’s sad for his widow that no one had the foresight or the respect to call her ahead of time and let her know that the movie was being remade. Given all the negative buzz it might get stalled at some point and the project could end up shelved anyway. That’s just an impression and I have no idea how far they are with it.

The movie’s other star, Jennifer Grey, has put her faith in the new director Kenny Ortega, who choreographed the original cult hit. She said in a statement, “I’m so excited about this news and I think there’s nobody better to do this than my beloved Kenny Ortega who is as responsible as anyone for the success of the first one. I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do with it.” It sounds like she’s gunning for a cameo, and why not? It’s not like too many fans will recognize her with her new nose anyway.

Update: I just found this article where director Ortega claims that Neimi is supportive, but he didn’t say he told her about the remake ahead of time. He said, “Jennifer [Grey] and I have been talking and she’s been so supportive, as has Lisa Swayze and [producer] Eleanor Bernstein.”



These photos are from 2006, 2007 and 2008. (The header photo is dated 2008, but I assume it’s older.) Credit: WENN and Fame

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50 Responses to “Patrick Swayze’s widow upset no one told her about the Dirty Dancing remake”

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  1. mln76 says:

    Now that makes me angry…Wasn’t going to watch this but now I am actively against it.

  2. Jackson says:

    He seemed like a great guy and they seemed like they had a wonderful marriage. However, I’m not sure those responsible for this remake of DD needed to give her the heads up or consult her or anything. IDK….I guess it would have been nice, though. I think it’s a terrible idea anyway and there is no way a remake of DD will erase the memory of PS. Honestly, why can’t people in Hollywood come up with some original ideas?

  3. the original bellaluna says:

    Oh, Lisa,

    #1. NO ONE will ever be able to usurp Patrick in this beloved role.

    #2. PLEASE do whatever you are able to put a stop to this travesty.

    A fan of you both

  4. lilred says:

    She supported Patrick in the role so I think she should have at leats been given a heads up.

  5. lucy2 says:

    Considering the guy remaking it was involved in the first, he should have told her just out of courtesy.
    Why are they remaking this? The original is still popular, and it’s not the type of film that would benefit from more advanced technology than 20 years ago or anything. Stupid.

  6. Jaxx says:

    I can’t believe anyone is willing to step into the roles. They are just begging to be mocked, panned, and humiliated by comparison. The whole thing will be a travesty from the get-go.

  7. Happy21 says:

    Can they not think of anything new to make? Footloose, Fame and now Dirty Dancing? I’ve already refused to watch the first two and now will do it to DD. BS. If there are all these talented, created people out there, why can’t they think of something new.

    And as far as Patrick’s wife being given the heads up. She should have. Its just courtesy telling her that they would be finding a new (sniff, sniff) Johnny Castle (booohooo!)

  8. dr.bombay says:

    This movie is her husband’s career baby, next to Ghost. Of course she’s going to be extremely upset, because she above all people know that it should NOT be remade. Some things are sacred–DD is one of them.
    That being said, she can’t stop it. But, Mrs. Swayze doesn’t have to worry. I am more than confident that the original with her husband will continue to reign king.The remake will fade into the dollar dvd bin at Wally World soon enough.

  9. i remember says:

    I remember in 3rd grade watching dirty dancing at a sleepover when it came on VHS! lol I don’t want a dirty dancing remake!! I remember wishing for a sequel when I was little, but never getting it. A remake is stupid, if anything I’d rather see how Baby’s life played out later on in life, or her granddaughter going back to the resort. . . not a remake!

  10. Kathy says:

    They need to stop this horrible thing. Just.STOP!

  11. Tierra says:

    This movie is going to be a joke but it will probably make the original even more popular than it already is.
    Even more of a joke is having Miley in it…pleease. They could at least get someone with some real acting and dancing abilities.

  12. BeckyR says:

    It would have been nice to let PS’s widow know but courtesy is alien to some people. “Dirty Dancing” is a classic….they can remake it but the original will stand on its’ own forever. Are they running out of decent material in movie land?

  13. *bRaZiLiAn* says:



  14. Feebee says:

    I love Gosling but surely not for the Swayze’s role and Timberlake, puhleeese. First and foremost if they are serious and want to pay any respect to Patrick then the lead guy has to be a real dancer. I certainly have no appetite for any Black Swan redux.

    I still can’t believe after seeing the trailer for the new Footloose that they’d still contemplate a DD remake. Are they trying to make us semi-oldies cry?

  15. Ron says:

    Unless she has some sort of financial involvement in the remake, they have no reason to notify her. However, it would have been a classy movew if they had. I think this remake is a bad idea. The moive is too iconic and none of the “sequels” have had any traction.

  16. Hollowdoll says:


  17. Ashley says:

    The whole story of the first movie was stupid. The movie had good luck and it just became big. Just like “Grease”. The story is shallow & good for teenagers. The remake is gonna be aweful but am not sure why anyone had to consult her. Even if her late husband RIP, was alive they had no obligations consulting with him or anyone involved with the frist movie, for making the new movie unless of course it was written in his original contract that “Before any remake starts filming they should consult with ….”.
    Where does this nonesnse stop?
    “Baby” from the first movie did not have a big career after “Dirty Dancing” and Patick Swayze had only a had ful big movied in his career (common this doesn’t mean I don’t have respect for him just saying facts)
    I can only name 3 big movies with Patrick being the leading actor 1- Dirty Dancing -2- Ghost -3-Point Break
    If you don’t belive me look at his imdb page.
    Again, I am sure he was a wonderful person and a strong man….

  18. sami says:

    the remakes always are really bad . i really like dd ,

  19. Annie_Grey says:

    Patrick was considered the best ballet dancer in America, at one point. If they could find someone with his heart and his talent, would be an utter miracle.

  20. Lucinda says:

    It’s one thing to wish they had given her a head’s up. It would have been a nice thing to do. But for her to wish they had asked her opinion is a little bit overstepping imo. They have no claim on that movie other than he was a very good actor in it.

    As for the movie itself, it is pretty corny and it worked because Swayze and Grey had great chemistry. He was also a kick-ass dancer. So unless they can capture lightning in a bottle twice, a remake will only reflect just how iconic the first movie is and make people go back and watch it all over again. So nothing will be taken away from it by this action.

    I also thing RG might be kind of hot in it. My opinion of him totally changed after just seeing Crazy Stupid Love. But I think the movie would be better served with a dancer who can act. Good luck finding that as Fame certainly showed.

  21. Delta Juliet says:

    I think it’s a little ridiculous. I’ve been at my job for 8 years, and I’m pretty good at it. People in these job “circles” know who I am. But I’m pretty sure if I died and they hired someone else to do my job, no one would be calling my husband to get his ok.

  22. Courtney says:

    Dirty Dancing is a Classic that shouldn’t be touched like Bundle Of Joy or Drowning Pool. so yes Lisa has a right to be mad that Kenny didn’t have the courtesy to let her know just like Joanne Woodward would if somebody redid drowning pool without her knowing about it. though Woodward was actualy the female lead in the original Drowning Pool in 1975 with her late husband Paul Newman Anthony Franciosa & a young Melanie Griffith

  23. BooBooKitty says:

    Fucking hell, Hollywood.

  24. Wif says:

    “Patrick was considered the best ballet dancer in America”

    What? I have a degree in dance and I never, ever saw him mentioned in any of my text books, or saw his work mentioned in any kind of a critical capacity. Where did you hear that?

  25. Denise says:

    This was a bad idea; it is a bad idea. Hollywood needs to effing stop with all this reboot and remake crap and get some decent writers to create some new scripts, ideas and movies.

  26. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    I know it’ll sound harsh but the fundaments of the law don’t shift because you had a crush on someone in the ’80s (see?) He isn’t being defamed or accused of unsavory behavior and in truth, getting territorial over someone else’s movie rarely holds up. The fact that he’s still liked (by me, he did some wonderfully creepy work in Keeping Mum and OF COURSE Donnie Darko, I just happen to hate DD) after having been in one of the most ferociously stupid pile of crap films I’ve ever seen (those involved in Grease should hide from me), says he had enough charm, charisma and talent to spare. You can’t cage Vita Boheme and you’ve got to be realistic about what is ‘owed’ you. Yes, it WOULD have been nice, but it’s not required. If it was theirs to begin with, they don’t owe you much. The harsh realities of the commercial world don’t pretend that it’s more than the work and hustle, but beyond his fun turn in a frigging terrible movie, God granted her something in the way of 40 years with him, and if they’re punch drunk enough, the original film can be seen by those who seek it out–it’s already on 40-hour loops on every cable channel that exists.

    The best of himself he gave to their union and family (and Julie Newmar), and a shitty film based on a crappy one doesn’t obliterate that.

  27. RobN says:

    Wow, I’m pretty sure they just put Patrick’s widow in a corner.

  28. Carolyn says:

    #5 (can’t see your name) totally with you. A DD remake is just wrong wrong wrong. Miley & Justin on screen together would have me running out of the theatre. Jennifer Grey just wants an acting role. Can’t say it enough…a remake is wrong on so many levels.

  29. Lady D says:

    Wif’s question is also mine. Never heard of him being the best ballet dancer in the country. Anybody?

  30. dr.bombay says:

    Whether or not a film is shitty or not is based on opinion. However, dare I say that the opinion is strongly tilted towards “not shitty” regarding DD, given the continued success of the movie over the past 24 years, and a fan base that hasn’t budged. Several “great” movies can be opinionated as crappy by a minority of people…doesn’t make it a fact. Longevity of viewership, in my opinion, is a film’s major sign of success.

    I didn’t elaborate before, but I’m typing now so I might as well. I don’t think the studio was obligated in any way to let his wife know of the remake; however, I do think they *should* have, absolutely. Had PS been alive, they sure as hell would have told him (especially since this guy let JG know). Common etiquette is that a widow takes her husbands place in situations like this. And, as I said before, this film was one of his small handful of major successes…one would be hard pressed to assume that it doesn’t hold an important place in his widow’s heart.

  31. Annie_Grey says:

    Wif, I looked back at where I thought I heard that. ( The actual story is that he was at the Joffrey ballet and was compared to the best in the Bolshoi. Before that could be realized he got an infection in his leg that almost got it completely amputated.

  32. Bill Hicks is God says:

    Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake? Dear God, NO!

    I think letting Lisa know as a courtesy was called for but this is Hollywood, nobody gives a rat’s ass about considering others’ feelings to say the least.

    Like it or not, it’s an iconic film and it wouldn’t have been without Swayze.

    And who cares what Jennifer Grey has to say? What’s she done since except change her nose and nobody recognizes her anymore. Oh wait…I believe that’s called ‘motive.’

    They had good screen chemistry but apparently she couldn’t stand him but I guess she’s forgotten about that part.

    So, more reason she should tone down the glee and have some respect for his widow who was obviously late to this little party and is clearly hurt by it.

    Finally, this remake will suck balls. Big time.

    I hope he haunts the set.

  33. Samihami says:

    It doesn’t matter to me who they cast in the remake, since I will absolutely NOT ever see it.

  34. Cherry Rose says:

    Why do they feel the need to remake every damn movie (including foreign ones)? Hardly any of them are ever good or surpass the original. Though I don’t get why they need the opinion of Mrs. Swayze. She wasn’t in the original movie, nor does have anything to do with the production of it.

    All I know is, if they ever try to remake Psycho or The Exorcist, I’m running to the bomb shelter, because the end is surely nigh.

  35. Denise says:

    Sherry, get ready to run to the bomb shelter; Psycho was remade in 1998 with Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn. It sucked.

  36. Sigh. says:

    The Exorcist 2 and Psycho 2 did their own damage long before that AWFUL Psycho remake with Vaughn and Heche did. HA!

    I wasn’t nearly as enamored by DD as the lot of you, and it would have been *nice* of them to contact his widow, but far from required unless they wanted her at the premiere party. The movie and characters are the studio’s property, not Swayze’s, however iconic. I doubt Chris Reeve’s son/estate was summoned for the upteenth Superman reboot.

  37. Hakura says:

    @Jackson“However, I’m not sure those responsible for this remake of DD needed to give her the heads up or consult her or anything. IDK….I guess it would have been nice, though.”

    I do agree with you, in that whomever is making the remake wasn’t obligated to tell her… But it would’ve been common courtesy, given the significance of Dirty Dancing to her late husband’s ‘legendary career’.

    I think she just wanted to be kept in the loop, able to see how this remake may affect people’s perceptions of the original… & wants to see some homage paid to her husband in the film somewhere.
    Nothing is sacred anymore… They just can’t leave well enough alone with all these amazing iconic movies/series. I first noticed the phenomenon when Disney started doing sequels to all it’s classics… There are VERY few that I ever liked. Most I don’t even watch out of annoyance.

  38. khaveman says:

    Oh I just think it will be bad and therefore make the original film look GREAT. No worries.

  39. Jaye E says:

    It isn’t like DD is the GREATEST.MOVIE.EVER.MADE! It was a cute, feel good movie with a hot guy in the lead role. I loved it as a teenager, but it didn’t stand the test of time for me. As much as it would have been a nice gesture, no one was obliged to advise Mrs. Swayze of anything.

    And to the person saying that ‘no one cares what Jennifer Grey has to say’ if Patrick Swayze hadn’t valiant battled and then succumbed to Cancer…you’d be saying the same thing about him.

  40. Jag says:

    It would’ve been nice to tell her. I disagree with her that they should put digital cameos of PS in the film. The film will suck and those of us who love the original would know that the clips were from that movie, so it wouldn’t work in context, imo.

    It’ll be a flop, which hopefully will make Hollyweird stop remaking everything.

  41. Auntie Git says:

    You CAN’T remake a classic! Why can’t they find some good new screenwriters instead of only rehashing or extending comic book stories? C’mon, Hollywood.

    And yeah, can’t use old footage, we know that movie much too well. I must have seen it 50x.

  42. L clifford says:

    I was appauled at lisa not being told! How would mr ortega feel if lionsgate went ahead with the remake using a diffrent producer? This movie was patrick swayzes movie if anyone else produced it the charisma and dance skills were patricks traits! Lisa played a big part in behind the scene rehersals and got no credit! There is a black cloud hanging over ths remake and the true fans dont want patricks memory dismissed! Remakes are never box office smashes! The only way this could do justice is if it was a follow up of the original! Heavily permeated with references to patrick! We want to know what happend after the final dance did they marry? Have a family? Jennifer should play hs widow lisa should play penny and maybe their kids could be the dancers following in their footsteps? Just another boy meets girl and teaches her to dance isnt going to wash, that crown allready belongs to the original movie, the only way to go is nostalga that way the original fans would rush to see it and the younger ones would follow suit! Lisa deserves some recognition and no one else would play penny better! Please dont forget that patrick always knew lisa should have a part because of her dedication to the original!

  43. Mitch Buchanan Rocks says:

    If they are going to do a remake at least get some interesting combination of actors going on – I’d pick Channing Tatum and Ellen Page.

  44. bluhare says:

    Oh lord, why do I think Natalie Portman’s all over the place on the phone trying to get Millepied an audition?

  45. Hakura says:

    @Bluhare“Oh lord, why do I think Natalie Portman’s all over the place on the phone trying to get Millepied an audition?”

    Oh God, Noooooooo! I can see that horrid image taking shape in my head now… She could well make it happen if she *really* wanted, as she’s had even more clout than ever since Black Swan (which I guess is why she’s appeared in 75% of the movies released during the last year.)

    I’m *no* fan of Justin Timberlake (as I think he’s got his head shoved so far up his own ass that he should go for a proctocology PhD), but at the (very) least, the douche *can* dance well… & I guess he’s proven himself a half decent actor, though I’d stick to comedy if I were him. That’s what he’s best at.

  46. Pete says:

    How about this if dirty dancing were to be remade they should have two people with down syndrome to play the role of Johnny Castle and baby Houseman instead of Justin Timberlake if you want to know what my name is it is Peter Swayze Asplundh and Jessica Green we have both seen that movie the original movie and I know how to dance exactly like Patrick Swayze I’m sure that Ms. Lisa Niemi would agree with me on this I’m sure that Lisa Niemi and would love to have someone like me that has down syndrome to take on the lead role of Johnny Castle and Jessica Green also happens to have down syndrome to take on the role of baby Houseman then the dirty dancing remake will skyrocket if Patrick Swayze’s wife would allow it thank you

  47. crtb says:

    Why would they need to tell her about this?

  48. Annie_Grey says:

    Mitch- Channing tatum can’t act.

  49. am says:

    A remake could NEVER surpass the original!

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