Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Happy Birthday to Patrick Sayze
Swayze was married to Lisa Niemi from June 12, 1975, until his death. The couple first met in 1970 when Swayze was 18 years old. Niemi, 14 years old at the time, was taking dance lessons from Swayze's mother. Swayze and Niemi had no children.
As a reaction to his father's death at age 57 from a heart attack in 1982, Swayze began to drink heavily. His sister Vicky committed suicide by overdose in 1994, leading him to seek treatment for alcoholism. After initial recovery, he temporarily withdrew from show business, retreating to his ranches in California and Las Vegas, New Mexico, to breed Arabian horses. His best-known horse was Tammen, a chestnut Arabian stallion. Swayze is a former Scientologist.
Swayze, who was a licensed pilot with an instrument rating, made the news on June 1, 2000, while flying with his dogs in his twin-engine Cessna from Van Nuys, California to Las Vegas. His plane developed a pressurization problem over northern Arizona, causing Swayze to make a precautionary landing on a dirt road in a housing complex in Prescott Valley. The plane's right wing struck a light pole that he hadn't seen from the air, but Swayze was unharmed. He locked up the cockpit, left it parked in the subdivision, and obtained a ride (with his dogs) from a passing vehicle, allegedly in order to telephone the authorities. According to the police report, witnesses said that Swayze appeared to be extremely intoxicated and asked for help to remove evidence (including an open bottle of wine and a 30-pack of beer) from the crash site. He made himself unavailable to police for several hours. It was later determined that the alcohol in question was not in the cabin but stored in external storage compartments inaccessible in flight and that the probable cause of the accident was Swayze's physical impairment due to the cumulative effects of carbon monoxide from engine exhaust by-products, carbon monoxide from heavy tobacco use, and the loss of an undetermined amount of cabin pressurization.
I liked him.