The tributes to late actor/dancer Patrick Swayze just keep pouring in. One really great one that I recommend is in this week’s “Entertainment Weekly,” which features amazing family photos of the star, and some great quotes from a few of his co-stars, including Whoopi Goldberg, Ralph Macchio and Jennifer Grey (more on her in a minute). Last night on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” Swayze was honored for his contributions to the art of dance with a montage of music and movement from his most famous films, including, of course, “Dirty Dancing.” The singing was fairly atrocious, but the dancing was fine.
“Dancing with the Stars” honored the late Patrick Swayze Wednesday night on the elimination episode.
Executive producer Conrad Green called him “one of the few people to integrate dance with being an A-list actor.”
The show’s pros danced to “She’s Like The Wind,” “Unchained Melody,” and the “Dirty Dancing” song, “Time Of My Life.” The tribute culminates with Tony Dovolani and Cheryl Burke doing the film’s lift scene.
About that famous lift from “Dirty Dancing:” In Patrick’s about-to-be-published memoir, “The Time of My Life,” he reveals the real story behind that well-known scene. It’s been reported over the years that there was some friction between Swayze and his young leading lady, Jennifer Grey, on set. Swayze was actually a lot older than Jennifer and felt that her immaturity and mood swings were dragging down the film’s production, as he details in this passage from the book:
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey may have danced into each other’s hearts onscreen, but the late actor definitely didn’t have the time of his life filming “Dirty Dancing.”
In his aptly titled autobiography, “The Time of My Life” – the release of which was pushed from October to next Tuesday in the wake of his recent death – Swayze writes that his leading lady was one huge pain in the derriere on-set. Why the beef? Apparently, Grey acted too much like, well, a girl.
“We did have a few moments of friction when we were tired or after a long day of shooting. [Grey] seemed particularly emotional, sometimes bursting into tears if someone criticized her,” he writes in his Atria-published memoir. “Other times, she slipped into silly moods, forcing us to do scenes over and over again when she’d start laughing.”
Grey’s mood swings proved to be too much for Swayze. “I was on overdrive for the whole shoot – staying up all night to do rewrites, squeezing in dance rehearsals, shooting various scenes – and was exhausted a lot of the time,” he recalls in the book. “I didn’t have a whole lot of patience for doing multiple retakes.”
That patience wore especially thin the day Swayze and Grey filmed the film’s famous lake scene, in which the submerged actor repeatedly – and romantically – lifts Grey in the air. “It was horrifyingly, hypothermically cold in that lake, and we filmed that scene over and over,” he said. “And despite the fact that Jennifer was very light, when you’re lifting someone in water, even the skinniest little girl can feel like 500 pounds.”
But Swayze – like the nice guy he really was – forgave the actress for her annoying tics, saying she still did a “truly phenomenal job” and that “in many ways, she made the movie.”
Grey will be able to hear her co-star’s thoughts about their time filming the 1987 classic. A rep for Swayze confirms that he recorded an emotional reading of his autobiography before he died; the audio-book CD will be available on Tuesday as well.
This shouldn’t be a huge surprise to hardcore fans of the movie (such as myself. Don’t judge me!). Both Jennifer and Patrick have said over the years that they didn’t get along so well while they were making this movie. It wasn’t until the movie came out and became an international craze that the two stars mended fences and became friends. I don’t think Patrick was looking to diss Jennifer in his book – he was just being honest about the situation. I know that Jennifer has shown nothing but love and compassion for her co-star during his cancer battle and said some beautiful things about him in the wake of his death, so hopefully this passage of the book doesn’t get blown out of proportion. At any rate, it’s been great reading so many lovely things about him and I’ll be interested in reading his book when it comes out.