He was physicality personified for children of the blockbuster. Shirtless, tousled, he proclaimed Baby eternally free from the proverbial corner and, in coining another eternal phrase from the Me Generation, declared that pain didn’t hurt. I didn’t reassess Patrick Swayze until his appearance on SNL convinced me that he had a sense of humor about himself. I always liked Road House, but after that, I began to appreciate it as something a little more than just a camp curiosity. It’s a little self-awareness that found Swayze as the pederast in Donnie Darko towards the end; that this embodiment of meat and mimic motion was also the dancer; the devoted husband that spent the last 20 months of his life penning a memoir with his wife of almost forty years. Obits today are almost universal in identifying the two key Swayze pictures as the two most successful: Dirty Dancing and Ghost. But my favorite is his big brother turn in Francis Coppola’s The Outsiders – his Bodhi from Point Break a close second. As big brother/mentor his physicality makes sense: imposing, the avatar of some order – it comes clear why he was cast notably as a philosopher who happened to kick ass along the way. Of course he did, look at him. Dirty Dancing and Ghost exploited his physicality: one obviously, the other by mining the film’s only pathos from the denial of it. The Outsiders honored it. And so it goes.
Here's a link to One Swayze Summer for the curious.